Work this summer to re-meander and add large wood to a historically degraded reach of Bummer Creek in the Alsea Watershed recently wrapped up (in the photo above, an excavator works on the far side of Bummer Creek to remove invasive reed canary grass and Himalayan blackberries by "scalping" in preparation for planting of native species). Meanwhile, large wood placements in its' upstream tributary, Record Creek, were also completed.
These projects are part of a long-term effort by the Mid Coast Watershed Council (MCWC) and partners to restore ecological function and capacity to rear juvenile coho salmon in the Bummer Creek sub-basin. Since 1999, restoration projects on private and public lands have removed fish passage barriers, restored floodplain connection, added large wood to the streams, fenced livestock out of the riparian zone, and planted native trees and shrubs.
While the in-stream work is now complete, riparian and upland planting aspects of the project won't begin until rains are more consistent. Look out for opportunities to join the effort this fall and winter.
This fall, MCWC has begun a comprehensive tide gate inventory process throughout our working area. Older tide gates may present a passage barrier to fish and may not be functioning as well as the landowner might need.
This is an especially significant problem for juvenile salmon that would otherwise utilize tidal habitat before entering the ocean. When salmon rear in estuaries, they reach the ocean larger than salmon that rear in freshwater. This has been shown to increase their survival rates and the likelihood that they return to freshwater as an adult to spawn.
After the inventory is complete, the resulting data will be used to prioritize where working with landowners to replace their tidegates might result in the most ecological benefit, while maintaining the function of working lands.