At a Glance

With the help of a helicopter crew, native habitat and ecological function are restored to a protected area of the Clackamas River.

Project Description

The Barton Natural Area, owned by Metro Parks and Nature, is a 95-acre reserve along the Clackamas River that provides crucial habitat for native species and recreational opportunities for the surrounding community. After receiving voter-approved funding and a grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Metro turned to Biohabitats and project partners Waterways Consulting, Inc. to enhance native fish habitat, floodplain connectivity, and water quality along the Clackamas River.

The site, a former gravel mining operation, served as insufficient habitat for the fish, beaver, and turtles living along the river. After securing permits, the project team salvaged fish, removed debris, and excavated 15,000 cubic yards of material from a historic alcove channel to a lower elevation so that it remains wet all year. Due to its groundwater sources, the restored alcove provides an important source of cold water refugia during the summer months. During winter high flows, the alcove provides fish with a velocity and water quality refuge from high and turbid flows. Biohabitats placed large boulders and built logjam structures to enhance habitat for federally protected species. Habitat log structures and native whole trees were flown into the mainstem of the river by the skilled pilots and ground crew of Columbia Helicopters. In total, over 150 logs and rootwads were flown and placed on floodplain islands within the Clackamas River. Additionally, two mini-excavators were airlifted to the riverbed to excavate a side channel. When the work was complete, they were flown back to the staging area.

Biohabitats also implemented and maintained erosion control strategies to stabilize the shoreline along the Clackamas River. During the project, Biohabitats complied with county, state, and federal permit requirements. Part of a larger endeavor by Metro to protect the Clackamas River watershed, this project was an important piece of habitat restoration in Oregon.




Expertise Areas

Ecological Restoration




Boring, Oregon, United States

Project Team
  • Waterways Consulting, Inc.
  • Columbia Helicopters