Since December 18, 2018, the innovative Carli Creek Water Quality Project has been filtering harmful pollutants from stormwater runoff from surrounding industrial properties before it reaches Carli Creek and the Clackamas River, the drinking water source for nearly 400,000 people in Clackamas County.
In 2012, Clackamas County Water Environment Services (WES) recognized the importance of the property to river water quality and acquired the former farmland to establish the facility. In 2013-14, water quality monitoring showed pollution levels exceeded standards for:
- E. coli
threatening water quality, fish, and other wildlife. An elaborate fish rescue operation was performed before construction began.
- a meandering channel with pools in and along nearly 1,700 linear feet of Carli Creek
- 61 large wood habitat structures for fish and other aquatic wildlife
- a backwater channel
- floodplain enhancements through grading, invasive, and non-native species removal, and planting a diversity of native species
- enhanced wetlands and an additional 1.36 acre of wetland
The Carli Creek facility ensures a cleaner Clackamas River, protection for endangered wildlife and proves that a balance between nature and industry is possible.
The total project budget including land acquisition was $4 million. WES was supported by key partnerships, such as Portland General Electric (PGE) who awarded WES $380,000 for the stream restoration elements of the project. In addition to the PGE grant, funding for the project came from surface water fees paid by property owners within the WES service area.