Riparian Ecosystem Restoration

Improving the quality of streamside habitat:Replanting a landslide on Blue Slide Creek, 2009

Logging in the post-World-War-Two era hit streamside forests especially hard, leaving many creeks with little shade and barren banks. As a result, erosion filled pools with silt, sunlight continues to heat the shallow waters beyond the tolerance of salmon, and streams lack the large logs, that provide young salmon and steelhead with essential cover from predators.

To remedy these problems, the Council plants Douglas-fir and redwood along streams, secures streambanks with structures such as woven willow walls; plants a variety of native brush and tree species; and selectively thins dense stands of young forest so the remaining trees grow faster.

Community Services:

If you've noticed stretches of streambanks that might benefit from planting or thinning to speed the recovery of the riparian forest, please contact us for a free, no-obligation survey.



The fall 2009/winter 2010 season of Riparian Ecosystem Restoration has come to a close.
Here are some highlights from this year!

Riparian thinning - South Fork Bear Creek
This fall, 2.5 acres of overstocked Douglas-fir were thinned on South Fork Bear Creek.  These stands typically had approximately 1,250 trees per acre and were thinned to 250-500 trees per acre to accelerate the growth of those that were left behind.  This accelerated growth will lead to faster development of shade-producing trees and large wood for salmonid habitat.

Riparian seed collection - throughout the watershed
With assistance from the Council's own certified arborist, Andrew Nash,we were able to climb high into large Douglas-fir trees to collect seed.  Over 12 pounds of Douglas-fir seed was collected--that's enough to grow 400,000 trees!  Over 175 pounds of seed were collected from other species such as white oak, black oak, live oak, big leaf maple, Oregon ash, California buckeye, red alder, blue wildrye, California brome, California fescue, Idaho fescue, coyote brush, Toyon, and oceanspray.  These seeds will be grown into plugs at our Native Plant Nursery for use in future restoration projects in the Mattole.

Willow fence - Little Grindstone Creek
This year, Nick's Interns constructed over 60 feet of willow fence to stabilize a landslide on Little Grindstone Creek.  After a long, slippery hike with bags of tools and willows, the interns worked all day to get the willow in the ground and sediment out of the creek.

Riparian seeding - Blue Slide Creek to Grindstone Creek
This year, over 80 pounds of native grass, shrub, and tree seed was spread over 5.6 acres of riparian re-vegetation sites on Panther Creek (a tributary to Mattole Canyon Creek), Blue Slide Creek, Bear Creek, Mattole Canyon Creek, and the mainstem Mattole River. All Good Roads, Clear Creeks sites were mulched with blue wildrye (a native grass) straw, and over 2000 grass and shrub seedballs were distributed on re-vegetation sites.

Riparian treeplanting - Panther Creek, East Mill Creek, Cook Gulch, Mattole River
This was an exciting year for riparian tree planting.  Not only were we able to get and early start in October with some large container plants, but we had a variety of species to work with on our planting sites.  The Native Plant Nursery grew close to 3,000 riparian plants of 7 species for our re-vegetation projects this year. Overall, we planted 12,500 Douglas-fir, 5,600 willows, 250 black cottonwoods, 250 red alder, 40 big leaf maples, 950 blue wildrye plugs, 500 California fescue plugs, as well as a handful of California buckeye, madrone, and Pacific yew.

What's coming next year?
The 2010/2011 season will include additional seed collection, propagation, and planting.  The focus of the program's work will be on planting over 35,000 trees, shrubs, and grasses on riparian sites in Blue Slide Creek and the Upper North Fork of the Mattole River.  Fifteen different riparian species will be planted, including a variety of true oaks and native grasses.