Riparian Restoration in the Rogue Basin
Native species protect the stream and provide wildlife habitat.
Recruitment of large woody debris (LWD) as trees die and fall into streams provides stream structure and habitat for salmon.
Trees can filter runoff and remove pollutants prior to entering streams and rivers.

Bringing Back the Natives

RVCOG’s Natural Resources Department initiated a Riparian Restoration program in 2003.   The program started in the Bear Creek Watershed with local TMDL programs and focused on the main stem of Bear Creek and its tributaries (e.g., Lazy Creek).   The primary goals of the program were to control invasive species and to establish (or re-establish) native species historically found in the watershed.   Early partners in the program included the J. Herbert Stone Nursery (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management, O.S.U. Extension, the Bear Creek Watershed Education Partners, the City of Medford, and the Bear Creek Watershed Council.

The program has expanded into the Rogue Basin and now involves numerous partner organizations including municipalities, agencies, watershed groups, nurseries, and groups providing labor (e.g., Community Justice Crew).

Improving riparian corridors conditions by planting native species, including conifers, provides a number of benefits that contribute to healthy watersheds and local programs including the TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) program.  These benefits include providing shade resulting in cooler water temperatures, filtering of pollutants, stability for stream banks, habitat for wildlife and birds, invasives/exotic species control, and long term habitat benefits  to the stream  when the trees fall over and create  pools  and habitat for fish.

General guidance for the program including invasive species management strategies, plant recommendations, maintenance guidance, planting locations (maps), and planting prescriptions can be referenced from our Planting Plan Homepage.

Living Next to a Stream – Resources for Stream and Riverside Land Owners

Living along a stream often provides unique management challenges for landowners, especially in urban areas.   Healthy riparian areas provide a number of benefits for fish, aquatic life, people, and wildlife including protection from flooding, improving water quality, and providing habitat.  In many urban areas, streams are degraded causing significant bank erosion and loss of land, fences, and damage to utility lines.

What Can You Do?

Bear creek is home to several species of native fish and other animals.   These species require cold, clean water to survive.   Planting native trees and shrubs along streams keeps the hot summer sun from further increasing the temperature of the water, reduces bank erosion, filters out polluntants and provides ciritical wildlife habitat.   Please do your part and Take the Riparian Pledge.

There are many resources available for being Stream Smart and for for protecting or restoring riparian areas:

Stream Smart Web Page

Jackson County Rural Living Handbook

Jackson County – A Landowner’s Guide to Riparian Areas in Jackson County Oregon (Brochure)

Josephine County – A Landowner’s Guide to Riparian Areas in Jackson County Oregon (Brochure)

Managing Blackberries Along Riparian Areas

Plants List and Planting Guide

RVCOG Plant List

Fish-Friendly Home and Gardens Flyer

Septic Systems – How They Work and How to Keep Them Working

Managing Runoff for Landowners

Stormwater pollution occurs not only in areas close to waterbodies but also in areas far away.   Stormwater runoff in urban areas contributes a lot more than just water into storm drains, which flow unfiltered and directly into streams.   Sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, motor oil and animal feces often find their way into local waterbodies after a significant storm event.   Below is a list of practices urban residents can do to help prevent stormwater pollution.

Oregon Rain Garden Guide

Field Guide:   Maintaining Rain Gardens, Swales and Stormwater Planters

Native Plant Sources in Oregon

What You Can Do To Help

Keep Yard Waste Out of Stormwater

How to Be a Salmon Friendly Gardener

Urban Living Handbook – A Resource for Jackson County Living and Stewardship

Marin County Creek Care Guide

Planting and Maintaining Your Native Landscape

Designing Your Landscape

Nurseries that Provide Native Plants in or Near the Rogue Valley

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  How do I know what native species to plant?

A:  There are a number of local reference guides that contain information on what species to plant under what conditions.  The Stream and Wetland Enhancement Guide  is one example providing a comprehensive list of native species.   In addition, there are local guides including the Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley that contain lists of Garden-worthy Native Trees and Shrubs.

Q:  Where can I get plants and seeds locally and how do I plant?

A:  Plants and seeds are available through a number of local nurseries, online, and at commercials (e.g., the Grange Co-op).  A list of nurseries and seed vendors as well as how to plant can be found in the Stream and Wetland Enhancement Guide and in the 2010 Bear Creek and Rogue Basin Riparian Planting Plan.

Planting Project Examples:

The following projects are being implemented as part of local restoration programs to improve water quality conditions and . They are examples of work being done to return the natives to the watershed following the procedures outlined in the Riparian Planting Program.  They were completed with the help and support of numerous organizations, individuals, and agencies.


Medford Bear Creek Riparian Restoration Planting– 15 acres are being restored along both sides of the greenway between Jackson Street and McAndrews Road in Medford.

Swanson Creek Riparian Restoration Planting-   A 900 ft. riparian corridor is being restored along both sides of Swanson Creek along Hwy. 62 and Justice Rd.

U.S. Cellular Sports Park Restoration Planting-   15 acres are being restored along the greenway at U.S. Cellular Sports Park in Medford.