Medford council to discuss Bear Creek restoration plans

A comprehensive plan to clean up the banks of Bear Creek from 10th Street to McAndrews Avenue will be the topic at the Medford City Council meeting on Thursday.

The council, which will study the restoration proposal at noon in City Hall, will look at a plan to rid the area of invasive species such as Armenian Blackberry, ivy, poison hemlock, thistle, purple loosestrife, reed canary grass, star thistle and puncture vine.

The Rogue Valley Council of Governments developed a restoration plan that recommends removal of invasive species by hand and through the use of herbicides.

Once the invasive plants are removed, native vegetation such as willows, dogwood, elderberry, ash and other species would be planted, many of which would require watering for a two- to three-year period to help them establish.

Maintenance will be required for three to five years to eradicate weeds.

Since the restoration takes place over a five-year period, the cost for the project has been broken down by RVCOG.

Vegetation removal and treatment could cost as much as $28,800. Design of the plantings could cost up to $5,500. The plants themselves could be as high as $72,000.

Erosion prevention could be up to $5,000.

Monitoring for a five-year period could run up to $30,000, and maintenance could be up to $50,000.

Public outreach could be as high as $19,660, and permits could cost as much as $2,500.

The project could be funded partially through grants. Volunteer work parties would also be organized for plantings and vegetation removal.

A number of businesses including Lithia Motors and the Inn at the Commons along the creek will contacted as part of the project.

Some areas along Bear Creek already have been restored. The east bank from 10th Street to Main Street have had invasives removed. The bank along Hawthorne Park has been cleared and planted with natives.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.

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