A salmon restoration project in Portland has been named a finalist for one of the world’s leading global climate action awards.
The C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards, which recognizes cities that are demonstrating climate action leadership, named the city's Crystal Springs Creek Restoration Project as a finalist Wednesday.
The southeast Portland restoration project improved the creek’s water quality and removed culverts so salmon and other fish can swim up the Willamette River tributary.
City Commissioner Nick Fish said receiving international recognition highlights the importance of saving the Northwest's endangered fish.
“When salmon and steelhead are doing well in Portland, then it’s a sign that we have healthier watersheds and when we have healthy watersheds people do better,” Fish said.
Restoration work is still ongoing on the 2.4 mile-long creek, but Fish said the primary goal of salmon spawning has been successful.
“Were we to win this award I think it would just be a further validation that we're on the right step, we’re doing the right things and I think it would be an incredible compliment to the professionals that teamed up to make this happen,” Fish said.
The project was led by the Bureau of Environmental Services along with several different government agencies and community groups to protect salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The total cost of the Crystal Springs Creek Restoration project was $16 million — with $8.8 million coming from the Bureau of Environmental Services and $5 million from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers.
Following the Crystal Springs Watershed Restoration project, the city of Portland and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a restoration project at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. The project included replacing an old culvert with a "salmon subway" that allowed fish to access the refuge for the first time in over 100 years. The city council just approved another culvert replacement project in the Tryon Creek watershed.
The Portland City Council will also proclaim Oct. 6 as “Salmon in Our City Day.” A public event will be held at Johnson Creek Park to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the restoration of Crystal Springs Creek.