Posted by admin on June 2, 2020
By Erica Terence
In a clothing swap with neighbors, back when people were still gathering with abandon, a T-shirt printed ironically with a fax machine and the phrase “Reach the Future Faster” called on me to rescue it from the heap of unwanted items.
Who among us would have guessed how fast we would reach the future, not by fax machine but by a pandemic that few to none of us were prepared for? A future where person-to-person contact is frowned upon and handshakes are off the table, a thing of the past. A future where telecommuting and walking into supermarkets and banks in masks are suddenly – mind-blowingly - encouraged, even expected behaviors.
With the realization that we’ve accelerated and landed in our future comes the unnerving realization that the end of any of our lives could arrive sooner than we think too. Are we ready for that eventuality? Have we planned for it? Most of us are realizing in a panic that we have not, or not nearly well enough.
We don’t even have legal documents outlining who will inherit what we worked for and held on to during the geologic blink of our lives, or if we do they may be outdated. If the number of people in my life turning to estate planning right now is any indicator, the future is definitely now.
And what kind of future are we leaving behind when we go? Will it have wild rivers teeming with steelhead trout and salmon sandwiched between rugged wilderness areas in the mountains? Will it have rare native plant species and life-sustaining biodiversity? Will it have people who still remember a time when fire was more of a friend than a foe, people whose grandparents taught them to wield fire for the benefit of plants, animals and people? Will it have green jobs that help rural people support their families and pass local wisdom on to upcoming generations? Let’s hope so.
But we can do more than hope. We can write these values into our wills as charitable bequests and pass them on to our kids. And we can do it in flexible ways that benefit us and our heirs. To explore how you can leave a percentage or your cash or non-cash assets to groups like the Mid Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC) doing critical work to protect and restore healthy ecosystems, economies and communities, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are in a position to give and are interested in including this kind of planned gift in your estate plans, I urge you to talk with your own financial advisors first. We’re also happy to consult our financial advisors and find an arrangement that meets your needs and even rewards you for the good you’re doing in this future.
Regardless of whether or not you want to include MKWC in your after-life planning, we still encourage you to think about the work you value most and the organizations that implement it, to ensure that you leave behind a legacy that continues to contribute to the places, people, and ideals that you hold dearest.
Erica Terence is the MKWC Development Director, born and raised in the Klamath watershed.
Posted by admin on April 22, 2020
by Mark DuPont
It’s always a great time to garden, but now even more so. With the Covid-19 pandemic, people are staying at home, minimizing shopping trips, and uncertain about future supply chains. Home gardens conjure images of vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh salads, but they can produce more than just salads and garnishes, and historically they have provided vital calories during times of crises. This article will review how a few different gardening writers have approached ways to maximize the amount of nutrition you can produce in your own garden.
In 1966 Alan Chadwick introduced the French intensive-Biodynamic method to the US and changed the way people garden. Suddenly gardeners were planting in raised beds, double-digging and companion planting. Chadwick showed that finely honed gardening skills focused on a small area could produce spectacular results. E.F. Schumacher called him “the greatest horticulturist of the 20th century.” He blazed his way through the US, leaving a trail of magical gardens (I had the good fortune of living and learning at one of them, Camp Joy Garden, for six years) and inspired gardeners whose hearts were lit on fire by his passion for nature, beauty and the garden itself. Chadwick was part gardener, part mystic and part inspirational madman. His teachings were hard to encompass and capture into words. John Jeavons was the first to describe Chadwick’s gardening methods and publish them in the book “How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine”, which has become a gardening classic. Jeavons re-named the method Biointensive Gardening, and his book is full of practical information on getting a lot of food out of a small area. The non-profit EcologyAction was formed in 1972 to research and develop the Biointensive method and teach high-yield sustainable agriculture worldwide, through ongoing workshops, internships, research and publications.
Above: Camp Joy Garden in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one of the many inspired by Alan Chandwick.
