An Update from Our Executive Director, Mizu Burruss
November is nearly over, and as always here at the Siuslaw Watershed Council, it is a time to take stock of the busy season preceding it, and make plans for the future. And what a season it was! A lot of work got done here in the Siuslaw Watershed over the summer, despite extremely challenging work (and life)
conditions. Before I talk about what got done, I want to take a moment to say thank you to those who did the work. Accomplishing restoration projects is always a team effort, and is rarely simple. This year’s work was exceptional in so many ways, none of which made completion of projects easier, and it simply would not have been possible were it not for the way each person involved persevered, and did what they could to complete their own work and to make it easier for someone else to get theirs done, too.
Thank you to the SWC offi ce-based (now remote) staff, the Restoration Technicians, the Board, project partner organizations, and the SWC members that have stayed engaged and active in their watershed stewardship efforts, despite all the challenges that 2020 has had to offer. It is due to their efforts that:
- An undersized culvert was replaced with a fish-passage friendly structure on Pontius Creek, ensuring upstream access for spawning fish, and unimpeded access for juveniles as they rear.
- Large wood was added to Fish Creek, enhancing the complexity of habitat, and improving winter rearing conditions.
- A variety of native plants were planted, and protected by fencing, in alder-dominated riparian areas on Condon Creek, increasing the diversity of the riparian community, and ultimately contributing leaf litter and large wood to the stream system.
- The earth-moving portion and placement of large wood in the final phase of restoration work on the decade-long Fivemile-Bell valley-wide restoration project was completed, and planting of native vegetation is underway.
- Miles of stream in the Indian Creek basin were resurveyed to document habitat response to the placement of large wood in 2019.
- Large wood was added, using a helicopter, to streams in the Indian Creek and North Fork Siuslaw watersheds.
- Many additional tasks were accomplished, including planning for future projects, maintaining past projects, and supporting partner organizations’ projects.
The SWC was privileged to be able to accomplish this work over the course of 2020. The Siuslaw Watershed is something that unites us, physically and emotionally. All of its residents share the water that runs through it, the air that flows around it, and the dynamic interactions that produce annual miracles like the migration of salmon up the river, the changing color of the foliage, and the blooming of the wild cherries, crab apples, dogwood, and ocean spray. We hope and believe that the work that we are doing contributes to the enjoyment of all of these delights by future generations of people, fish, and all the
other watershed residents. If you are already involved in the SWC’s work, then we look forward to our next chance to interact with you. If you are looking to get involved, keep an eye on our web and social-media presences for upcoming opportunities to engage-but don’t stop there! Consider attending our Annual Membership meeting in January, where we will confirm the members of our Leadership Body, and fill open Board of Directors positions. If you are interested in serving on our Leadership Body or Board, please contact us. It is very rewarding work!