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Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 20th Biennial ConferenceEstuaries and Coasts in a Changing World1-5 November 2009, Portland, Oregon, USA

Field Trips

Willamette River Big Canoe Breakfast Trip

Sunday November 1, 2009 · Duration: 2 hours

Depart: 9:00 am
Return: 11:00 am
Cost: $25 per person (includes coffee and bagels)

This field trip will be guided by staff from the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership.

Experience the City of Portland from the perspective of the Willamette River in the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership's unique Big Canoes. Each canoe holds 18 people and is modeled after historical voyageur canoes so it is extremely stable and safe for those with no previous paddling experience.  These are way cool canoes! 

Paddlers will depart from the Madison Street dock at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge (a ½ mile walk south of the CERF convention site along the East Bank Esplanade) and paddle under three bridges to Ross Island - an oasis of nature in the middle of Portland. It is home to nesting bald eagles and great blue herons. More than a hundred species of birds use Ross Island during their annual migrations and federally listed Chinook, Coho and steelhead use its shallow water habitat as they move up and down the Willamette. On any given day boaters may have the thrill of seeing beaver and otter swimming in the narrow Holgate Channel that lies between Ross Island and nearby Oaks Bottom Natural Area.

Ross Island is also a working landscape. For most of the past century what is now the lagoon interior to Ross Island was mined by the Ross Island Sand and Gravel Company to provide the materials used to construct most of Portland’s downtown skyline.  Mining ceased in the 1990s and today a significant portion of Ross Island is now part of the Portland Parks system bringing to reality a vision that was first described by famed landscape architect John Charles Olmsted more than a century ago in his 1903 Report to the Portland Parks Board.

Upon return, you will have the option of walking across the Hawthorne Bridge to the downtown side of the river for an on-your own breakfast at the Veritable Quandary, just a short walk from the west end of the bridge.  From there, you can explore downtown Portland on foot or easily take public transit to the convention site and hotel.

Participants should bring rain gear and shoes appropriate to kayaking or canoeing. Coffee and bagels will be provided.

CANCELLED-West Eugene Wetlands

Sunday November 1, 2009 · Duration: Full day

Depart: 8:00 am
Return: 5:00 pm
Cost: $60 per person (includes box lunch)

This full day tour will travel to the West Eugene Wetlands site in Eugene, Oregon, approximately 100 miles south of Portland in the Willamette Valley. Located in the watershed of the Long Tom River, a major tributary of the Willamette River, the West Eugene Wetlands comprises 3,000 acres of rare habitat, protected and restored by the West Eugene Wetlands Partnership, a unique partnership of state, federal and private agencies.

This area is home to numerous rare and unusual animal species and more than 350 species of plants, some of which exist only in the Willamette Valley. This includes three threatened and endangered plants and one endangered animal species. The West Eugene Wetlands also encompass every type of habitat-from wetland, to upland prairie, to oak savannah-found in the Willamette River Valley.

The Partnership developed the West Eugene Wetlands Plan, which was adopted by the City of Eugene and Lane County in 1992, and which is the primary document that guides the overall management of the wetlands. The community-based collaborative process that led to the creation of the Plan and its overall management strategy brought together private, public, state, and federal agencies, business owners, and individuals in order to balance environmental stewardship with the needs of a growing, prosperous urban community such as Eugene.

Experience first-hand how the West Eugene Wetlands Partnership is working to restore and protect the rare Willamette wet prairie, upland prairies, and oak savannahs by joining us for a guided tour of the site.

Field trip leaders will provide a trip guide.  Participants should wear clothing for rain and sturdy shoes that can get wet.  Participants may want to bring cameras, binoculars and a notebook. 

A box lunch will be provided.

Columbia River Estuary:
New Ideas in Management and Restoration.

Sunday November 1, 2009 ·Duration: Full day

Depart: 8:00 am
Return: 5:00 pm
Cost: $60 per person (includes box lunch)

This field trip will be guided by Micah Russell, Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST) and Chris Hathaway, Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership (LCREP).

