The Water Action Team works to improve water quality, water abundance and native ecological diversity in and around our streams, rivers, wetlands and groundwater while increasing multi-cultural public appreciation and interaction with our community waters.
We collaborate with institutions, organizations, multi-cultural communities, government and tribal agencies and individuals to create in-ground and in-water projects that improve our community water systems and ecosystems, retain water in our soils, and influence how we appreciate, use and treat water.
PROJECTS & EVENTS
In 2016, we began resurrecting a creek buried in a 100-year-old pipe, regenerating it into a healthy creek with native biodiversity. The process includes planting 8,000 native plants (over 35 species), plugging the drainage pipes, building 15 creek diversion structures to disperse the flow, creating five vernal pools to stimulate biodiversity, replacing a tiny culvert with an 8-foot-wide culvert and installing interpretive displays. As the process unfolds, the creek is slowly returning to being a viable, healthy creek for the first time in 100 years.
In 2018, we began the process of regenerating a historic wetland from a grass field that had been trenched and drained by redistributing drainage runoff throughout the field, rather than continue to have the runoff drain directly to the creek. We planted hundreds of native wetland shrubs, graminoids and perennials. We also developed, printed and installed 6 large interpretive displays that are installed along the adjoining pathway.
In 2014, we began working with the City and property owners adjacent to the Mill Race to replace non-native plants with native plants, widen the effective riparian buffer to create greater biodiversity and to encourage a corridor pedestrian pathway along the Mill Race to increase greater awareness and advocacy for a cleaner and more productive waterway.
In 2015, following the naming of Lamprey Creek and the blessing by the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, we began regenerating native life to Lamprey Creek by replacing lawn and non-native plants along the creek with native shrubs, trees and graminoids. We have also prepared interpretive displays to inspire visitors to protect and cherish this important creek.
In 2007, a 70+ year-old dam on Oak Creek that inhibited migrating trout, salmon and lamprey from swimming up and down the creek was removed. The removal was a crowning achievement. About the same time, beaver began to build dams on Oak Creek that did not inhibit fish passage and performed many services valuable to humans and the environment. “Dammed Oak Creek” is a 9-minute video that tells this story of the difference between human dams and beaver dams and the importance of that difference to our community. Learn more about Oak Creek HERE.
In 2018, we partnered with the Corvallis School District and a Boy Scout troop to regenerate the portion of Dixon Creek riparian zone that passes through the Corvallis High School yard. Invasive plants were removed, and hundreds of native shrubs and perennials were planted. Since then, the Water Action Team has maintained the area and added an interpretive display. This project is the start of a larger project to extend to other creekbanks along Dixon Creek.
In 2010, the Crescent Valley High School Native Arboretum was prepared and planted. In 2011, the Cheldelin Middle School Native Arboretum was planted. In 2012, the Corvallis Waldorf School Native Arboretum was planted. In 2013, the Linus Pauling Middle School Native Arboretum was planted. And others followed. These native arboretums provide a unique oasis on each schoolyard to regenerate a thriving ecosystem for students to observe, a quiet place to rest in the shade, and an educational experience right outside the school door.
In 2010, we initiated a demonstration site at the South Co-op to show that we could reduce tapwater consumption, wastewater discharge and stormwater runoff to the municipal system each by 50% annually. We incorporated efficient mitigation features and techniques without interfering with the daily business or the finances of the Co-op. By 2014, we met our goal of 50% for all three water types.
In 2008, we began co-sponsoring annual Corvallis Urban Creek Tours of the creeks flowing locally into the Marys or Willamette River. We generally tour from the source of the creek to its mouth at the river. We have toured Dixon, Oak, Dunawi, Jackson, Lamprey, Sequoia and Newton (in Philomath) Creeks, as well as the Mill Race. We have toured some of the creeks multiple times. We often invite hydrologists and aquatic ecologists to serve as expert guides. Tour participants travel by van, carpool, hike or bike, depending upon the individual tour logistics. Tours were suspended during the 2020-21 pandemic, but were resumed in April 2022.