Springtime in the Tryon Creek Watershed

Have you been hiking around the watershed the past few weeks? If you have, you probably noticed springtime is in full gear and many plants have started blooming. Out in the field this month, we have noticed Indian plum flowering, trillium popping up, and salmonberry starting to bloom.



While it is enjoyable to see so many native species starting to flower, March and April are when several invasive species bloom as well. The benefit of the invasive species flowering is that it makes them much easier to identify. The downside is that several invasives spread through flowers, so it is critical that if you spot certain varieties in bloom on your property that you remove them. Some of the main culprits this time of year are garlic mustard, herb Robert, lesser celandine, scotch broom, shiny geranium, and spurge laurel.

Lesser calendine, scotch broom, and spurge laurel require some special techniques when removing. If you find these species on your property, please read about removal techniques here to learn how to effectively control them. If you have any questions about invasive species removal, please contact West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District at 503-238-4775.

Garlic mustard, herb robert, and shiny geranium are easy to hand pull and should be done so throughout the month of April. These species spread very quickly so it is best to remove small patches as soon as they pop up – prevention is key!

Have a lot of garlic mustard on your property? The good news is that it is edible! So rather than just tossing it into your compost bin, you can use it for some delicious recipes! Garlic mustard pesto is our personal favorite and the recipe is as follows:


Photo credit: www.prariestateoutdoors.com

Garlic Mustard Pesto


  • 3 cups garlic mustard greens, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon garlic mustard root, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Pulse the garlic mustard greens in a food processor with the nuts, garlic mustard root, and cheese. Then, with the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the spout. Toss with pasta or spread on crusty bread – enjoy!




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Planting Season

Planting season is here! We have been busy the past few weeks receiving our native plant orders and planting them at restoration sites. This is an exciting them when we work to improve the biodiversity and reintroduce native species in the Tryon Creek watershed.

We kicked off the season with our Native Plant Sale during President’s Day weekend. During this sale, we sell native plants to the public for a bargain price of just $2 a plant. We had a wide variety of species, ranging from bare root trees and shrubs to potted flowers and ornamentals. Overall, we sold over 8,000 plants, which is an impressive number of natives that will be planted in the Portland metro area!

Native Plant Native Plant 1

Now it was time to plant some of the extra native species from the sale at our restoration sites. On February 21, we hosted our annual Watershed Wide Event, which is our biggest volunteer effort every year. We welcomed 80 volunteers who worked at 8 different sites throughout our watershed. Most of the teams planted but there was some invasive removal, too. At the end of the day, our volunteers removed 30,000 square feet of invasives and planted over 9000 native plants!


Did you miss these two great events but still want in on the planting fun? It’s not over yet! We will have a few more planting work parties in the next few weeks. Check out our event calendar or e-mail Adra, our Volunteer Coordinator, at tcwc.volcoord@gmail.com

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January – A time of invasive removal and celebration!

It has been a great start to 2015 for Tryon Creek Watershed Council. January has been unseasonably warm this year and we have taken advantage by hosting a few volunteer invasive removal work parties.

We celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the Key Club from Woodrow Wilson High School. A group of students meet with Watershed Coordinator Corrina and some of the local residents at the Oak Creek HOA, a new site to TCWC. The area is a communal space for the residents of the Oak Creek neighborhood which has become encroached by ivy and other invasive species.


Photo: Connie Gibson



Photo: Connie Gibson

The students set to work and were able to remove an impressive amount of ivy, despite the steep and slippery topography of the work site. The group focused on removing ivy from the trees in the area and were able to save 50 trees in total. You can learn more about why ivy is so harmful to trees here.

A special thanks to our site leaders: Corrina, Carl, and Mike! And also thank you to Marley Bennett, the student who organized the service day. Way to go, Marley!

On January 25, we hosted another small work party at an old restoration site along Deer Creek. The Watershed Council had a grant to work on this property a few years ago and was able to remove invasive blackberry and replace it with a variety of native plants over the course of a few years. The landowner, Laura, has done a great job maintaining her property on her own, but the ever pervasive clematis was giving her trouble. We reached out to her to see if she would like a few sets of extra hands to help tackle this invasive slowly sneaking up on her property and she says “Yes!”


Laura happy to remove these invasives from her property.

We had a  group of two volunteers and Laura for the project. While the group was small, they were able to make a considerable effort on the clematis and removed 12 square feet of invasives. Thank you to Tyler and Haley, our two wonderful volunteers, for spending your Sunday afternoon helping us maintain the Deer Creek watershed!

We also celebrated our volunteer efforts in 2014 in the Nature Center on January 30. The event hosted a delicious array of snacks and beverages for volunteers, including beer from Sasquatch Brewery. After mingling and volunteer recognition, attendees were treated to an interesting and informative presentation on lichen in the Portland metro area, presented by local lichenologist Dr. Sarah Jovan. Those in attendance enjoyed learning about how lichens can be important and powerful indicator species for pollution levels. Finally, before departing, volunteers were treated to an exciting raffle, where some of our lucky volunteers won prizes such as handmade wooden cutting boards, free yoga passes, and a free kayak tour! Thank you to everyone who came to the event and thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers who make all that we do at TCWC possible!

