Minto-Brown Island Park Floodplain Restoration

Minto-Brown Post-Construction October 2013

Minto-Brown Island Park is the largest park in the Salem, Oregon, park system. The park covers 1,205 acres, encompassing the Willamette River, Oxbow and Willamette Sloughs, several classes of wetlands, riparian forests, mixed forests, prairies/savanna, former orchards, and fallow agricultural fields. The City of Salem partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to protect the Willamette River floodplain, improve water quality, and restore native habitats on approximately 196 acres.

ESA led the restoration design including a series of public meetings to communicate our findings and gather public feedback for proposed habitat types compatible with park uses. We integrated historical, scientific, and ecological data into display panels that effectively resolved challenging differences of opinion about ecological solutions and recreational opportunities. Using feedback from the meetings, we developed large-scale planting plans that called for the installation of over 60,000 trees and shrubs, 30,000 herbs and bulbs, and the application of six custom seed mixes.

After completing the restoration design, ESA provided bidding services and construction observation. We worked closely with NRCS, the City of Salem, and the contractor to respond to questions and engage in an adaptive management approach by responding to changing plant material availability, and unfolding site conditions. Following project construction, we led site tours for stakeholders to observe the establishment of floodplain vegetation.

The restoration was substantially completed in 2011, and plant establishment at Minto-Brown has been impressive. This restoration is on track to be one of the largest and most successful floodplain restoration projects in the Willamette Valley.

Specialized Services

  • Channel and floodplain restoration design
  • General management plans
  • Hydraulic scour analysis
  • Native plant revegetation
  • Park and land management plans
  • Permitting assistance

Related images

Minto-Brown May 2012
Minto-Brown Spring 2013