The North Santiam Watershed Council has selected Stout Creek as a priority sub-basin for restoration and enhancement. Stout Creek is an important tributary of the North Santiam River, entering the mainstem just above the town of Stayton and above the Geren Island Water Treatment Facility, where the City of Salem gets all of its drinking water. Thus, the input from Stout Creek helps to provide clean drinking water for City of Salem residents. Approximately 11 square miles of land, primarily rural residential and commercial forestry, make up the land area that drains into Stout Creek.
In 2009, Stout Creek was selected to be a part of the Willamette Model Watershed Program, a regional program designed to improve watershed health. Since 2009, 20 landowners have partnered with the Council to treat invasive Japanese Knotweed along the creek and an additional 8 landowners have partnered with the Council to restore approximately 30 riparian acres of native vegetation on Stout Creek. Restoration in Stout Creek has included clearing of invasive species, planting of native trees and shrubs, and a robust maintenance system to ensure that plants can be “free to grow.” Through continued maintenance, the Council hopes to create a mature riparian buffer of native trees and shrubs that can provide shade and habitat for fish and other wildlife. Root systems of native plant species also provide some stability to streambanks and filter water entering the system through the subsurface.
Restoration and conservation efforts along the Stout Creek tributary to the North Santiam River are part of a larger regional initiative to improve water quality. Restoration efforts in Stout Creek are ongoing. The North Santiam Watershed Councils hopes to continue to partner with landowners in the Stout Creek watershed on restoration projects.
Watershed Quick Facts
Size of land area that drains into Stout Creek — 11.6 square miles
Length of Stout Creek — 8.9 miles
Elevation range in Stout Creek — 561 ft ‑3297 ft
Land use in the Stout Creek watershed — Land uses on Stout include commercial forestry, forestry managed for wildlife, rangeland, and predominately rural residential in the lower two miles.