Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas for Coho Again

Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited is again collecting used Christmas trees to use in Coho Salmon Habitat enhancement on the Necanicum River system. This year we will have two drop sites. One will be at The Royal Treatment fly shop in West Linn, and the other will be at Northwest Flyfishing Outfitters in Northeast Portland. See  flyers below. These shops have graciously allowed us to use their site for our efforts and deserve a warm thank you from all of us. 

We will be renting trailers from U-Haul to have at the sites and are planning to take the collected trees to the Coast weekly. We need volunteers to staff these sites on Saturdays. The sites will be open from 9 AM to 4 PM, Saturday, January 5, 12, and 19. Plan on a two hour shift. It was pretty fun last year and if there is no tree activity, well, you're right next to a flyshop!

If anyone has a desire to be a "trailer wrangler" for a weekend, (pick up the trailer, take it to the drop site and the coast and return it), that can be arranged!  We will be asking for a $10.00 donation and hope to collect enough to cover trailer rental and gas for drivers. 

We will also be taking trees from Mckenzie Farms that didn't sell during the season. Mckenzie Farms is one of the largest Christmas Tree growers in Oregon and they expect 1000 to 2000 trees will be available. We are planning on renting a large trailer to make that haul but haven't worked the details out yet. If anyone has any ideas on cheap transportation we would like to hear them. I'll let you know if we need volunteers to help load these trees. Last year Mckenzie Farms staff loaded our trucks! Thanks Mckenzie Farms.

Let me know the day(s) and hours you can help out. Also, please feel free to pass this info along to anyone interested.

Michael Ellis

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wet and Rewarding

By Jeff Price

TVTU members Don Kaster, Mike Coddington, Jeff Price and Derek Yost [pictured L-R] persevered through recent weekend coastal rains to help about 12 other intrepid souls from the North Coast Land Conservancy at the recent habitat restoration project at Thompson Creek outside Seaside. Donning rain gear and mucking boots the group waded out into the Stanley Lake tidal flat to establish native sedge grasses and plant willow shoots. The purpose of the project is to rid the areas of non-native growth, provide/expand smolt rearing habitat, and encourage beaver use to create back channel habitat.

Derek and Jeff met in Hillsboro to carpool to Seaside – unfortunately, through a change of Don’s plans, he was missed [apologies Don!] but was dedicated enough to continue his journey solo to assist with the Project. Mike resides in Seaside and met them at the site. Weather was not a deterrent for the group who spent around 4 hours placing sedge grasses in pre-drilled holes in the marsh. It is a good thing these native plants appreciate moist soil because that is certainly what they got! When the grass pile ran out we all rallied around a pile of about 1000 willow shoots – some folks pegged the ground while other followed behind placing the shoots in the holes and covering them up. The willows are hardy enough to establish themselves as long as the placed shoots are cut fresh. After perhaps 750 willows had been placed everyone broke for lunch and the leaders decided we needed to leave some work for a scheduled afternoon crew of school kids. So as the bus rolled in the morning went on our ways with a hearty thank you.

Relative to other Oregon winter activities this was on par with many – be prepared with appropriate clothes and all is good [after all - if we didn’t do it in the rain when would we do it in Oregon?]. The added benefit was being able to play in the mud for a few hours to benefit our coastal fish habitat! After a quick bite we toured the Thompson Creek work area and looked in on the previous blackberry and willow efforts there – all appeared in place with the beavers maintaining and enlarging their dam. The blackberries have been held at bay in the areas previously cleared at TVTU projects past – so extra kudos to that hardy group.

Not the easiest work to be had but rewarding by all accounts – and it goes more smoothly and quickly with more participants! Additionally, meeting new people with similar interests is always nice. If you wish to be a part of a restoration project in the future and want to volunteer your time please contact Michael at to be placed on the mailing list - as Derek stated “everyone’s fish karma could use a boost now and again!”. Thanks again to all who helped on November 17. Hope to see you at a project soon!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Upcoming volunteer opporunities

We have several work parties planned for this Fall. The first will be Saturday, October 13th. We will be helping with the construction of the new Off Channel Wetland being added to the existing complex at the Thompson property on the Necanicum. We will be gathering Burreed wilding plugs, cutting bulrush thatch and helping to limb up conifers for placement in the complex. Bring waders,Gloves, Lunch and rain gear. This is a project that is being funded in part with TVTU dollars so come help out and see what we are spending our money on!
(see post below)

For carpooling, we will meet at the Imbrie road Fred Meyer, (22075 NW Imbrie Dr., Hillsboro, OR.), by the can return station at 8 AM. We will leave for the project at 8:15 AM. We can meet up at Klootchy Creek Park around 9:30 and go to Herb's from there. 