Ecology Action addresses issues of growing population and topsoil loss, often working in areas throughout the world where arable land and fresh water are in short supply, so their objective is to maximize yields utilizing small areas. Equally as important as how to grow is what to grow. What crops yield the most food from a small area? “One Circle: How to Grow a Complete Diet in Less Than 1,000 Square Feet” by David Duhon is an effort to answer that question. Trying to grow a complete diet in such a small area is quite a challenge (that’s a square 32 feet on each side), and the book tackles it first with in-depth discussion of human nutritional needs; and then follows that by looking at the nutritional composition of many crops. It’s a wonky book, full of charts and tables and even a slide rule(!) that helps you figure out how many square feet of a crop to grow to meet the daily requirements of various specific nutrients (this was written long before apps). It’s been on my shelf for years and I confess I’ve never used the slide rule, I just find the whole idea intriguing. Perhaps the most useful insight the book provides is that some crops are area efficient, while others are weight efficient. Weight efficient crops include nuts, seeds and grains, i.e. foods that jam a lot of nutrients into a small package but tend to require more space to grow. Area efficient crops will yield a lot of nutrition from a small area and include root crops and deep leafy greens. After a detailed analysis of human nutritional needs and rating crops for their weight and area efficiency, fourteen crops are chosen for the Once Circle Garden (drumroll please): collards, filberts, alliums (onions, leeks & garlic), parsley, parsnips, peanuts, potatoes, soybeans, sweet potatoes, sunflower, turnips and wheat.
If “One Circle” can be called the geek approach, then “The Resilient Gardener” by Carol Deppe would be the practical approach. Deppe writes from years of gardening experience in Oregon, and explores how to grow your own food in a changing climate, amid economic uncertainty, with minimal inputs. It’s a practical book full of tips and insights on gardening tools, variety selection, dietary needs, food storage and more. Like many people, Deppe has had to deal with food allergies, so she shares how she learned to produce her own gluten-free breads and staples to accommodate her changing needs. Like many who started out as a young gardener, she’s now an aging gardener, and talks about ways to garden and work that are easier on her back and whole body. At the heart of the book is a list of five crops she considers the backbone of a resilient garden: potatoes, squash, beans, corn and the laying flock (that is, chickens or ducks that provide eggs). I personally prefer this list over the One Circle list. I’ve grown wheat and barley several times and find that I rarely get round to threshing and processing the grains. Sunflowers are great, but the birds usually end up eating more than I do. Filberts are hit and miss in our area – too much heat and not enough water and they’ll produce a lot of “blanks”, empty shells with no meat. Potatoes, squash, bean, corns and the laying flock. All of these crops are nutritionally dense, grow well in our climate, and are easy to store and process. I would add to this list alliums and leafy greens. Grow these crops, and you’ll always have substantial food in your garden and pantry. Of course, above all you should grow what you love. Flowers feed the soul. Being Italian, but I can’t imagine not growing several rows of tomatoes every year, even though they're not on either list.
Notice that the crop that makes it to both lists is potatoes. Potatoes are high yielding, easy to grow, and produce more calories per square foot than any other temperate crop. They are also high in protein, second only to legumes in the veggie world. They require few inputs, are drought resistant, easy to store and will taste far better out of your garden than off the shelf. So, if you’re not sure where to start, plant spuds! It’s best to use certified seed potatoes, but in a year like this they can be hard to find, so use store bought if you need to, but avoid commercial potatoes, which are often treated with sprout inhibitors, and buy organic potatoes instead. An ideal seed potato is a hole or piece of potato about the size of an egg and contains two to three good sprouts. Potatoes prefer a well-drained loam but can deal with heavier soils if you mulch instead of mound. Don’t put too much nitrogen in the soil as it will make leggy plants with watery tubers and may encourage scab. Thin to 2-3 sprouts per plant and begin mounding when plants are 6 – 10 inches high. Tubers grow along the stem and must be covered with soil or they will turn green in sunlight and be inedible. The goal is to end up with a mound at least 12 inches over the planted seed tubers. Some gardeners like planting in a trench in order to get a head start on mounding, but I find it counterproductive in the early season when the soil is still cool – potatoes planted too deeply in cold soil will rot before sprouting. Don’t skimp on the mounding; green potatoes are a drag. And be sure to store potatoes in a cool place that is completely dark. Potatoes exposed to light develop toxic glycoalkaloids. Check out the Resilient Gardener for more tips on growing, harvesting, storing and enjoying this amazing crop!