On this full-day field trip to and from Astoria, Oregon, we will see both sides of the lower Columbia River and its expansive estuary.  We will focus on management and restoration strategies to counter on-going threats to this one-of-a-kind ecosystem.  Specialists CREST and LCREP will be on hand to discuss their work to address the complex challenges of loss of marsh habitat due to diking for agricultural and industry, effects of upriver dams and regulated flow, contaminated sediments, invasive species, and salmon fishery issues, as well as proposed industrial energy facilities.  Stops at several locations will touch on all of these issues.

We will travel downriver on the Oregon side and first stop at the Bradwood Overlook to get a bird’s-eye view of the river’s gorge and the site of a proposed liquid natural gas development (LNG) facility.  We will continue through Astoria to Fort Clatsop, part of Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, where we will view a 45-acre tidal wetland restoration site constructed in 2007 on the Lewis and Clark River, and discuss this project with National Park Service staff during a provided lunch

After lunch, we will cross the Columbia River and journey to Cape Disappointment State Park to visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, overlooking the turbulent mouth of the Columbia River.  The prime view of the north jetty will provide a back-drop for discussing river dynamics and regional sediment management, the challenges of maintaining a dredged navigation channel, and saving sediment-starved beaches without harming local ecosystems and economies.  We will also discuss the plight of the lower river ports in dealing with accumulating contaminated sediments and possible solutions.

Finally, time permitting, we return to Portland via the Washington side of the river where we will glimpse of small communities such as Grays River, where residents are dealing with increased flooding due to years of industrial logging upstream and simplification of the floodplain.

Field trip leaders will provide a trip guide, bibliography, and box lunch Participants should bring knee-high boots and wear clothing for rain; participants may want to bring cameras, binoculars and a notebook. 

CANCELLED-Oregon Salt Marsh Restoration:
Nestucca Bay and Salmon River Estuary.

Sunday November 1, 2009 · Duration: Full day

Depart: 8:00 am
Return: 5:00 pm
Cost: $60 per person (includes box lunch)

This field trip will be guided by Roy Lowe, Project Leader, Oregon Coastal Refuge Complex, USFWS, Jim Good, Emeritus, Oregon State University Sea Grant Extension.

On this full-day field trip, we will visit two of the many small estuaries on the Oregon coast to view three salt and brackish marshes in successive stages of restoration.  Historically, about two-thirds of Oregon’s tidal marshes have been diked, drained, or filled (~50,000 acres), mostly for agriculture. Restoring some of these areas to estuarine circulation is as an important goal of local watershed councils, nonprofit land trusts, and natural resource agencies, in part because of their value to juvenile salmonids.

Our first stop will be at the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners restored an 83-acre tidal marsh along the Little Nestucca River in Summer 2007. This was the first tidal marsh restoration project in this estuary. Natural hydrology was restored to the site through dike removal and slough and channel construction. Project design also incorporated habitat features for juvenile salmonid fish.

We will then travel a few miles south over Cascade Head to view the Salmon River estuary. The entire estuary and adjacent headland are part of the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area established in 1974 and managed by the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy. Since 1978, when the 55-acre “Mitchell marsh” restoration—our first stop—was undertaken, approximately 300 acres of formerly diked tidal marsh have been restored and monitored for change. Our final stop, the 100-acre “Salmon Creek marsh,” was restored in 1996. Additional research was initiated in 1997 to examine salmonid use of restored and adjacent undisturbed marshes throughout the estuary.

At each site, scientists involved in restoration and monitoring will discuss restoration strategies and outcomes, focusing on changes in vegetation over time, sedimentation rates, development of tidal channels, and use by fishes, particularly juvenile salmonids.

If there is time, we will stop at the world-famous Otis Café for milkshakes, molasses bread, and other local treats.

Field trip leaders will provide a trip guide, and bibliography. Participants should bring knee-high boots and wear weather-appropriate clothing; be prepared for rain! Optional: cameras, binoculars, hand lenses, clipboard, pencils, and sun block.A box lunch will be provided.