Our next work party will be Saturday, November 17th. We will be working at the North Coast Land Conservancies Thompson Creek property preparing for new beaver dams. For carpooling, we will meet at the Imbrie road Fred Meyer, (22075 NW Imbrie Dr., Hillsboro, OR.), by the can return station at 8 AM. We will leave for the project at 8:15 AM. We can meet up at Klootchy Creek Park around 9:30 and go to Thompson creek form there. Bring waders,Gloves, Lunch and rain gear.

Our final project for the year (actually our first of the new year) is an expanded tree collection effort. This year we have two sites to collect trees at. One is Northwest Flyfishing Outfitters at 10910 NE Halsey. The second is Royal Treatment Fly Fishing at 21570 Willamette Dr. in West Linn, Oregon.
We will be collecting trees on January 5th, 12th, and 19th, from 9 AM til 4 PM. We are looking for volunteers to take a shift of 2 to 3 hours each day. This was a pretty fun project last year and we all need an excuse to hang around a fly shop anyway, right? Let me know what days and hours you would like to come and help out.

Looking ahead to next Spring, We will be involved in placing all the trees we will collect. We intend to put more trees in more areas this time and will need more help to do that. I'll let you know when I have more info.

Be sure to let me know if you are interested in attending any of these fine events at

Thanks for all your help.


Michael Ellis
Conservation Director
Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Progress report on the Thompson off channel wetland project

 Photos and text by Douglas Ray

August 23rd, 2012:

Please find attached a number of photos from today.

Herb is now in his OCWC “Yoda mode “where he more or less levitates and is in deep zen mode while digging, digging, digging and more digging! Kind of a habitat restoration karma aura field where nothing else matters to him except creating the highest function salmonid habitat possible!
It is accurate to say that with him thinking about this for multiple years and using all he/we have learned with the other 2 OCWC he has there ( this as you know has the ultimate goal to expand improve and connect the two not separated OCWC habitats) and Neitzel in the logistics/ sequencing for construction to maximize efficiencies and make the most diverse highest function habitat humanly possible.

 The proximity of the laminar ground water was as close or closer than I had expected, for those who came down for the Course woody material mass placement and walked the proposed expansion site on the tour.

We have significant lateral ground water flow having ONLY removed the upper silts and alluvial cobble to the now as you see in the attached photos the grade of pure alluvial cobble rocks and wood that Herb can now have the excavator walk and sit on without generating turbidity  then begin to excavate a diversity of depths, slopes, contours, and terraces to completely max out the potential micro elevations and establish the very best balance of deep to medium to shallow aquatic habitat depths to help separate by space and depth fry and presmolts in the late spring when there is predation interactions, and allow the greatest possible diversity of elevations for aquatic emergent algae and bio film assemblages for primary production.
Diversity does matter fry and parr use shallow habitats presmolts as they mature and prepare to leave for the ocean concentrate in the deepest areas ( that makes sense after all they are preparing to live in the ocean!) This project provides for all stages of fresh water life history requirements and considers predation interactions between age classes in time and space.

Thank you again for the generous support to provide funding for the diesel, we just today pumped in another 81 gallons of fuel that gives Herb 3 long days of excavating and some for the dump truck as well.
We have immediate need for a restoration work party to collect nearby bulrush seed heads and thatch to use as Best management practices erosion control and to initiate the fringing wetland cells throughout the new OCWC.

Within the week Herb will have completed all the final excavation to create deep pools and diverse depths and place wood and finish the edge of the area in the attached pictures.

I am asking with appreciation in advance, for any TU or Rainlander volunteers to come out for half a day to help collect transport and spread wetland seed and thatch as the final finish to this part of the complex as he moves south as far as he can get until the fall rains begin.

Attached are two pictures of how it was used  @ Neitzel farm project

The other pictures are from today but this area will be fully built out and need treatment as soon as next weekend.

Thank you all advance please share as you see fit with TU chapter and Rainlander club members to see the progress of their incredible generous but fantastic use of their conservation investment to support salmonids and habitat in the Necanicum watershed!

August 31, 2012:

 FYI this is yesterday the nearly complete dig out of the 1st of 3 large
OCWC cells Herb is building on to number 2 this weekend!!7' to 12" with
super diversity of depths all over intentional to max depth diversity for
habitat diversity. The laminar water input is cold enough to give you a
headache if you jumped I will get temps this weekend but likely the classic
49 F ground water temp cold enough to get your attention and so important to
have manifested to provide summer thermal refugia when the mainstem is going
to the mid 60's...


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Placing the trees

from left, back row: Bill Robinson, Doug Ray, Walt Weber, Rod Lundberg, Byron Thompson, Bob May, David Illig, Tom Scoggins, Hunter Thompson, seated: Mike Gentry, Jim Ackerman, Ruger Thompson, Richard Hardy, Herb Thompson, Michael Ellis

On July 14th, TVTU members Mike Gentry, Rod Lundberg Doug Ray and David Illig, joined myself, my friend, Richard Hardy, and members of the Rainland Flycasters to place all the trees we have been collecting this Winter and Spring. The Rainland Flycasters were ably represented by Bill Robinson, Walt Weber, Bob May, Jim Ackerman and Tom Scoggins. The Thompson family contingent consisted of Herb Thompson, Byron Thompson, Hunter Thompson and Ruger Thompson. I apologize if I have inadvertently left anyone out.