For more regionally-specific information on gardening, animal husbandry, fruit trees, soils, irrigation, food preservation, and more, check out the Foodshed Pages on the MKWC website here.
Mark DuPont is a MKWC Board Member and the owner and operator of Sandy Bar Ranch and Klamath Knot Permaculture with his partner Blythe Reis. Mark has over 25 years of experience in Permaculture as a farmer, nurseryman, instructor, consultant, and organic inspector in California and Latin America. Mark supports community-based food needs by organizing seasonal workshops, providing technical support for gardens and farms, and supporting community initiatives regarding food security.
Posted by admin on January 14, 2020
By Erica Terence
Sometimes I worry about my social life. I work all day in a run-down old grocery store from my youth, jump around with my co-workers and community members for exercise in that same building after work, and for fun in the evenings I go to events with my co-workers, friends and neighbors under the same roof. I’m often here on weekends too, for a workshop in using native plants to make holiday wreaths, or a training on collecting and saving seeds from the garden.
In a town of little more than 700 people a few hours drive inland from the coast and just south of the California-Oregon border, with neighboring communities also so small you miss them on the highway if you blink. It is no wonder so much life revolves around this former grocery store. The non-profit organization I work for, the Mid Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC), bought this building in 2010, when it outgrew its previous office spaces of a founder’s barn and then a Forest Service trailer. We’ve been working to fix it up ever since, to help it live its best life. At the end of this blog, I will ask you to make a donation at www.mkwc.org/donate to help us finish the job. First, a few hundred more words about the building’s impact on our lives.
Above: A Third Thursday event in the Panamnik Building backyard.
Now, the building serves not only as a watershed restoration headquarters for our organization as we build a restoration economy in these small towns where we work, but also as a desperately needed gathering space for our local communities. In such a remote place, the building provides vital services in a place that would otherwise receive little to no help from the outside world. It’s a place where people can come together to plan and do good, on the ground work for fish, plants, wildlife, and local people. It’s the home of our local post office, so it’s also a place where people pass through daily to pick up their mail, browse the bulletin board outside, and see what’s happening. Most importantly, it’s a place that helps us learn who else lives here and how to care for each other by caring for the land together.
Early in the morning, crews load vehicles with gear before heading out into the field to restore fish habitat, pull invasive plants and collect native plant seeds, reintroduce fire on the landscape in the right places at the right times of year, and involve young people and volunteers in hands-on watershed restoration. Office staff filter in, each with their own small role in the big production to restore this place we call home and renovate the funky old building and riverfront land that houses us.
While we work in tight spaces, sometimes without windows and always without quiet or privacy, a meeting with partners to coordinate a watershed restoration project often unfolds in the cavernous big room outside our cramped offices. Waders often hang over banisters, drying between uses to count salmon in our streams. A tourist or local person might stop in to use the phone, the bathroom, or browse our watershed interpretive center by the building’s front door. Sometimes someone is looking for something as simple as a cup of coffee or directions.
On many days, parking in front of the “downtown” Orleans building is limited to make space for County and Tribal services trailers ranging from a bookmobile to public health resources, to fresh produce and commodities for local populations who are located at least an hour away from grocery stores and don’t earn big salaries. On Fridays, we share our space with families attending a playgroup for kids under age five, accepting a less tranquil work environment in trade for endearing disruptions from the next generation who spend a formative part of their youth running around here. Parents report that the playgroup doesn’t just benefit their kids – it also allows them to compare notes and feel less alone in their parenting struggles in such a geographically isolated location.
