Camp Creek Planting

Lisa Foster


Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

With 10,000 acres of undulating terrain, secluded canyons and spectacular vantages of the John Day Country, Spring Basin is magnificent to explore This public treasure, forever protected as Wilderness, offers a profusion of desert wildflowers in the spring and year-round recreational opportunities for hikers, horseback

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Stewardship Pronghorn Fence

Stewardship Pronghorn Fence

Organizer: Lisa Foster

Start Date: 10/14/2019

End Date: 10/17/2019

Region: John Day River Basin

Difficulty Rating: 3 out of 5

Maximum Group Size: 15 participants

About the place

Over a decade ago, ONDA took legal action to support fish habitat in Malheur National Forest.  We are now in our fourth year of helping the forest to implement a variety of ambitious, multi-year projects restoring key fish habitat on headwater streams.

Camp Creek is a tributary of the Middle Fork of the John Day River and is a priority watershed for Mid-Columbia Steelhead Recovery. The Malheur National Forest has completed over 15 culvert replacements for fish passage in the watershed and several aquatic restoration projects since 2011, including a 2016 Camp Creek headwaters project with which ONDA was involved. The last two essential aquatic restoration projects within the watershed are scheduled to be completed in 2019-2020. Legacy berms (railroad grades) will be removed in 2019 along three stream sections of Camp Creek, effectively connecting over 65 acres of floodplain and about five miles of abandoned side channel. These floodplains lack variety in riparian hardwoods such as cottonwood and willows so a large planting effort will be required over the next two years. ONDA volunteers will be responsible for planting riparian trees and shrubs that were harvested from the Clarno Nursery.

If all goes according to plan, over time the project area will become a shaded stream with cool water that will encourage native fish species and discourage non-native fish species. Woody species will be plentiful enough to provide a useful source of food for deer, elk and beaver.

About the stewardship work

Volunteers will work with ONDA and Malheur National Forest staff to conduct two days of riparian planting along Camp Creek, planting a variety of species.

We typically head to the work site at 8 a.m. and stop work by 4 p.m. in order to leave time in the afternoon to clean-up, relax, and cook a well-deserved dinner. No previous planting experience is needed to attend this trip. ONDA and Forest Service staff will provide all instruction and necessary tools to do the job. All that is required is a love of the high desert, a big smile and a willingness to learn.

Trip timeline

  • Monday, October 14 (5-7 p.m.): Volunteers should plan to arrive in the evening with enough time to set up, meet others at camp, and spend some time talking about the weekend ahead.
  • Tuesday, October 15: Our first of two work days. We will meet with Forest Service staff at 8 a.m. After a brief safety talk and a discussion of the restoration efforts, we will begin planting. Plan to be away from camp from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 16: Our second day of work planting along Camp Creek. Plan to be away from camp from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 17: Our relaxation day. After breakfast and coffee, volunteers can pack up and head home.


We will be car camping at a primitive campsite near our project area along Camp Creek. There will be plenty of space to spread out and lots of trees for shade. ONDA will bring extra group camping supplies such as tables, chairs, a porta-potty, and wash bins for dishes. We will also have extra potable water, but recommend each participant brings some as well. Since camp is at the vehicles you will be able to have all the amenities you can fit in your car. Further details describing camp and driving directions will be provided to participants in the information e-mail three weeks before the trip.


Level 3

Participants will be bending down, carrying plants and dirt, as well as digging holes into rocky soils. Everyone can find a task that works best for them and work at a comfortable pace with frequent breaks.

Participant responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own food, camping gear as well as transportation to and from the trip. Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots are required for this trip. Waders and/or rain boots are not required but can be nice for working in and near the creek. Volunteers should be prepared to be away from camp all day each of the work days. A more complete packing list will be sent out three weeks before the trip starts.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide tools for the work, work gloves, and sunscreen. We will bring some group camping equipment (shade tent, tables for cooking, wash bins for kitchen cleanup, a privy), some potable water, expert leadership, and we can talk about some of the important restoration projects within the John Day River Basin.


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip. Check the box next to each trip you would like to attend. You only need to fill this form out once per year.

 Apply Now

What happens next?

You will receive a confirmation email within 10 working days of submitting your form. The confirmation email will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “waitlist.”

Six weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the waitlist.

Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, car-pooling options, and additional information in an email sent by the trip leader

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.