A large pile of trees awaits placement

When we arrived, Walt Weber was already in the river taking a population survey of the area we would be covering with the trees. He counted about two dozen fish (fry and a few small cutthroat) in the area we were going to cover. 

we will construct the tree raft along the left bank

Walt Weber surveys the construction zone for fish

Walt Weber and Herb Thompson discuss the survey results

Mike and Rod got to work putting together the pontoon boats while everyone else put together a game plan.

Mike and Rod ready the pontoon fleet

Bob May talks over the anchoring method with the crew

We would tie the trees to a rope and use old milk jugs as floats. With this boom we would outline the slack water area we were going to cover with the trees. The pontoon boats would position and anchor the boom and then fill the middle in with trees. 

We tied the trees to a rope and used milk jugs for floats

The tree line grows

By the time Mike got in the water we were ready to start taking the rope across river.

Mike Gentry pushes off to begin building the tree corral
Mike is ready to grab the line 
Mike pulls the line across the river

Mike grabbed the end of the line and began to row. As more trees were added to the river the current started to have an effect.

more trees were added as the line was pulled across the river

Mike Gentry and Rod Lundberg pull the line down to the tie off point

                          we have the bottom of the line anchored and now are positioning the top end
It took a while to get the boom positioned correctly

it's looking pretty good now

As we filled the boom, we used the current of the river to move the trees
Byron Thompson, Rod Lundgren and Mike Gentry corral and wrangle the trees into the structure
Byron Thompson brings more material to the structure
The completed structuture
Doug Ray points out some fish activity in the newly created habitat

The fish were waiting for this. They started inhabiting the trees as soon as they hit the water

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The deed is done!

On Saturday, July 14th, members of the Rainland Flycasters and Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited met to complete our Christmas for Coho project. We created a large raft of trees in a slack water area on the Necanicum River to provide food and cover for the little fishes. They started utilizing the trees even while we were placing them. It was incredible.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Coho habitat enhancement project update

Photos and text by Michael Ellis
TVTU Conservation Director

On Friday, June 8th, TVTU members Jeff Price, Mark and Janet Rogers, and Michael Ellis Met at Mckenzie Farms Headquarters by Colton, Oregon to pick up over 100 culled christmas trees.

All were in the 4 to 6 ft. Range. Mckenzie Farms is one of the largest growers of high quality christmas trees in Oregon.

They had a surprise for us when we arrived. There was a crew ready to load our vehicles! 

Those guys were good. They were really able to load trees. I was envious of their packing ability. 

We were loaded up in less than 1/2 hour and we all left for our respective homes.

Saturday morning we got up early and drove to Seaside where we met TVTU members Doug Ray, Mike Coddington and Byron Thompson to drop off the trees at the work site. 

from left: Jeff Price, Doug Ray, Mike Coddington, and Byron Thompson unload the U Haul truck

Our volunteers, from left: 
Janet Rogers, Mark Rogers, Doug Ray, Byron Thompson, Jeff Price, and Mike Coddington

We then headed up to Longview Timber land to harvest more trees for the habitat project. 

Doug and Byron handled the chainsaw duty while the rest of us cut with handsaws and loaded the trucks and trailers. 

Jeff looks for more trees to cut

Byron had a trailer that appeared to be made from a 20 yard dumpster. It was huge.

 In about an hour we had cut about all the material our trucks and trailers could hold so we headed back to add to the pile.

back at the Thompson property ready to unload

We collected lots of trees for habitat

Mark and Janet begin unloading their trailer

Mike starts unloading his pickup

Mike and Jeff next to the load from Mike's truck

now we start in on Byron's trailer

The pile has grown a lot today!

After unloading we walked around the Thompson property and looked at the wetland area Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited is helping to complete. (see above photo)

Doug explains to the volunteers how and where we will be placing the trees we collected

 Byron also showed us some incredible video he has been shooting documenting the utilization of the wetland area as well as the christmas trees by Coho salmon young. These efforts are really paying off. If you would like to see some of Byrons video, check out his facebook page: . There are a few u tube videos, but his facebook page is the motherlode.

We are going to be helping place all this material in a large slack water pool on the Necanicum Saturday July 14. This pool is one of the best spots for juvenile fish on the river during the summer and the addition of the cover and food our tree rafts will provide will let them grow fat and sassy for heading out to sea! This should be a very interesting project to participate in. If you would like to help out with this project, let me know by e mail at .

Our dedicated volunteers, from left:
Michael Ellis, Mark Rogers, Janet Rogers, Byron Thompson, Jeff Price, Doug Ray, Mike Coddington

Thank you all for your help

Michael Ellis
TVTU Conservation Director