Restoring the Willamette River

Willamette slough at Riverfront Park

Organizations across Oregon recognize the value in restoring Willamette River habitats and have provided funding to help Salem accomplish their restoration goals.

Salem locals and visitors know Minto Brown Island Park as Salem’s greatest natural area, a place where people can enjoy strolls or bike rides along the river, or take in the serenity of watching wildlife or paddling in the Willamette Slough. Did you know Minto Brown Island Park and its conservation area play an important role in restoration efforts along the Willamette River system? The area is considered of high ecological value and contains important riparian floodplain areas that provide habitat for many fish and wildlife species including threatened Upper Willamette River Chinook salmon and steelhead.

Organizations across Oregon recognize the value in restoring Willamette River habitats and have provided funding to help Salem accomplish their restoration goals.

Daylighting Pringle Creek

A portion of Pringle Creek that was under a Boise Cascade building for several decades has been daylighted and restored. Site improvements include a new channel with a riffle-pool run that includes a more natural fishway that replaced an old fish ladder, boulders and large natural wood structures that provide stream roughness and habitat refuge, and native Oregon trees and shrubs planted on both sides of the creek to shade the creek and help keep it cool. All these design elements provide better habitat for fish and other aquatic animals that live in the creek.

Funding: South Waterfront Urban Renewal Area

​Restoring the Slough

Creeping water primrose, also called Ludwigia, is an invasive aquatic plant that is choking out the Willamette Slough, impacting water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. The City of Salem and Willamette Riverkeeper worked together to treat the Willamette Slough in 2020 and are scheduling the second year's treatment for summer 2021. Treatment of the slough is done using an aquatic-approved herbicide applied by a state-licensed contractor to control its spread within the Willamette Slough and to downstream locations in the Willamette River.  

We are thankful for the support of the City of Keizer, Glenn Gibson Watershed Council, Marion Soil and Water Conservation District, North Santiam Watershed Council, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State Parks, Salem Audubon Society, Salem Environmental Education, and Willamette Riverkeepers.

Funding: Meyer Memorial Trust and Bonneville Power Administration

​Minto Island Conservation Area

Native trees and shrubs are important to the wildlife that call Minto Brown Island home. Current restoration efforts in the Minto Island Conservation Area include removing invasive plants and replanting with native trees and shrubs. The recently funded restoration project is taking place in the Minto Island Anchor Habitat. Restoration activities began in December 2019 in 48 acres of floodplain adjacent to the Willamette River. This project will focus on treating invasive weeds and planting thousands of native plants to preserve, restore, and enhance 48 acres of floodplain forest. The restoration work will continue through 2024.

The Willamette River needs high-quality floodplain forest; the reduced amount of historic floodplain forest is identified as a limiting factor and threat for Upper Willamette River Chinook Salmon and Steelhead.

Funding: Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and Meyer Memorial Trust