NEWS RELEASE – for immediate release 12-09
April 9, 2012
Eugene garners two Land Board awards for exemplary projects
EWEB's Roosevelt Operations Center receives wetland award; City of Eugene receives stream award
Salem - The State Land Board on April 9 recognized the Eugene Water and Electric Board for wetland mitigation at their 52-acre operations center in the West Eugene Wetland Conservation Planning Area.
The Roosevelt center project involved mitigating for wetland fill impacts on 10.4 acres related to the facility’s construction, and voluntarily enhancing another 3.5 acres of wetlands.
In presenting the Wetland Project Award, Secretary of State Kate Brown, a member of the Land Board, praised EWEB for restoring 14 acres of degraded wetlands, and including a "strong public component" to the project. EWEB incorporated a walking path with interpretive signs around the perimeter of the wetlands to offer viewing and learning opportunities for the public.
In addition, area youth have benefitted from the project which serves as a learning environment for high school students, youth corps members and UO landscape architecture majors.
"We’re honored to receive this award from the State Land Board," said EWEB project manager Debbie Spresser. "In addition to the positive impacts on the environment, we know our employees also benefit from having access to this at their worksite. As one staffer recently commented, 'It's a privilege to be able to watch nature unfold outside my window.' Where degraded wetlands once supported few natural species, habitat now exists for waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, amphibians and turtles," Spresser said.
EWEB worked with project designer Nancy Holzhauser of Environmental Solutions, LLC Larry Banks of Pivot Architecture, and Sara Geddes and Jeff Bond of Satre Associates.
The City of Eugene's project to restore the Delta Ponds was honored with a Stream Project Award. The recently completed work is the largest urban side-channel enhancement project to date in the Willamette Valley.
Treasurer Ted Wheeler, a member of the Land Board, congratulated the city on connecting 2.2 miles of side-channel habitat to the Willamette River, which now provides critical rearing habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon. "This is an impressive project that serves as a regional model for other organizations seeking to improve the environment along the Willamette," he said.
Gravel mining and major flood events had altered the character of the river, and resulted in the loss of side channels and backwater areas, important habitat for fish and wildlife species. The city and its numerous partners created 7 acres of riparian habitat and emergent wetlands; removed nearly 60 acres of invasive species; and planted 75,000 native trees and plants.
The project also incorporates trails and interpretive facilities for public enjoyment, including the 12-mile Ruth Bascom Riverbank bike and pedestrian system.
"We are very proud of this project and for the recognition given to the city for its work," said the City of Eugene's Natural Resources Manager Eric Wold. "This couldn't have been done without our partners, however - local nonprofits, government agencies and our many community volunteers. The City is particularly thankful to our federal partners, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NOAA, who made substantial funding and technical contributions that made the project possible."
The State Land Board consists of Governor John Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown and State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. The Department of State Lands 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.