From my office window I’m watching the massive, double blade helicopter ‘Chinook’ land in the staging field. Over the next two days, local crews led by the Mattole Salmon Group, in partnership with BLM, will oversee the placement of 200 whole, intact large trees in the Mattole Estuary. These trees will provide much needed habitat for fish, and will be added to the 200 trees that were placed in 2013. The trees come from the adjacent hillside, and are donated by the landowner to reduce Douglas fir encroachment of his grazing area- which means this is also helping to reclaim grasslands. Why a helicopter? This helicopter can carry an entire tree- root wad, branches, and trunk- unlike other heavy equipment. This whole tree provides the complexity that fish need, and helps the tree stay lodged in the Estuary for longer than a simple log. This means almost no hardware to anchor it, no large boulders trucked into the Mattole, and no need for extensive logging roads to access the trees. Also, helicopters can place a tree in a matter of minutes– which means that more wood is placed in a matter of days that we’ve had placed in decades of work.
For more about this and all the other work being done in the Estuary, see http://www.mattolesalmon.org/programs/habitat/restoration/estuary/ and information on the last round of heli-wood: http://www.mattole.org/news/mattole-river-estuary-project-update/.
If you are local, you can watch the helicopter while enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers at the viewing point on Lighthouse Road today (Monday Sept 19), and Prosper Ridge tomorrow (Tuesday Sept 20) from 11am-2pm.