Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What'd I Miss...June Edition

So summer anticipation had you at the bench tying something for that upcoming trip? Don’t blame you – but at least 20 folks made it to the June meeting to hear Doug Ray speak about the projects on the TVTU adopted home waters – the Necanicum. Michael orchestrated a nice accompanying slide show with photos – VERY interesting to see the growth of a project like that at Circle Creek.

Before Doug could wax poetic about habitat however, Erle kicked things off….

Jerry Lorang – Project Healing Waters coordinator reported on the Warm Springs gathering where over 120 individuals participated; they were given access to the native side of the river and though fish were somewhat scarce, there were enough willing participants to keep things interested for the veterans. He thanked graciously the folks of the Warm Springs for their great support and expects to see this program grow well into the future.

Fly Fishing Arts and Conservation Society – Jerry also works with the FFACS and wants everyone to know SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8 2014 is the date for this year’s Northwest Fly Tying RendezvousPUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR! TVTU is a supporting sponsor and is able to donate the resulting proceeds to many worthy causes for the effort. Contact Jerry if you want to know how to help.

A few new faces showed up – Thanks! Austin, who sat nearest me, was at his first function after moving up recently from Eugene – he hopes to be involved with some of the restoration work. As a reminder – if YOU want to be involved in our projects – contact Michael Ellis! [And Austin – don’t forget – John’s Market down the hill from Lucky Lab – you can get lost in there looking at adult malt beverages and ciders from the US and around the world!]

Erle then reminded us – JULY 9th Meeting is at Cook Park in Tigard for the annual PICNIC [so don’t come to the Lucky Lab expecting us to be there!!]. See you at Shelter #3...

Erle also passed along results from a recent Crooked River survey – he read that this prolific little Central Oregon river has about 8,000 trout per mile in some stretches! And that is IN ADDITION to 5,000 whitefish in the same distance! Quite a production – and no wonder there continues to be increased popularity over this fishery. Keep that in mind next time you visit….

Erle then introduced Doug Ray – for which many of us really do not need an introduction – Doug is our intrepid man in Seaside who coordinates all the efforts on the Necanicum. He also runs Carex Consulting – a wetlands and restoration consulting firm in Seaside – which provides many services on projects with the State. Doug has assisted with the Christmas for Coho program for our chapter and most recently has helped form the newest Oregon TU Chapter – the Wild North Coast Chapter.

Doug started by thanking the Chapter for their support – we have donated thousands of dollars for efforts with the North Coast Land Conservancy as well as coordinated (2) EAS Grants totaling nearly $20k; these funds have supported over 10 projects on the Necanicum system.

Using the latest Circle Creek project as an example Doug shared the general processes involved with these projects. Once a sensitive area is identified or a landowner pursues restoration an exhaustive survey and identification procedure ensues – plans are drawn and determinations are made how to best utilize the area for stream system health; many time historical as well as geological data area utilized. Is the site better utilized as SEASONAL REFUGE [Circle Creek] or for HABITAT REFUGE [Neitzel Farm and Herb Thompson’s Coho Sanctuary].

As much as we’d love to just go in and start excavating – these studies are very important to help make a project last. Doug has worked hard to establish reputations with NOAA, DEQ, ODFW and others as a top planner for sustainable efforts. Too many ‘best efforts’ are completed without proper planning and these project sites often are not self-sustaining and revert back to less than ideal habitats. Doug’s emphasis for us to remember is that we are forming HABITAT for all species for an ecological balance – not just fish; these are the best balanced environments that serve into the future.

All this planning is then put to paper in the forms of grading/excavation/erosion and planting plans which get submitted to various agencies for approval – again that reputation comes into play here as proper filing helps the process and gets us into the dirt much faster and legally! Doug also proudly noted that Oregonians can be proud because the process is not easy – by design; very stringent laws exist to best serve the process.

As a Seasonal Refuge Project, the Circle Creek effort worked in conjunction with an ODOT project to relieve flooding on the Highway 26 area outside Seaside – it identified and opened a long-ago flood plain. Some of the work had to be modified though since they unearthed 400-500 year old spruce forest long ago buried by a subsidence flood event. This did not deter the efforts and though depths had to be modified to work with the existing tree mat, the project remained effective – no major flooding in 2014; rain events filled the wetlands and provided slow water zones of refuge during the heaviest of rain events. These areas then drained perfectly without creating the acres of grass choked isolated pools that formerly trapped and killed thousands of ocean going smolt.

Grass choked cross-section - BEFORE [2013]
Rehabilitated cross-section - AFTER [2014]
The next step is restoring the native vegetation – and many a TVTU hand went to work assisting in the installation of over 10,000 plantings of native wetland vegetation. All for the 2013 winter. This led to not only fishes being happy but the local waterfowl, elk, beavers have all happily spent time and found refuge there – that is key!

We are ultimately building an ecosystem – this is what TVTU and its members should be proud of!

Cross-section - BEFORE [2013]
Done and Planted - AFTER [2014]
Next meetingJULY ANNUAL PICNIC! Bring a side dish or dessert to add to the grilled entre provided by the Chapter! We hope to see you at Cook Park in Tigard.