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!