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Grants Will Enhance Luckiamute

MONMOUTH -- The Luckiamute Watershed Council has received three major grants that will support improvements in the region over the next 10 years.

MONMOUTH -- The Luckiamute Watershed Council has received three major grants that will support improvements in the region over the next 10 years.

More than $3 million will be used to pay for projects and people to complete them in two areas: the upper Luckiamute River area including Hoskins, Kings Valley and Pedee, and the lower Luckiamute River at the confluence of the Willamette in the Luckiamute State Natural Area.

Funds for the two areas of the watershed come from the Meyer Memorial Trust and Bonneville Environmental Foundation, both nonprofit organizations, and from Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, a state agency funded with lottery proceeds.

Many other agencies, organizations and landowners are working in partnership with the council to help plan for and implement these improvements.

Earlier this year, the Luckiamute Watershed Council was designated one of seven Model Watersheds in the Willamette Valley, which guarantees a high level of funding and technical support. The council, established in 2000, is a volunteer group that conducts improvement projects in Polk and Benton counties including Ash Creek, American Bottom and the Luckiamute River system between Dallas and Adair Village west of the Coast Range. The council's members include scientists, government representatives, conservation experts, commercial landowners, business owners and other farmers. All projects are voluntary.

KINGS VALLEY

The council began its first Model Watershed project this month to control knotweed along about 19 miles of the Luckiamute River in the Hoskins and Kings Valley areas.

The council's new program manager, Peter Guillozet, contracted sprayers to conduct a one-day pilot project on the uppermost area, all in Polk County along Wildwood Road. Only those landowners who had agreed to allow spraying on their properties were included in this year's project.

Knotweed, a fast-spreading and tall weed that creates erosion and crowds out native plants, is difficult to control, Guillozet said. But if the weeds can be replaced quickly with taller native shrubs and plants, the knotweed can be shaded out.

"The council is delighted to launch these two ambitious projects in the watershed which will restore native vegetation along the banks of the Upper Luckiamute in Kings Valley. It is wonderful to see so many neighbors join in this effort to improve their property," said Nicole Duplaix, council coordinator.

The council has slightly more than a $1 million budget to control knotweed over the next six years and replace it with native plants. Other projects are also planned, such as log placements to create habitat for fish and other wildlife.

Next summer, if the pilot project goes well, the council will continue controlling knotweed on lands where owners are participating in this cooperative effort.

Those who live along the river who have not yet joined the project are encouraged to call Wendy Sparks, outreach coordinator for the council, to find out how they can participate in this community project.

LUCKIAMUTE STATE NATURAL AREA

The Luckiamute Watershed Council has an ongoing agreement with the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, OWEB and Meyer Memorial Trust to begin restoration work on the Luckiamute State Natural Area, the two tracts of land south of Buena Vista.

For the first two years, the council will hire contractors to spray and remove weeds and blackberries in the North Tract of the park. The council's work will also include educational tours and other projects that include public participation, especially residents and users of the natural area.

The area is open to hiking, hunting and boating, but it is also home to sensitive species, including pond turtles and birds. Future events at the natural area will inform and inspire participants to use and protect the area.

"The Luckiamute State Natural Area covers nearly 1,000 acres along the Willamette. Our aim is to improve the habitat for the local wildlife and reintroduce native plants. This exciting project will take years of effort but will make the park a top destination for nature lovers in the area," Duplaix said.

LWC Celebration

What:

Luckiamute Watershed Council annual dinner celebration.

When:

Friday, Dec. 3, 6 p.m.

Where:

Adair Village Clubhouse, 6097 NE Ebony Lane, Adair Vilage (between Monmouth and Corvallis, just off Highway 99W).

Who:

The public and partners of the Luckiamute Watershed Council.

Of note:

The celebration will include dinner, catered by Valley Catering, and entertainment, donated by old-timey bluegrass band, Homegrown, whose members include Steve Smith, Bill Nix and David Anderson.

Cost:

$20.

For more information:

RSVP by leaving a message at 503-838-8804 or sending an e-mail to wendy@luckiamutelwc.org.

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