Tales From The Trails:

Conservation and Equity: The Balch Creek Restoration Partnership

On September 5th, Verde Landscape crew members joined the Forest Park Conservancy and Portland Parks & Recreation staff for the first of a series of trainings to support important restoration work in Forest Park as part of “The Balch Creek Restoration Partnership” project. This project was funded by Metro’s 2019 Nature in Neighborhoods restoration and community stewardship grant.

As part of the Verde Landscape Training Program, Verde works with restoration partners with shared visions for engagement between community and the environment like the Forest Park Conservancy and Portland Parks. More than a customer-contractor relationship, these “restoration partnerships” invest in Verde Landscape’s social enterprise model as a strategy to improve the environment, increase equity and alleviate poverty.

The Balch Creek Restoration Project advances this vision of restoration partnerships and creates the first targeted bi-lingual programming among the three partners in Forest Park.

Five Verde Landscape crew members received training on key topics that are applicable to the project of restoring habitat along the Balch Creek Watershed in Forest Park, including plant identification training, understanding the importance of native species in our region’s ecosystem and Portland Parks & Recreation’s Integrated Pest Management treatment protocols.

Balch Creek is a perennial fish-bearing stream system that is visible from the Lower Macleay Trail. The creek is an ecologically significant resource that has been seriously impacted by non-native weeds, primarily English ivy, clematis and holly. This project is designed to leverage the strengths of each partner organization to prevent the permanent degradation or loss of plant communities and wildlife habitat in the area, while promoting community stewardship of Portland’s largest and most renowned park and improving economic and environmental equity.

Photo of training provided by Verde

This training also included a guided hike through Forest Park looking at specific examples of restoration work completed by the Forest Park Conservancy and Portland Parks & Recreation.

Additionally, crew members heard from Rosario Franco, a local contractor and owner of Rosario Franco Restoration Inc. Franco spoke about his professional career in the restoration field, the challenges of starting his own business, and his expectations and plans to work on the Balch Creek Restoration Partnership project.

The trainings are designed to generate expertise, and capacity for future stewardship work, all while tackling major habitat quality issues facing Forest Park.

Photo of Balch Creek by Bruce Macgregor

 

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