Minto Brown Island Park Conservation Area Restoration

​Located within Minto-Brown Island Park is the 307-acre Minto Island Conservation Area (MICA). The conservation area was purchased in 2013 with funding from Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with the primary goal to protect, conserve, and enhance the diverse mix of existing natural habitats and species in the area. To this effort, three phases of restoration are in progress for the area.

Restoration of Minto Brown Island Floodplain Forest: Phase I

Status: Maintenance phase

The City of Salem received a grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) and Meyer Memorial Trust to address the loss of floodplain forest and scrub habitat due to the park’s historical use for industry and farming. The primary focus of this phase was the removal and control of invasive weeds and the planting of native plant species in 103.5 acres in the eastern portion of MICA.

Restoration of this habitat type along the Willamette River will expand the floodplain forest, increase Salem’s tree canopy, and provide important nesting and foraging opportunities for several song birds listed as threatened or species of concern.

Map showing three phases of the Minto Brown Island Restoration

​Enhancement of Willamette Slough: Phase 2

Status: : In progress. The project is in the second of three years of treatment for aquatic weeds. This year's treatments are tentatively scheduled for the end of July and mid-September 2021.   

Recreationists who enjoy paddling and fishing in the Willamette Slough are finding it more difficult to do so due the fast-spreading aquatic weed, Ludwigia hexapetala, also known as creeping or Uruguay water primrose.

Teaming up against creeping water primrose (Ludwigia hexapetalal)

Members of the Willamette Aquatic Invasive Network (WAIN) have been treating and removing invasive Ludwigia from numerous locations along the Willamette River. With funding from the Bonneville Power Administration and Meyer Memorial Trust, Willamette Riverkeeper and the City of Salem are working together to use effective treatment methods that provide the greatest benefits and the least harm to the native ecosystems. Ludwigia will be treated with an aquatic-approved herbicide by state-licensed applicators. Ludwigia control efforts in the Willamette Slough complements the City of Salem's other restoration efforts occurring at Minto Island Conservation Area and Willamette Riverkeeper's and WAIN's efforts within the Willamette River Watershed.

Problems caused by creeping water primrose  

Ludwigia forms dense mats that choke entire waterways and that lead to significant impacts, such as:

  • Reducing recreation opportunities,
  • Reducing vital habitat for turtles, frogs, waterbirds, fish, and other wildlife,
  • Impeding water movement (affecting both water quality and flooding potential),
  • Blocking the growth of native plants,
  • Reducing dissolved oxygen, which can lead to fish kills, and
  • Catching a ride on boats, kayaks, and other watercraft and quickly spreading into new places.

The off-channel habitat provided by Willamette Slough is critical habitat for migrating and resident Chinook salmon and winter steelhead trout, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. For these sensitive species, as well as a diversity of other fish and wildlife, it is vital to keep this slough open.

Willamette Slough before treatment (2020)

Willamette Slough before treatment (2020)

Willamette Slough after treatment (2020)

Willamette Slough after treatment (2020)

​Restoration of West Forest: Phase 3

Status: In Progress. The project is in the second of five years of restoration activities.

The City of Salem was awarded a $322,722 Willamette Mainstem Anchor Habitat grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust and Bonneville Power Administration in 2019. Through this grant, the 48-acre floodplain area along the northwest side of the Minto Island Conservation Area is being restored in an effort to improve fish and wildlife habitat.

The goal of this project is to expand and improve the health of the forested floodplain next to the Willamette River through the following actions:

  • Control of invasive vegetation such as Himalayan blackberry, reed canary grass, English ivy, traveler's joy, and more throughout the 48-acre project area.
  • Planting of native trees and shrubs, with the focus on 27.5 acres that are highly impacted by invasive plants.
  • Maintaining the replanted areas for up to three years in order to ensure successful plant establishment.

This project began in November 2019 and will extend through 2024.

Support for this project comes from the following organizations:

  • Willamette Riverkeeper
  • City of Keizer
  • Friends of Trees
  • Glenn Gibson Watershed Council
  • Marion Soil and Water Conservation District
  • North Santiam Watershed Council
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon State Parks
  • Polk Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Salem Audubon Society
  • Salem Environmental Education

Contact us

Jennifer Mongolo Natural Resources Planner