Every third Thursday of the month, the building transforms into a restaurant in a town where there otherwise is none. People come out from the woodwork to visit with fellow river dwellers, enjoy a meal cooked for them, and swap stories. These dinners always benefit a good cause, whether it’s MKWC or a local school or volunteer fire department.
Above: A community event inside the Panamnik Building.
Sure, we all live a lot of our lives here, but at least this building has brought some much-needed fresh life to this town. Now it’s time to complete its transformation. This means moving and modernizing our offices so we can fully redo the community space and make it available to the community 100 percent of the time. It means installing separate front and back doors for community center users to come and go from, and adding an energy efficient heating and cooling system to help this place operate through temperature extremes. It means improving the drainage in the backyard along the banks of the Klamath River. It means creating a parking system that maximizes building access and use. Once we’ve taken these steps, we’ll be ready to overhaul the kitchen and bathrooms, put large windows along the back wall of the building that look straight through to the river we work to restore, upgrade our lighting, acoustics, and electrical systems. We’ll also build new walls, ceilings and floors throughout the building.
It’s a big undertaking, and we wouldn’t have come so far without the financial support of people like you. With your help we bought the building, demolished the grocery store remnants, fixed heaters and toilets and pipes and wires and the roof and floor as they broke. With your help we rallied a team of local folks to use mushrooms to clean up soil contamination from diesel spills in the backyard. With your help we cleared a backyard amphitheater space, and built a new equipment storage shed for all the stuff that we use to implement projects, monitor projects, and involve young people in watershed restoration.
Now we’re tackling the third and final phase of renovations and we come to you again asking for help. Please think big as you invest in this vision of a place for people who love this place that will last for generations. Please give as generously as you can at www.mkwc.org/donate, and indicate that your donation is for the Panamnik Building.
Thank you for helping us to make these changes last. Our most renewable resource is people who understand that our resources are not infinite, people like those you find here on the unincorporated border of Humboldt and Siskiyou Counties working together to restore what we have.
Erica Terence is the MKWC Development Director, born and raised in the Klamath watershed.
Posted by admin on November 28, 2017
by Nancy Bailey
According to Merriam Webster, one of the definitions of a wall is “an extreme or desperate position or a state of defeat, failure, or ruin.” As in the phrase “up against the wall”
I’m sorry to say I feel that this moment in human and planetary history has us pretty clearly up against the wall. I wonder if this condition is actually a result of all the walls we build. Lately all the talk about building more of them and the divisive rhetoric we hear that pushes people apart, I feel it is an important time to speak out against them. There are so many kinds of walls and I have to say I don’t see much good coming out of any of them.
Unthinking we have built dams in rivers, walling off hundreds of miles of critical habitat for fish and interrupting what should be a dynamic process of fluctuating flows and habitat renewal.
Without full understanding of impacts, we have built highways which wall off and inhibit wildlife from their migration routes. And we have built hundreds of miles of forest roads that result in landslides and sedimentation in the streams effectively also walling off habitat.
We have suppressed wildfire, causing unhealthy and choked forests; walls to the free flow of wildlife and impediments to ecosystem health, which is built on movement and interchange.
Even our attitudes can be walls. We have accepted and promoted cultural and psychological walls between ourselves and nature, believing ourselves superior and in control, allowing for rampant disrespect of the natural world and its processes. Even as we have willingly embraced attitudes of separation from nature, we have fallen prey to historic themes of separation between ourselves and the other, fearing what or who we don’t understand.
Rather than building more walls, now is the time to take them down, one at a time.
When people ask about my work with MKWC, I say we are in the business of “restoration”. Restoring the Klamath salmon populations, restoring fire to its rightful place in the landscape, restoring native biodiversity in the plant and animal world in the face of threatening invasive species, restoring forest and river and community health and wholeness. These objectives are for the most part about breaking down walls. Restoration is about connectivity; allowing the natural world to resume its dynamic momentum toward balance and flow.