Lower Columbia River Water Trail –Ridgefield NWR

Sunday November 1, 2009 · Duration: 6 hours

Depart: 8:00 am
Return:  2:00 pm
Cost: $65.00 (includes transportation, boat rental, and box lunch)

This field trip will be guided by staff from the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership.

Travel down the Columbia River to Ridgefield, Washington for an easy four-mile round-trip paddle and visit to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Participants will choose from several kinds sea kayaks at Ridgefield Kayak Rentals and paddle two miles down Lake River to it’s confluence with the mainstem of the Columbia River, where paddlers will see Warrior Rock and lighthouse, the City of St. Helens across the river, and perhaps large cargo ships transiting to or from the Port of Portland. The Lake River area is a protected side channel, so it's a good area for a variety of skills and November is actually a nice time to go - more wildlife, less wind, typically fewer people on the water.

Post paddle, participants will take a short hike in the Refuge and visit the Cathlapotle Plankhouse – a replica cedar plankhouse similar to those seen by Lewis and Clark at the ancient village of Cathlapotle. Cost includes transportation, boat rental, and a box lunch. 

The Refuge was created in 1965, along with three others in Oregon, to provide winter habitat for wintering waterfowl with an emphasis on the dusky Canada goose, whose nesting areas in the Copper River delta of Alaska had been severely affected by a violent earthquake in 1964.  The Refuge covers approximately 5,300 acres, a mosaic of seasonal wetlands, permanent wetlands, grasslands, upland forests, riparian corridors, oak woodlands, and cropland. Thousands of ducks, geese, and swans winter on the Refuge.

Participants should bring rain gear and shoes appropriate to flat-water paddling.  Participants should have some flat water paddling experience.A box lunch will be provided.

Birding Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

Sunday November 1, 2009 · Duration: Full day

Depart: 8:00 am
Return:  5:00 pm
Cost: $45.00 (includes transportation and box lunch)

This field trip will be guided by Janet Lamberson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Newport, Oregon.

Sauvie Island is 10 miles north of Portland, and is bordered on the east by the Columbia River and on the west by the Multnomah Channel.  The island was home to the native Multnomah people and served as an area for hunting, fishing and gathering wappato, or broadleaf arrowhead, which has a starchy root used like potatoes.  The area was noted by Lewis and Clark in their lower Columbia River journals as Wapato Island for the abundance of this plant, and in the early 1800’s was managed by employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company as an agricultural area supporting dairy herds and crops supplying Fort Vancouver, near Portland.  By the 1850’s the island was farmed by settlers who came to the area over the Oregon Trail.  In the 1930’s parts of the island were diked for flood control and in the 1940’s 12,000 acres were set aside for wildlife protection as the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, which is managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Sauvie Island is one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier birding areas, supporting wintering flocks of thousands of ducks, cackling and snow geese, tundra and trumpeter swans and sandhill cranes, as well as hosting over 250 other species of birds.  Duck hunting is permitted in winter, and some parts of the island are closed to public access on hunt days, though much of the island is still open to birding, hiking and other activities.  If November 1 is a hunt day, the trip may be moved to a different nearby birding location.

Participants will travel via van to the island and will observe birds at several viewing stops on the island in a variety of habitats including riparian, lakes and ponds, agricultural areas, woodland and beach.  There will be some short walks to observation overlooks, but most birds can be viewed without substantial hiking.  The trip leader will have spotting scopes to aid in viewing distant birds, but participants would find binoculars to be helpful for observing birds.  Cost includes transportation and a box lunch. 

Participants should bring rain gear, binoculars and shoes appropriate for walking in wet muddy areas.  Participants may want to bring a camera and a pocket notebook.  Participants at all levels of birding experience are welcome.  A box lunch will be provided.

© 2009 Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation
P.O. Box 510 · Port Republic, MD, 20676
Ph: (410) 326-7467 · Fax: (410) 326-7466
http://www.erf.org · info@erf.org

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