IMGP0346-e1422918424671  IMGP0348-e1422918441873

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Watershed Wide Event

With the start of the new year, we at Tryon Creek Watershed Council are looking forward to all of the restoration to come in 2015!

We are especially excited for our annual Watershed Wide Event on February 21, which is our largest volunteer effort every year. We hope you will be able to join us for this fun community event that always makes a big impact on the restoration needed in the Tryon Creek watershed.

You can learn more about the event and register here


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Busy Start to Winter in the Tryon Creek Watershed

As the days have grown darker and the ground wetter, our volunteers at TCWC have still been active and taking advantage of the wetter conditions to plant natives and pull ivy.


Deer-Coyote Planting with Renaissance Academy

On November 23, we hosted a work party on National Family Volunteering Day with the Renaissance Academy of Arts and Sciences. A group of 9 students in the school’s environmental science class came out with their parents to plant natives at the confluence of Deer and Coyote Creek. If you remember, volunteers removed invasives at this site in September as part of the SOLVE Beach and Riverside Clean Up Event so it was in need of natives to help retain soil where we had pulled ivy and periwinkle.

The students had been learning about watersheds, invasive species, and native species in their class so they enjoyed seeing the concepts they had been learning applied throughout the service day. They each got to select their very own Oregon grape and choose where to plant it.


Aside from the Oregon grape, they also planted a nice variety of cedar, Indian plum, wahoo, and fringe cup. They planted a total of 45 natives, which certainly made the riparian habitat look more robust.

IMGP0312 IMGP0313After the work party, the landowners of the site, Mike and Marilyn Duffield, hosted the families in their home and provided a delicious array of snacks! It was great to have the opportunity for landowners and volunteers to meet each other. Overall, the students and the families walked away with a better understanding of how riparian habitats affect bodies of water and what they can do to be better stewards to their own watershed.


Ivy Pull at Tryon Creek State Natural Area Adopt-A-Plot

We also hosted a work party on December 7 at TCWC’s Adopt-A-Plot in Tryon Creek State Natural Area. TCWC has maintained this plot for several years and it spans between the High Bridge and Obie Bridge. We had a great turnout of 17 volunteers, including Torrey and Sharon from our board!

Our volutneers searched meticulously for small patches of ivy that were beginning to encroach on the plot. Since the area has been maintained for so many years, there is hardly any ivy, but it is important to do routine maintenance to make sure it does not return. Our group spread out and was able to cover the entire plot by the end of the afternoon, which will hopefully keep the ivy at bay for the next year or so. Big thank you to Carl Axelsen for organizing, leading, and donating refreshments to the work party!


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TCWC 2014 Silent Auction Live (on Ebay!)

The 2014 Tryon Creek Watershed Council Silent Auction is now live! Please visit our auction site to bid on items:



Outdoor Activities:



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Stone Bridge Plantings


As the days grow shorter and the weather becomes wetter, that means the start of planting season for the Watershed Council! We have been planting many native species out in the field this month, slowly clearing out our nursery to make room for when the Plant Sale orders arrive in early February.  With the help of two groups of Pacific Academy students, we planted over 60 native species at the Stone Bridge, which crosses Nettle Creek, a major tributary to Tryon Creek in the Lake Oswego area.


As many of you know, the Stone Bridge is an exciting project that was completed this past summer. The old Stone Bridge contained a culvert that blocked off access for fish populations to spawning areas. The new wooden bridge has no culvert and is a great step in completely opening Tryon Creek for spawning fish. You can read a more detailed explanation of the project here.

Old Bridge

Old Bridge

New Bridge

New Bridge









After the construction, the area surrounding the new bridge was in need of restoration. We had 15 students from the the Pacific Academy help us with the restoration. The Pacific Academy is a small, therapeutic alternative school operated by the Northwest Regional Educational Service District and located in Washington County. This service-learning opportunity allowed students to learn about the bridge replacement project, fish migration, riparian habitat, native plant identification, and erosion.


Corrina demonstrating how to plant.

Students also learned techniques on how to plant natives effectively. With this new knowledge, students got to work with their shovels. The digging was a little rocky but the students persevered and were able to plant 65 species, which included salmonberry, fringe cup, willow, and ninebark, to name a few. If you get a chance, hike down to the site to see the new bridge and the array of native plants.


A student planting a salmonberry

A student planting a salmonberry


We would like to thank the Pacific Academy students and teachers for partnering with us for the project. We also want to thank Carl Axelsen for helping coordinate and lead the project – his efforts made the entire planting possible!