From rivers to forests, walls must come down. First the Elwha dam in Washington and soon the Klamath dams will go. Eventually many others will be deconstructed, as the outcomes of these early dam removals model and demonstrate the huge benefits to entire ecosystems. Everywhere damaging roads are being decommissioned and put to bed, their benefits having expired in light of their long term negative impacts. Restoration projects of so many types are being implemented here in the Klamath and elsewhere, it is hopeful.
Right now, shortly after the annual Klamath River Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX), I feel particularly hopeful about fire. We are coming to understand and accept that wildfire management rather than full suppression will help return the process of natural fire to the landscape. We are embracing controlled fire as an important tool as we try to catch up with the deficit created by the hundred years of fire suppression. Fire is coming back, whether we want it or not. It is not an easy task, breaking down a lifetime of prejudice against fire. We are challenged but we can learn. Eventually our forests, rivers, and communities have the chance to recapture their resilience and compatibility with fire.
I believe we are on the right track. I see how groups like MKWC and so many others are working hard to find common ground with neighbors and stakeholders, to work together toward mutual goals of ecosystem and community health and renewal. Communities, states and nations, even our cultural psyche can heal from long histories of fearful wall building between groups of people and between humans and nature.
Certainly, the state of the world including our Klamath watershed demands of us to join together to take down the walls. Can we please refrain from building new ones?
Nancy Bailey is Co-Director of the Mid Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC) Fire and Fuels Program and a long-time resident and steward of the Middle Klamath subbasin.
Posted by admin on August 3, 2017
by Will Harling
This past spring, a contingent of fish habitat restorationists from around the Klamath River went up to Washington State to learn from four decades of salmon habitat restoration on the Olympic Peninsula and around the Puget Sound. We were hosted by Larry Lestelle from Biostream and Rocky Rocovich and Tim Abbe from Natural Systems Design, Inc. Bill Armstrong from the Quinault Tribal Fisheries Program and Mike McHenry from the Lower Elwha Tribal Fisheries Program added a lot to the first two days of the tour. So much learning took place that it's hard to capture, but we wanted to share through photos some of the amazing projects they have going and the lessons learned from them in this post. Partial funding for this tour came from the National Forest Foundation.
Our first stop on the Quinault River above Quinault Lake where the river was threatening a bunch of homes. A series of log jams and meander jams was pushing the huge river back across the floodplain to river right and making some great fish habitat at the same time.
An impressive array of engineered log jams on the Quinault River. These lathed log piers are driven 30-40 feet into the substrate to prevent pier scour. These streams on the peninsula were mostly glacially carved, with deep alluvium.
Larry Lestelle holding court, telling stories from the early days of coho life history construction, and subsequently coho habitat construction to meet specific life history needs. We have followed this model in the Klamath, first on Seiad Creek and the lower Klamath tribs like Hunter Creek, and now in Horse Creek, and the Scott Valley, with great success. But as Tim Abbe points out, this is not fixing stream process, just halting the trend towards extinction. We need to allow streams to reconnect to floodplains where they can so they can form habitats like this on their own. In the meantime, we'll keep building ponds.
Paradise Pond, one of the original off channel ponds constructed by Jeff Cederholm and Phil Peterson in the early ages of off channel pond construction 30+ years ago. What these guys hit upon was that it is habitat quality , and not quanitity, that depressed fish runs need to recover. If there is not off channel habitat in a stream system, juvenile coho have no where to go in high winter flows and they die. By sprinkling habitats like this throughout a system, you can rapidly reverse the trend toward extinction for coho salmon. This site keyed into a seep coming out of the mountain. They used dynamite to blast some deep holes out of the wetland then built a dam out of rock by hand to impound the water with a cheesy wood fish ladder. It was wildly successful but degraded quickly. Later the channel was re-contoured with an excavator with a meander to lower the gradient and increase fish access.
