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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 corridor conditions by planting native species provides a number of benefits that contribute to healthy watersheds and local programs, such as the TMDL program. Planting native species produces the following benefits: increased shade and cooler water temperatures, pollutant filtration, stream bank stability, habitat for wildlife and birds, invasives/exotic species control, and long-term stream habitat once trees fall over (cold water refugia as pools are created).

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.

Information, Links, and Resources:

To see how trees help manage stormwater, please view the picture below or click on the picture to follow the link.


Life on the Edge: Improving Riparian Function Video (Links to YouTube)

Native Plant Lists:

Trees and Shrubs for Attracting Pollinators

Stream and Wetland Enhancement Guide (click on document for link)

Garden-Worthy Native Trees and Shrubs

North Mountain Parks’ Plants of the Rogue Valley

2010 Bear Creek and Rogue Basin Riparian Planting Plan

Water Resources’ Noxious Weed Handout

Water Conservation Tips

Native Tree Species

Rain Gardens – How to Design and Construct a Successful Professional Rain Garden

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

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, wildlife, and people, including providing habitat, improving water quality, and protection from flooding. In many urban areas, streams are degraded and can cause 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, filters out pollutants, reduces bank erosion, and provides critical wildlife habitat. Please do your part and Take the Riparian Pledge.

There are many resources available for being Stream Smart and 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

Josephine County – A Landowner’s Guide to Riparian Areas in Jackson County, Oregon

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 farther away. Stormwater runoff in urban areas contributes a lot more than just water, which flows 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

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

Noxious Weed Resources

United States Department of Agriculture – National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC)

Oregon Department of Agriculture – Oregon Noxious Weed Profiles

Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service – Oregon Integrated Pest Management Center (OIPMC)

University of California – Agriculture & Natural Resources – Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program

University of California – Cooperative Extension & Agricultural Experiment Station – Weed Research & Information Center

Invasive and Exotic Species of North America

Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbooks


Frequently Asked Questions

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

A: There are a number of local reference guides that contain information on which species to plant under certain conditions. The Stream and Wetland Enhancement Guide  is one example that provides 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 them?

A: Plants and seeds are available through a number of local nurseries, online, and at commercial stores (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. These 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.


Larson Creek Corridor Restoration and Enhancement

Peninger Fire Restoration Project

Riparian Restoration at Jackson County Expo Center and Peninger – Removal of dead hazard trees within the Peninger Fire area, planting of several hundred trees, shrubs, and pollinator plants, and maintenance of the planting area at Peninger and area south of the Expo Center Amphitheater.

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