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The Backyard Science group regularly features the Daily Bucket. Daily Buckets are a place for all Daily Kos participants to comment on the natural mysteries unfolding in our own backyards and favorite places.  Wierd weather, ecstatic birds, darting moths, lurking spiders, sinuous trees under a full moon, and everything else are appropriate topics.

Please provide a comment about your own area, whether it is your backyard or a favorite spot. Include, as close as you are comfortable, your general location. If you also post pretty pictures, and then buy a lottery ticket, you could win ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

I live west of Portland, Oregon in Washington County, not too far from Rock Creek. The Creek is usually about 10 feet wide and two feet deep.  Then the snow melted, and it rained awfully hard for two days. Dang, the Creek really looked cool yesterday.  It's rolling right through that hardwood forest.

When I started this diary a few days ago, I had read about the introduction of thousands of salmon smolts into Rock Creek decades ago.  I was worried whether Rock Creek would ever hold enough water to sustain a salmon run.  

But yesterday the Creek was a hundred yards wide and the water depth gauge claimed it was 14 feet deep. A whale could practically swim up Rock Creek right now.  The Creek is almost overtopping that bridge.

I had to walk the long way around for my next pictures. Rock Creek had flooded out a downstream foot bridge into Bethany Park where the Park Department diverts part of Rock Creek into a 40-acre pond for the ducks and nutria.

In the foreground is the extra-hundred-yard-width that Rock Creek boasts at this moment, while Bethany Lake is behind it.  As you see, this is also adjacent to Power Line Park.

Bethany Lake supports lots of critters, including these ducks, and nutria (not shown).  I've also seen eagles, hawks, and geese and lots of birds here.  The red winged blackbirds are especially vocal right now.

People feed these ducks bread, so they come running when I get the camera out, in sharp contrast with ducks everywhere else.  I asked the non-mallard ducks to fly over my house so I can include them in my backyard bird count, but they sneered and asked for bread up front.  

Downstream from Bethany Park, Rock Creek flows through a golf course.  Today, there's more water than turf on this course. That sheet of water is moving towards where I was standing, and flooded the road a couple of hours later.

Here's a link to the local news footage of the flooded road, starting at the 1:05 mark,  from a few hours after my pictures.

The following chart shows how every creek in the County is hemmed in by the Coastal range to the west, and Portland's West Hills (aka the Tualatins), which form a crescent of 1000-foot-high, old volcano cinder cones to the north and east. Rock Creek is the turquoise colored drainage in the upper left center of this map.

These creeks generally must flow towards the tepid Tualatin River in the southeast corner of the County, even though the Ocean and Columbia River are to the West and Northeast.  The Columbia's Multnomah Channel is the westernmost of the large blue rivers in the upper right hand corner, and the mainsteam of the Columbia is further east, with the Willamette merging into the Columbia to the south, as they flow together to the north of this map.

Here's a map more focused on Rock Creek, which rises high in the Tualatins in the upper left hand corner of the following map's brown blob.  The Creek had been gathering stormwater for about 12 miles and fallen about 400 feet before it reached the point where I was taking pictures. The picture of the high water under the bridge is where Rock Creek goes under West Union Road, Bethany Park is near the red numeral 3, and the flooded golf course is just north of  Sunset Highway 26.

I will be contacting the local "Friends of Rock Creek" to support their stream restoration efforts.  They'll probably start me out on the ivy and blackberry pulling patrol for awhile.  I will diary more on this subject in the coming months, about past salmon stocking efforts, recent studies of nearby streams, and other topics, as my evening glass of absinthe suggests.

Now it's your turn.

"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!

After a hiatus of over 1 1/2 years, Meteor Blades has revived his excellent series.  As MB explained, this weekly diary is a "round-up with excerpts and links... of the hard work so many Kossacks put into bringing matters of environmental concern to the community... I'll be starting out with some commentary of my own on an issue related to the environment, a word I take in its broadest meaning."

"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page.  Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.

1:51 PM PT: 1:49 PST

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:36 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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