These jams still allow fish passage by having a tighter weave for the base and loose construction for the upper half. Logs are placed in an upstream facing chevron pattern that uses the stream force to lock them into place. Toz looks like he's getting some ideas for some streams back home.....
Bill Armstrong explains how the jams were constructed, while standing on three feet of new deposition on the recently connected floodplain.
Last year's high water scoured around the rootwad of this anchored wood, forming a sweet pool and bringing gravel into the channel from the banks.
Hurst Creek, a trib to the Clearwater on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula, was severely incised from a century of industrial logging. The creek itself was the original haul route, causing it to down-cut over 10 feet. Bill Armstrong told a chilling tale of three generations of loggers who told three different tales of this stream. The grandfather remembered it was full of salmon as a child but that the logging didn't kill the runs. The father remembers a few fish in the river that weren't affected by all the wood they removed to keep it from getting out of it's channel. The grandson doesn't remember seeing a fish in the creek. This aggressive wood loading project has reconnected the floodplain in only a couple years. Obviously not right for every stream, but already gravels are sorting, pools are forming, cover has increased many times over.... This is actually a picture looking upstream at three discrete channel spanning jams with 80-150 foot pools between them.
It can, and will, be done (just as they did here in the Elwha)! Klamath River 2020!!!!
Mike McHenry, a lifelong champion of fish habitat restoration on the Elwha, gave an amazing tour of his home river. So humbled by the quality of the tour and the knowledge of all the presenters.
I was not prepared for the incredible feeling of elation and gratitude and awe that came over me seeing a whole river system set free of dams after a century of plunder. The river is healing itself with incredible speed. Already five species of salmon have been found above this upper dam site. They estimate about 2/3rds of the sediment has gone downstream. During dam removal, they used an excavator on a barge with a jackhammer head to take it down slowly, then every now and again, they blew out a large chunk to make a pulse flow and create flood terraces upstream (visible in this picture).
Glorified rip rap with a high price tag. This structure near the end of the road heading up the Elwha (just downstream of the old Glines Canyon Dam site) protects the road but does little for fish habitat.
Toz Soto getting excited about dam removal!
Upper end of the old Elwha Dam reservoir. You can get an idea of the amount of natural wood in the system here.
Mitzi George Wickman giving scale to the stump of an old riparian Western Red Cedar at the upper extent of the Elwha Dam (RIP) reservoir. Extensive tree planting and invasive weed removal is ongoing in this newly exposed river channel.
A fish biologist that works with the Lower Elwha Tribe monitoring fish runs in the Elwha describes the fisheries benefits of these engineered log jams (ELJ's). They use horizontal projecting sonic cameras to count fish across a large channel just below this site.
This constriction caused by ELJ's (engineered log jam's) on either side of the channel were used frequently to push the river up onto the floodplain, as its doing here on river right. Cost for these structures is about $70,000 a piece. I came away thinking we need to spend about 10x our current annual restoration budget on the Klamath to actually restore the river processes they are restoring on these rivers.
Beaver lodge built into the side of a log jam on the Elwha River about five miles up from the estuary.
Clear Creek on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula was an example of a fish habitat restoration project that also solved a transportation issue. Every year a major street just downstream would flood due to poor water storage and drainage. By reconnecting the floodplain and establishing multiple channels, NSD has kept the road from flooding for the past three years.
Sediment from the Elwha dam removal effort not only restored the delta at the mouth, it also reconnected far reaching backwater areas in the larger floodplain that hadn't been connected in decades. This is paradise for rearing juveniles preparing to head out into the ocean.
After two days exploring the wild rivers of the Olympic Peninsula, we took the ferry across to Seattle and civilization. Before you die, go to Ray's Boat House restaurant. I did an animated retelling of Uncle Billy's Bigfoot Hunting mishap story so the Washingtonians got a taste of who they were dealing with.... — with Sarah Bee, Rocco Fiori and Charles Wickman.
