SALEM — Citing environmental, community and tourism benefits, the State Land Board honored the Colewort Creek Restoration Project Tuesday with the 2012 Wetland Project Award. The project, managed by the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST), improved wetland functions within a 45-acre wetland complex in the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.
In presenting the award, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, a member of the Land Board, praised CREST, the National Park Service and their many partners for their work to lower the marsh plain and create more than 4,000 linear feet of new tidal channels.
Additional enhancements included: placement of more than 200 logs in wood habitat structures throughout the site; removal of invasive reed canary grass from 21⁄2 acres; and revegetation with native seeding in all areas.
Wheeler commended the award winners on their community outreach, which involved recruiting Warrenton High School students and the Northwest Youth Corps as volunteers. In addition, the Astoria High School fisheries program will use the restored site for educational activities. “Visitors to the park will enjoy a more historically accurate landscape, and the park’s environmental education activities will be significantly enhanced” by the restoration, he said.
CREST worked with consulting firm Vigil-Agrimis and Thompson Bros. Excavating to design and implement the project. In addition, volunteers and technical advisers from the North Coast Watershed Association, the Bureau of Land Management and NOAA were instrumental in many phases of the project.
“The Colewort Creek Project was a collaborative effort, and everyone involved feels very honored to receive this recognition from the Land Board,” said Madeline Dalton of CREST. “Many people contributed their time and knowledge to complete this restoration, both during the 2007 tide gate replacement, and with the most recent project that restored the entire 45-acre wetland complex. We appreciate all of the partners who participated in seeing this project through to fruition, and we couldn’t be prouder of our work to restore this important coastal wetland,” she said.
The State Land Board Awards were established in 2004 to recognize worthy projects and efforts that promote responsible, sustainable stewardship of state resources or benefit Department of State Lands-related programs.
The State Land Board consists of Gov. John Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown and Treasurer Wheeler. The DSL 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.
This story originally appeared in Daily Astorian.