Gilbert Creek Riparian Restoration

When: Completed 2017
Where: Gilbert Creek Park, Grants Pass

Objective: A stream-side forest restoration project to improve water quality, increase native plant diversity, and increase community awareness of the importance of urban riparian areas

Blackberries engulfing earlier planting of cedars and ponderosa pines

Over ten years ago, the Middle Rogue Watershed Council (one of our precursor organizations) cleared out blackberries and planted dozens of incense cedar and ponderosa pine trees along the west bank of a stretch of Gilbert Creek lying between Gilbert Creek Park and two schools in northwest Grants Pass. However, with very little maintenance done over the years, the blackberries came back in full force with many of the trees stunted due to the resulting competition for moisture and light.

Grants Pass High School students planting on a very rainy day

RRWC partnered with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Salmon Trout Enhancement Program (STEP) and Grants Pass School District #7 to utilize volunteers for weed/blackberry removal, planting 400-plus native trees and shrubs on both sides of the creek, and plant maintenance.

The removal of blackberries has improved growing conditions for both the earlier and most recent plantings. It has also resulted in a more welcoming, safe, and accessible location for outdoor learning and recreation for students and park visitors. The plantings will increase shading for the creek, decrease bank erosion, and improve wildlife habitat.

This project would not have been possible without the funding and support from the following:

Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Salmon Trout Enhancement Program, Grants Pass School District #7, City of Grants Pass, Middle Rogue Steelheaders, Southern Oregon Fly Fishers, Strauss Ecological Services, Humble Heron Fly Fishing, Mycorrhizal Applications, Starbucks Coffee