“The water and wetlands at Fernhill are strategic for birds and animals in the region.” Rich VanBuskirk, Associate Professor, Pacific University
Wetlands And Wildlife
Floodplain connection: Reconnecting Fernhill to the Tualatin River is an important goal that will be achieved by creating another 30 acres of deeper water. Altogether, Fernhill will have about 90 acres of treatment wetlands with 60 acres of emergent wetlands, sub-surface filters and shallow wetlands. The unnatural shapes of Fernhill Lake, Cattail Marsh and Eagle Perch Pond will be softened, adding gently sloping shoreline and mudflats for better habitat and floodplain connection.
The birds: Fernhill is an oasis for migratory birds traveling the Pacific Flyway, a premier bird watching and photography destination in Oregon that is designated an Important Bird Area. In 2012, more than 200 bird species were counted here, from tiny hummingbirds to enormous white pelicans, rare solo birds, songbirds, and vast flocks of ducks and geese. It's easy to spot the bald eagle nest, great blue heron rookery and sentinals of white egrets, but not as easy to name the many shorebirds that are finding their way to the newly-formed shorelines and mudflats. (Photo of Greater Yellowlegs by Gary Witt.)
Avian Response to Habitat Restoration at Fernhill: The natural treatment wetlands at Fernhill were created with care to benefit birds that rely on this Important Bird Area, and this Audubon report proves that it's working!
Native plants: Key to the water quality treatment functions of natural treatment systems (NTS) is the capacity of native wetland plants to filter and absorb nutrients. Vast plantings of emergent and open water wetland species along with native trees and shrubs will add species and structural diversity. A greater diversity of native plants at Fernhill provides long-lasting benefits for aquatic invertebrates, pollinators, amphibians and reptiles, waterbirds, songbirds and raptors, and mammals.(Photo of Wapato by Jared Kinnear.)