ODOT is partnering with the City of Medford and other organizations to restore the Bear Creek riparian area, much of which is overgrown with blackberry brambles.
The effort began last January when the City of Medford applied for Blue Sky Habitat funds from Pacific Power to restore a five-acre riparian area along Bear Creek, stretching from 10th Street to McAndrews Road near downtown Medford. The city received the funds in April and contracted with the Rogue Valley Council of Governments to be the project manager. At about the same time, ODOT began blackberry bramble removal work along the agency’s right of way, adjacent to the Bear Creek Greenway.
“We all had multiple efforts going on at the same time, but we weren’t coordinated,” said ODOT Assistant District Manager Jeremiah Griffin. “Thanks to the City of Medford and RVCOG, we were able to work together to share resources and avoid duplication.”
The Bear Creek Greenway projects will remove Himalayan blackberries and other invasive plants.
“When conditions are right this fall and winter, native trees and shrubs will be planted along the greenway and creek,” said RVCOG Natural Resource Project Manager Craig Tuss, “such as Oregon ash, black cottonwood as well as elderberry and dogwood.”
The teamwork includes the Oregon Stewardship, which has been working one-on-one with students for years to enhance the riparian area.
“It’s great to have everyone on the same page working together,” said Jim Hutchins of Oregon Stewardship.
This partnership is expected to enhance conditions along the Bear Creek Greenway for years to come.
“This teamwork benefits the Medford community,” said Griffin, “and makes better use of our resources.”
About the Bear Creek Greenway
For more than 30 years, Southern Oregon has worked to connect its communities with a Greenway corridor.
The Bear Creek Greenway is a 20-mile paved multi-use trail linking the cities of Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford and Central Point. The Greenway is continuous from the Ashland Dog Park to the Dean Creek Frontage Road, north of Central Point.
Soon it will connect to the Rogue River Greenway and follow the Rogue River to Gold Hill. When completed, the combined Rogue River Greenway trail and Bear Creek Greenway will extend over 50 miles and connect eight cities in Jackson and Josephine Counties.
Bear Creek Greenway Resources