Restoration builds haven for salmon.
Byline: Winston Ross The Register-Guard
FLORENCE - In autumn, when broad maple leaves spin down toward Oregon's gurgling Gurgling is a characteristic sound made by unstable two-phase fluid flow, for example, as liquid is poured from a bottle, or during gargling. creeks and rivers, old, fat salmon come back from the Pacific Ocean to spawn.
This journey is a precarious one, especially for coho salmon Coho salmon
oncorhynchuskisutch. . Despite a dramatic rebound in their numbers in recent years, the Years, The
the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]
See : Time fish remain on the Endangered Species endangered species, any plant or animal species whose ability to survive and reproduce has been jeopardized by human activities. In 1999 the U.S. government, in accordance with the U.S. Act's threatened list - in part, because there are too few places for them to lay their eggs.
That's why Rolfe Hagen decided to step in and help. He and his wife, Janet, own Thyme Garden, an herb company a few miles east of Alsea. It's a serene, narrow 80-acre parcel filled with moss-coated alder and sword ferns.
The farmer who owned this land 60 years ago probably diverted the natural path of Ernst Creek, pushing it toward the deeper Crooked Creek Crooked Creek may refer to:
Now, after three years of paperwork and hard work, Hagen and state government partners have brought new life to the dry creek Dry Creek may refer to:
"It's perfect for coho coho
or silver salmon
Species (Oncorhynchus kisutch) of salmon prized for food and sport that ranges from the Bering Sea to Japan and the Salinas River of Monterey Bay, Cal. It weighs about 10 lbs (4. to spawn in," says Hagen. "If we get some rain, there'll be 30-pound fish up here."
Bang for the buck
Private-public partnerships to restore salmon habitat are nothing new. Since 1995, private landowners have helped improve at least 1,200 miles of spawning grounds.
What's unique about Hagen's project is how easy it was to accomplish.
Most improvements to spawning grounds are either minor adjustments - placing boulders and logs in streams to create slack water slack water
1. A period of cessation in the strong flow of a current of water, especially at high or low tide.
2. An area in a sea or river unaffected by currents; still water.
Noun 1. where fish can rest and lay eggs; or planting trees along banks for protection from harsh sunlight. Or, they're massive undertakings - digging up an entire channel and creating a new habitat from scratch.
At Thyme Garden, nature had already done most of the heavy lifting. All Hagen had to do was create a berm berm: see beach. to divert Ernst Creek from its path to Crooked Creek, and then remove the berm that blocked its original route.
"You don't often get an opportunity like (restoring a historical stream)," said Tony Stein Corporal Tony Stein (1921-1945) was a United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in repeated singlehanded assaults against the enemy and outstanding valor in aiding wounded Marines during the initial assault on Iwo Jima on 19 , a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is an agency of the government of the U.S. state of Oregon responsible for programs protecting Oregon fish and wildlife resources and their habitats. , which participated in the project. "This gained about a half-mile of the river channel that was bone dry."
The Thyme Garden endeavor, funded with a $10,000 grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, is one of only five private landowner projects ever undertaken to restore a historical streambed streambed
or stream channel
Any long, narrow, sloping depression on land that had been shaped by flowing water. Streambeds can range in width from a few feet for a brook to several thousand feet for the largest rivers. .
"That's a huge bang for your minor investment," said Steve Trask, a fish biologist with the private biological consultant Bio-Surveys of Alsea.
The idea first came to Hagen three years ago. Trask had been doing "snorkel snorkel, tube through which a submarine or diver can draw air while underwater. When in use, the top of the snorkel tube extends above the water surface into the air. surveys" in area creeks, counting fish and identifying good spots for habitat restoration.
What Trask liked about the Ernst Creek site was its gentle 2 percent grade, its location in the floodplain floodplain, level land along the course of a river formed by the deposition of sediment during periodic floods. Floodplains contain such features as levees, backswamps, delta plains, and oxbow lakes. and that it had been a creek in the past. When he approached the Hagens about restoring the creek, they jumped at the chance, joining a growing segment of landowners interested in improving the salmon habitat on their properties.
"One neighbor sees what's been going on in the watershed of his neighbor's property," Trask said. "They see it doesn't look so bad after all. It isn't the government trying to take over your land - which is a lot of people's original fear."
They also see how such projects can benefit their property. Riparian riparian adj. referring to the banks of a river or stream. (See: riparian rights) improvements can stabilize stream banks, retaining shade and soil along creeks and rivers. But the bigger goal is maintaining the entire watershed, Trask said, which makes it crucial that public and private landowners work together.
"What we're trending towards now is working on fewer projects that are much larger," he said.
Forging a trail
Volunteers completed an interpretive trail Nov. 1 so visitors can see the creek bed, which is only beginning to fill with water.
The Hagens hope visitors will become inspired to initiate similar projects on their own properties. "We consider ourselves stewards of the land," said Janet Hagen. "So if there's something to do to make things better, we wanted to do it."
As he took a break from trail building last week, volunteer Jim Merrigan said he was happy to be involved in the project.
"It's nice to give a little bit back," said Jim Merrigan, a friend who volunteered to help clear the trail. "Maybe it keeps us from having to just tell the story to our grandkids, about watching salmon spawn."
Winston Ross can be reached at 902-9030 or email@example.com.
Landowner interest in habitat improvement projects - such as tree planting, invasive species removal and fence building- has varied since 1995, when the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board began keeping track of such projects.
1995: 36 projects, 38 miles of improved habitat
1996: 80 projects, 84 miles
1997: 95 projects, 195 miles
1998: 67 projects, 139 miles
1999: 96 projects, 124 miles
2000: 99 projects, 153 miles
2001: 104 projects, 160 miles
2002: 62 projects, 66 miles
Some property owners take on in-stream projects, such as placing logs and boulders into streams:
1995: 17 projects, 9 miles of improved habitat
1996: 36 projects, 8 miles
1997: 42 projects, 38 miles
1998: 46 projects, 35 miles
1999: 37 projects, 19 miles
2000: 31 projects, 18 miles
2001: 18 projects, 65 miles
2002: 23 projects, 9.5 miles
Janet and Rolfe Hagen help each other over a berm they constructed to restore an old creek bed on their property that will add critical salmon habitat to Ernst Creek near Alsea. The project is an example of the growing ease of public-private partnerships to help the fish.