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No Ivy Day


We had a great turnout to both of our sites for No Ivy Day on Saturday, October 25. If you are not familiar with No Ivy Day, it is an annual city-wide event sponsored by Portland Parks and Recreation. Started in 2003, No Ivy Day is an event that reduces the amount of mature ivy in the Portland metro area while also educating the public about ivy and its negative impacts on local ecosystems.


See how big the ivy vines can get!

We were thrilled to participate in this city-wide effort by hosting not one but two ivy removal sites! One group meet at the Oak Creek HOA, a brand-new site for TCWC, and the other was at Arnold Creek, an important tributary to Tryon Creek.

We had 16 total volunteers (eight at each site), which included a nice mix of local neighbors, repeat volunteers, and a few of our board members! After some coffee and an introduction, our volunteers set to work. Rain clouds loomed overhead but (thankfully) held off the entire morning, giving us nice, cool working conditions. The terrain was steep and slippery but that did not deter our volunteers. By noon, we had removed  ivy from over 90 trees (30 at Oak Creek, 60 at Arnold Creek)!


Ivy throughout Arnold Creek.

Ivy that climbs trees is a concern for two reasons. First, if left long enough, the ivy will eventually kill the tree. From the perspective of a watershed, trees are essential to provide habitat for wildlife and to shade creeks and rivers to maintain healthy temperatures for aquatic life. When water gets too warm, fish and other species cannot survive. Second, once ivy starts to climb upwards, it is able to fully mature, flower, and spread its seed. By removing it from trees, we are slowing down the plant’s ability to reproduce.

To remove ivy effectively from the trees at our sites, we used the “lifesaver” technique:

The lifesaver method takes a little bit more time but is very effective in protecting each tree from ivy invasion. Do you have an ivy covered tree in your yard? Try this method and help remove ivy in your own area – all you need is hand clippers and gloves (although a saw and grubbing tool can be handy, too).

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No Ivy Day October 25


What: Tree Ivy Removal

When: Saturday, October 25, 8:45 am – 12:00 pm

Where: Oak Creek HOA, located at the intersection of Vesta Street and Oak Creek Drive

What to bring: Pants, closed-toe shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, water bottle

What will be provided: Coffee, snacks, tools, gloves

Tryon Creek Watershed Council will be hosting a work party for No Ivy Day on October 25! If you are unfamiliar with No Ivy Day, it is an annual ivy removal event in Portland started in 2003 focused on providing stewardship opportunities in our beloved natural areas while raising awareness of the challenges they face.


As many of you know, ivy is incredibly invasive and prevalent in the Portland metro area. To learn more about English ivy and its harmful effects on ecosystems click here. We will be holding our work party at the Oak Creek HOA, located in the Oak Creek neighborhood in southwest Portland. This will be our first work party at the site so it will be great to have a lot of helping hands to kick off this project!

Ivy climbing up a tree. When ivy is able to climb, it matures and spread its seeds.

Ivy climbing up a tree. When ivy is able to climb, it matures and spread its seeds.

Ivy after a "lifesaver" - essentially cutting a ring around the base of the tree to kill the ivy

Ivy after a “lifesaver” – essentially cutting a ring around the base of the tree to kill the ivy









Following the work party, the City of Portland is inviting all volunteers to a post-work celebration at  the No Ivy League Field Headquarters in Forest Park from 12:30pm-2:00pm . Enjoy refreshments, listen to special speakers, and mingle with other volunteers.

We hope to see you at this great event! You can register at the No Ivy Day website here.

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Deer-Coyote Invasive Removal

On Saturday, September 27, 19 volunteers showed up to the confluence of Deer and Coyote Creek (tributaries to Tryon Creek) to help remove invasive periwinkle and ivy. TCWC partnered up with SOLVE for their 30th annual Beach and Riverside Clean Up Event, a state-wide volunteer day to help improve Oregon waterways. We had a variety of volunteers show up, including PBS Engineering and Environmental, Wells Fargo Advisors, and a few neighbors and high school students from the local neighborhood.


PBS Engineering and Environmental

Wells Fargo Advisors

Wells Fargo Advisors

After enjoying a brief introduction from SOLVE and TCWC, the volunteers got down to business. Using hand cultivators, our volunteers pulled out invasive ivy and periwinkle. Even with the cloud cover, we were all breaking a sweat. A few hours later, a 60 x 145 foot area of invasives had been cleared. You can see the results in our before and after photos:

Thank you to SOLVE for partnering with us for the event! They hosted a total of  4,700 volunteers state-wide that made the following improvements to Oregon’s beaches, parks, neighborhoods and waterways:

  • Removed 52,200 pounds of trash and recyclable material from beaches, rivers, neighborhoods and natural areas
  • Planted 286 native trees and shrubs in parks, on school grounds and in natural areas
  • Removed invasive non-native vegetation from approximately 3 acres of land

And a big thank you to our hard-working volunteers! They made quite the difference at the Coyote-Deer Creek confluence and it is now ready for some native plants this winter.

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