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Redeveloping Riverfront Property Benefits Fish and Wildlife

Construction begins this summer on an urban waterfront in Oregon. But we’re not building condos or a marina—we’re building habitat for fish and other wildlife. On the site of a former lumber mill, this is the first project to restore habitat affected by contamination in Portland Harbor. The Alder Creek restoration project will provide habitat for salmon, lamprey, mink, bald eagle, osprey, and other animals.

The project will restore habitat that was once abundant but is now rare in this stretch of the highly industrialized Willamette River. The area was affected by industrial contamination of the river with PCB, DDT, dioxin, and other hazardous substances. The area was designated a Superfund site in 2000, and NOAA is one of the agencies responsible for ensuring it is restored. This project will help make up for the natural resources that were lost over time because of contamination.

The restoration project is owned and managed by a habitat development company called Wildlands. Rather than building a restoration project themselves, companies responsible for the contamination will be able to buy natural resource "credits" from Wildlands. These credits can be used to offset their liability when they negotiate a settlement with NOAA and the other agencies involved.

Wildlands will remove buildings, infrastructure, and fill material from the floodplain; reshape the riverbanks; and plant trees and shrubs. This will create resting and feeding areas for young salmon and lamprey and foraging for birds. The project will also restore beaches and wetlands to provide access to water and food for mink, and forests to provide shelter and nesting opportunities for native birds.

Posted August 25, 2014

The Alder Creek site prior to habitat restoration.(Photo credit: Wildlands)
Artistís rendering of Alder Creek Restoration Project after construction. (Photo credit: Wildlands)