Restoring Forest Park
Forest Park is unique in that it is connected to a vast wilderness ecosystem, yet is located entirely within a major metropolitan area. Forest Park sequesters carbon and provides cool, clean water important to fish and other wildlife in the Lower Willamette River watershed.
This location is what makes Forest Park such an important component of our region's ecological well-being, but it also exposes the park to environmental pressures that come from dense human population.
Habitat restoration in Forest Park and the surrounding area focuses on re-establishing native plant communities where invasive plants have taken hold. Common landscaping plants such as English Ivy and invasive weedy trees like English Holly have found their way into the forest by way of birds, pets and people. These unwelcome invaders can dominate areas of the forest, supplanting the native flora that supports wildlife and disrupting the fragile web of biodiversity the area's fish and other wildlife rely upon.
An important part of restoring Forest Park and the surrounding ecosystem, is the removal of invasive species, planting native trees and shrubs and maintaining the trails. The Forest Park Conservancy has been working alongside Portland Parks & Recreation for many years to remove the threat of these invasive species and support an environment that is welcoming not only to native plants and animals, but to people as well.
We will continue to remove invasive species within Forest Park. In addition, through our Perimeter Program, we will remove invasive English Holly and create habitat for ground nesting birds and small mammals that frequent areas around the park. The Perimeter Program will enhance property adjacent to Forest Park creating more wildlife habitat outside of the park and keeping more invasive species from getting inside the park.
When removing invasive species and planting native trees and shrubs, it's important to monitor how our efforts are impacting the park.
In 2014, FPC conducted vegetative monitoring in the Balch Creek Watershed. This involved random sampling and precise documentation of plant communities for the purpose of determining vegetation management activity effectiveness. Monitoring will help us understand what restoration techniques work best and areas that need more attention.
As a part of the Greater Forest Park Conservation Initiative (GFPCI), the first large-scale invasive species removal project occurred in August of 2015. This area will be monitored to ensure our efforts are leading to the successful restoration of more than 250 acres in the Balch Creek Watershed. Invasive plant removal has continued in the Balch Creek area along with an additional site in the northern section of the park with treatments taking place in 2016 and 2017.
To ensure all of our partners were using the same monitoring criteria, FPC worked with public and non-profit agencies to write a Unified Monitoring Protocol thanks to funding from Metro Regional Government. This document will help all of the groups working in the Greater Forest Park Ecosystem use the same monitoring protocols so we can all know which restoration techniques work best.
Along with removing invasive plants, FPC works with volunteers to plant native trees, plants and shrubs to ensure the habitat in Forest Park continues to thrive and be home to native wildlife.
Forest Park Conservancy's restoration work is a central component of our 20-year plan, the Greater Forest Park Conservation Initiative. If you want to get more involved and volunteer, please contact us.
Your financial support is always welcome!