Fernhill Wetlands Improvement and Water Reuse Project - 6405

This project is to enhance Fernhill Wetlands and to improve water quality through the use of a natural treatment system or wetlands to cool the water and remove nutrients. The project is planned to occur in four phases beginning with the introduction of reuse water from the Rock Creek Facility into newly-constructed treatment wetlands.
 
Later phases include enhancement of the existing ponds, construction of subsurface treatment filter beds with leaf compost or peat filter media, treatment of effluent from the Forest Grove Wastewater Treatment Facility and agricultural reuse. The project will be implemented over several years to accommodate permitting, construction, migratory bird life cycles, funding, etc.
 
The project implements many elements of the 2008 Forest Grove/Fernhill Wetlands Master Plan on 748 acres in Forest Grove owned by Clean Water Services and known as “Fernhill Wetlands.” The area is managed with the City of Forest Grove which maintains the parking lot, trails and benches, and will construct a restroom and picnic shelter near the parking area in the Spring of 2012. Fernhill Wetlands Council plans to construct a learning center at the site for research and outdoor learning for Pacific University and other students. Clean Water Services’ operations in the area include the recently upgraded Forest Grove Wastewater Treatment Facility, the Stream Operations Center, the Materials Handling Yard, oversight of contract farming on much of the site, enhancement of existing wetlands, and general site maintenance and management.
 
Fernhill Wetlands is a prized community asset with tremendous potential for innovation, education, recreation, and ecological uplift and this project will benefit water quality, habitat, access and enjoyment of the area. Stakeholder engagement, partnerships and collaboration are integral to this project.
 
Learn more.
 
"Ardent birders from far and near continue to appreciate Fernhill for its diversity of species and seasonal rarities. Yet Fernhill also has become a destination for people of all ages who come here mainly for casual exercise, in a setting of intrinsic wonder. No bird books or binoculars for most of these folks: just legs that need moving, lungs that need filling, and bodies and minds that find rejuvenation at Fernhill for reasons they may not, nor need not, necessarily know. The effect, either way, is the same. To the west, across the Gales Creek floodplain, rise the first, sharp, carpeted ridges of the rain-snagging Pacific Coast Range—reminders of why the erstwhile sleepy Tualatin River sometimes surges far beyond its banks. To the south rests a narrow valley through which the Upper Tualatin runs with relative haste from its “source” at Scoggins Reservoir to Fernhill and beyond. And to the east stands Mt. Hood—all of it—which is why I like to begin my walks in that direction, preferably on a bright autumn day in mid-afternoon’s warming golden glow."
 
By Eric Brattain, President, Fernhill Wetlands Council
This excerpt from an essay published in Wild in the City, Exploring The Intertwine, Mike Houck and M J Cody, Editors, 2011 (OSU Press and Audubon Society of Portland) is reprinted with permission.

Contact Information

John Dummer, Project Manager, (503) 681-4448 or dummerj@cleanwaterservices.org
 
Sheri Wantland, Public Involvement Coordinator, (503) 681-5111 or wantlands@cleanwaterservices.org
Directions to Fernhill Take Highway 47 south out of Forest Grove. Turn left onto Fern Hill Road and continue a quarter mile to the free parking lot on the left. There is a rest room and picnic shelter.

Updates

Proposed Schedule
 
Phase 1A, 2012
Conduct a detailed topographic site survey, construct a new treatment wetland and water feature east of the treatment facility, and construct improvements to deliver reuse water from the Rock Creek Facility to the new constructed wetlands.  Establish a ground water monitoring program. Launch a project website. 
 
Phase 1, 2013
Improve habitat and water quality of existing ponds by reshaping and planting. Continue water quality monitoring.
 
Phase 2, 2014
Construct subsurface treatment filter bed.  Pending permit application update, introduce effluent from Forest Grove into the newly constructed treatment wetlands. Continue water quality monitoring.
 
Phase 3, 2015 and 2016
Commence agricultural irrigation at agronomic rates with reuse water on the east side of the site. Pending results of monitoring and update of water reuse plan, commence higher rate of agricultural application of reuse water. Pending wetland function evaluation and update of reuse plan, apply reuse water to Barney mitigation site. Continue water quality monitoring program.
 
Phase 4, 2017
Commence agricultural irrigation with reuse water on the west side of Fernhill Road.

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