The members of the State Land Board at their June 9 meeting presented the City of Wilsonville the 2014 Wetland Project Award for enhancing wetlands and wildlife habitat as part of the project to build a new section of Boeckman Road.
State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, a member of the Board who presented the award, praised the collaborative effort and said the project “showcases how thoughtful planners turned a normal transportation project into an environmental win.”
Because the road project permanently impacted 4.4 acres of wetlands, the city was required to mitigate for the loss of wetland functions. Their mitigation plan included enhancing nearly 17 acres of degraded wetlands, and creating passages to allow amphibians and reptiles to avoid crossing the new roadway.
“This project went above and beyond normal wetland mitigation, and we are so pleased to be able to provide areas where the public can learn about wetlands and the wildlife that use them,” said Kerry Rappold, the city’s natural resources program manager. The area was once an expansive peat bog created by the Missoula floods, Rappold said. “The restoration efforts created three shallow wetlands, three separate planting zones to improve ecological complexity, and removed invasive reed canary grass to provide better habitat for waterfowl, beavers and other birds.”
The city worked with Metro during the planning and design phases, because Metro owns land to the north and south of the project area, said Rappold.
Wildlife ecologist and former Portland State University graduate student Leslie Bliss-Ketchum performed a study on wildlife animal passage, vegetation influence on passage, and the correlation between habitat and presence of human development, which proved to be invaluable information for the project. "This project is an excellent example of wildlife needs being addressed early in the planning process with great success. If all new projects took this much care in thinking about natural systems we can only imagine what a dynamic and sustainable community we could have," Bliss-Ketchum said.
“This is the Land Board’s 11th year of presenting awards for projects and efforts that promote responsible, sustainable stewardship of state natural resources,” said Board chair Governor Kate Brown. “It’s encouraging to know there are so many outstanding projects taking place throughout the state, and I commend today’s award winners for protecting our natural resources for future generations,” she said.
The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon’s Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.