Saturday, May 23, 2009

TVTU unleashes mighty effort to restore Necanicum River and its tributaries

Behold Thompson Creek--one of the first tributaries of the Necanicum where TVTU has focused their muscle to restore and improve riparian habitat as part of a much larger effort to make things more hospitable for wild salmon and trout.

If you haven't heard, a couple of years ago the Tualatin Valley Chapter adopted the Necanicum River as its "home water" restoration project, working with partners such as the North Coast Land Conservancy, ODFW, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service--as well as some very interested local private landowners. Many thousands of dollars and man hours will go into this ongoing project over the coming years, and our chapter will continue to enlist volunteers to help throughout the coming summer and fall on a number of weekend project work days.

Much of the work so far has involved clearing invasive, non-native vegetation and replacing culverts, but we're also going to be reclaiming stream bed, enhancing spawning and rearing habitat, and monitoring water temperatures and fish counts. It's definitely not all battle with blackberry brambles and knotweed.

But there is something deeply satisfying about ridding the land of this pox, as evidenced here by Emily Nuchols, a staffer from Save Our Wild Salmon.
And here's a pile of what TU's Western Regional Director, Alan Moore, calls wood porn--the stuff that will soon add instream structure and refuge for happier fish.
This is at the Neitzel farm. Mrs Neitzel (86) still lives here, and is thrilled about this project. And here's more wood, and a wider view of the Neitzel field, the site of the upcoming BIG 23-acre off-channel wetland complex restoration headed by Doug Ray.

Alan Moore further commented: "TU is now an official partner in this project, which is set to break ground this summer. Most of the large wood staged at the site (much of which was contributed by TU) will be placed in the restored historic channel once it is completed. From this wood pile to roughly the treeline you see in the background (that's the mainstem Necanicum) is where the historic meander used to be before it was cleared and filled for farming. While the channel will be watered all year by groundwater percolating up from below, also creating a gentle flow toward the river, the wetland will also connect to the mainstem during higher flows allowing passage of juveniles who overwinter in the wetland, getting fat and happy from the nutrients provided by the wood and native veg, and hiding from predators amongst all the cover."

Already our efforts are paying off. If you look closely at the photo below of previous wetland restoration done by Doug Ray on Thompson Creek, you can see clear, cold water, healthy aquatic vegetation and a half dozen juvenile coho. That's what it's all about.