Success Stories

Bear Creek Restoration Initiative (BCRI)

Riparian restoration along Bear Creek and its tributaries is not new has been ongoing for several decades. In early 2019, the Rogue Valley Council of Governments convened a forum of interested organizations focused on restoring the Bear Creek riparian corridor as a unit by identifying a list of riparian restoration projects along Bear Creek and its tributaries. Through those discussions, the need for a meaningful dialogue to describe appropriate restoration actions along an urbanized stream became obvious across multiple sectors. We had to find common ground that provided a balance between a truly “wild” riparian area with abundant native vegetation and a “managed” riparian area that provides the wild components but accommodates public safety concerns such as fire and fuel reduction along with social concerns including the unsheltered population living along the Creek. The Bear Creek Restoration Initiative (BCRI) is a renewed effort that takes traditional restoration perspectives and adds a social and public safety component to the mix to address the issues facing Bear Creek and many of the Stream Smart Partners participate as part of the Initiative.

For more information on the Initiative.

Salmon Watch

The Salmon Watch Program was established in 1993 by Oregon Trout.  Locally, the program ran from approximately 1993-2008 with support from the Freshwater Trust, Bear Creek Watershed Education Partners, and the Jefferson Nature Center.  In spring 2014, after a 5 year hiatus, the Rogue Valley Council of Governments with support from the local communities in the Bear Creek Watershed as part of their Clean Water Act funding with grant funding from the Carpenter Foundation, Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District, and Meyer Memorial Trust were able to bring it back starting in the spring of 2104 and run it every fall (and some springs) through the present.

Most recent year (Fall 2022)

That’s a wrap! Another successful Salmon Watch season has ended.  Thanks to all of the students and volunteers who made this year great.  The program brought over 1,200 students to sites along the Rogue River, Bear Creek, and other streams.  We even managed to have a few firsts including a lamprey caught in the macro invertebrate session at TouVelle State Park.  Click on the image below for more details on the program.

Click here to visit our Salmon Watch page!

Regional Water Quality Monitoring Program (Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Monitoring - streams, storm drains, and the Rogue River.

In 1992, local communities in Bear Creek began a comprehensive monitoring program as part of their implementation actions under the Clean Water Act (CWA) . The long term goal of the CWA is to make all waters fishable and swimmable. The monitoring program is conducted by RVCOG and monitors streams and storm drains throughout the watershed. The data collected is used to monitor stream health, to evaluate long term trends, evaluate the impacts of implementation (improvement) efforts, and for education and outreach.  The program is unique collaborative effort and provides a robust set of data that shows changes over time in the Bear Creek system.

For more information on the program click here.

Stream Public Notices

During the summer months, Stream Smart partners as part of the Regional Monitoring Program publish information regarding the health of streams based on the sampling results. While ONLY ADVISORY, the notices provide information to the public regarding where streams are monitored and when sampling results exceed water quality standards.  The Stream Smart program is also working to increase awareness of the where monitoring is being conducted, what the data is showing, and where to get more information.

Community Clean-ups

Stream Smart partners provide funding, coordination, and support for clean-ups in the Bear Creek watershed and more recently for the Rogue Basin Clean-up as well.

Bear Creek

Partnership with Bear Creek Stewards and SOLVE.  Happens each year in April and September.

Rogue Basin

Occurs annually in May.

For more information, click here.

Jones Creek Planting

Partnership is a key component in implementing successful projects and we are lucky to be in an area that has a long history of collaboration and trust.  A recent example is in the successful completion of a project along Jones Creek, a tributary to the Rogue River in Josephine County.

A small area along the creek was recently cleared of blackberries and needed to be planted.  All local resources were exhausted when the project was presented to the Stream Smart team.  Through various partners, we were able to piece together the project to get project coordination time, materials, and labor donated to complete the project.

Project Coordination - Rogue Valley Council of Governments Natural Resources Department

Materials - Rogue River Watershed Council, The Freshwater Trust, the Applegate Partnership and Watershed Council

Labor - Middle Rogue Steelheaders

Technical Assistance - Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Volunteer Programs - Willow Staking and Trash Clean-up

Stream Smart partners collaborate to offer a number of different programs for community members to volunteer and help us protect and restore local creeks and rivers.