Historically the main channel flowed on the right side of the South Fork Nooksack behind that large log jam where a slack water pool has now formed. The log jam on the left has racked a bunch of wood and subsequently a bunch of spawning gravel upstream that has become a hotspot for spawning salmon. This section of the channel has aggraded over seven feet in four years and connected a two-mile-long side channel or river right above the large log jam.
Tim Abbe describes how the log trianges are stabilized by boulder and cable "dingleberries" (two boulders with glued in cable connecting them over top of the logs to keep them hinged on pounded log piers. Charlesand Mitzi are standing on top of a buried boulder and you can see the cable insertion behind Tim's feet.
All for one, one for all! Charles Wickman gets a lift from Toz Soto and Larry Lestelle with help from Rocco Fiori and Tim Abbe across a side channel of the SF Nooksack! Mitzi just walked across in her Levis.....
Joey Howard from Cascade Stream Solutions, Rocky Rocovich with Natural Systems Design and Rocco Fiori with Fiori GeoSciences, have an engineers huddle at an impressive channel spanning wood structure on the SF Nooksack. Two engineered log jams on either side are connected by grade controlling log triangles (underwater in this pic) stabilized by boulders with cable saddling the logs and short log piers to hold them in place. In a very short amount of time (less than five years) these structures have aggraded this downcutting section and reconnected a huge floodplain. These structures have possible application in the Klamath mainstem above Happy Camp and in the Salmon River in unconstrained channel reaches.
Toz Soto, Tim Abbe, Nooksack Tribal Fish Biologist, Rocky Rocovich, and Mitzi Wickman on a pile jam on the South Fork Nooksack River. The weather was crappy the whole time but we were electric with inspired fish talk. These jams rack mobile wood, and cost a lot less than jams that use off site wood. This was the jam that was causing the side channel that Mitzi log tight roped across.
South Fork Nooksack River showing the difference between rip rap (left) and large wood meander jam (right). We are currently facing issues with Siskiyou County Public Works Department with our Seiad Creek stream restoration project because they believe wood bank stabilization projects will rot and fail. The wood gives a chance for trees to grow and becomes the bank stabilization agent. Hopefully these projects will help inform our efforts down here to restore streams that function for fish as well as people.
South Fork Nooksack River: Mitzi Wickman uses a beaver felled log to cross a new floodplain braid caused by an engineered log jam upstream that activated a 40 acre floodplain. The beavers were going crazy!
South Fork Nooksack River showing the use of large wood instead of rock rip rap for bank stabilization. It's hard to see in this picture, but the logs are extended out into the river to provide instream cover.
Urban stream renewal at work. Everything in this stream is constructed after contaminated dirt was removed. The off channel pond on creek right is fed by hyporheic flow through strategically placed gravels.
Example of a meander jam on an urban stream (Thornton Creek) just north of Seattle on a system impacted by the first (if not the largest) mall in America (Northgate Mall). Logs were placed at variable depths and prowed out over the water to create instream cover. The largest fish of the tour, what I took as a steelhead was spotted testing a redd just downstream.
Small urban stream restoration further up Thornton Creek after a 10,000 gallon petroleum spill upstream (below the mall....). This was a high dollar project meant to monitor the ability of deep gravel lenses inoculated with beneficial algae to treat contaminated water over time. Extensive monitoring showed water quality at variable depths. They had created these gravel cylinders that could be pulled out of tubes to provide consistent samples of macroinvertebrate populations. Log pour-overs were co-located with gravel to force the water subsurface where more cleaning could take place. Larry Lestelle grew up fishing this creek before it got trashed. I found a kid size fishing bobber in an eddy....the magic is happening again! These projects may not have the hugest effect on the fishery, but they bring restoration to the masses, and they are beloved by nearby residents and schools.
Will Harling serves as Director of the Mid Klamath Watershed Council. Born and raised in the Middle Klamath, Will brings a lifetime of local knowledge and a love for this place to the work of watershed restoration.