Stream Team helps clean Springfield’s rivers

Volunteers remove invasive teasel along Springfield’s Mill Race. Photos Provided/Meghan Murphy

Outdoor enthusiast Terry Keene said every time he walks his dog down the McKenzie river, he always carries a grocery sack to pick up trash.
”I feel real ownership of public land,” he said. ”I feel every citizen should feel ownership for public land and spaces and do their share. When walking there at least I’m contributing something for the use of public lands.”
Keene is involved in multiple volunteering organizations. From the forest service to a native grasses conservation plot to Springfield’s Stream Team. The organization cleans up litter, removes invasive plants and plants native vegetation along Springfield’s streams, bioswales and rivers.
”It formed a couple of years ago,” environmental services technician, Meghan Murphy said. ”We were working with different groups of people who called in wanting to do volunteering. We suggested one-off projects when someone wanted one, and a couple years ago decided to include more people and have pre-planned events for everyone.”
Two projects that the Stream Team has coming up that volunteers can sign up for are pulling out invasive bamboo from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 17 at Island Park, and planting native vegetation from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 12 at Island Park.
”We’re partnering with Willamalane; they have a spot along Island Park against the Willamette River that has a section of bamboo,” Murphy explained. ”There are different kinds of bamboo and some are invasive, and will spread and take over.”
Regarding the planting of native vegetation, Murphy said that along with providing shade over the river to keep it from getting too warm and hurting the fish, it will also help with the geese problem. Residents feeding the geese regularly are keeping them from their normal migrating patterns and is causing a lot of animal feces in the park. Murphy said the City of Springfield doesn’t want E. coli to get into the river, so planting natural vegetation along the side of the river will keep the geese from walking up the side of the banks.
Keene, who has volunteered with the team for three years, said that trash is the one thing that really irritates him, and he spends a lot of his time cleaning that.
The number of volunteers on each project range from five to 25, and Murphy is hoping to start getting higher numbers; she said that since the Stream Team founded, based on a desire from local groups to volunteer, fewer groups have contacted her about volunteer opportunities.
”We’re wanting people to come ask for projects and get more people involved,” she said. ”I want to do more projects with individual groups; a lot of groups out there have a community service requirement.”
Murphy said it’s the little things the Stream Team does that makes a difference; picking up litter is a simple, quick way to make the habitat better for wildlife, improve water quality and improve the aesthetics of the stream.
”The Stream Team is important because our waterways support the quality of water going to the McKenzie and Willamette River, and we want to have the best quality of water going into those big rivers that we can.”
Ah! Invasive!
Invasive plants crowd out native vegetation that local wildlife depends on, Environmental Services Technician Meghan Murphy said, which means that birds, butterflies and insects aren’t getting access to the plants they need for their lifecycle or food needs.
Some common invasive plants in the area are Scotch broom, Armenian blackberry and knotweed. A full list and more information on invasive plant species can be found at the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s website: oregon.gov/oda/programs/weeds/oregonnoxiousweeds/pages/aboutoregonweeds.aspx

WHAT: Stream Tean volunteer clean up, pulling out invasive bamboo
WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 17, 10 a.m. – noon
Island Park, 200 W. B St.
SIGN UP: [email protected]
MORE INFO: Meghan Murphy: [email protected] or 541-744-3385

WHAT: Stream Tean volunteer sign-up, planting native vegetation
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 12, 10 a.m. – noon
WHERE: Island Park, 200 W. B St.
SIGN UP: [email protected]
MORE INFO: Meghan Murphy: [email protected] or 541-744-338



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