Monday, April 13, 2015

Half way through the Service Year

The crew has been working hard for 6 months.  Most of the winter months were spent planting native plants at sites along water ways ranging from Brinnon to Sequim.
The crew bonded a good deal and kept busy in all weather. We tried out some new planting equipment.

The crew also attended the WCC elective training sessions at Cispus Learning Center in Randle, WA.  They took 40 hour courses such as: chain saw use and safety, search and rescue,forestry basics, swift water rescue. 

We are currently wrapping up planting season with a 1000 willow/cottonwood staking job on the Dungeness River.  Won't be too long before we get ramped up for butterfly bush control work in this same area.  See you on the River.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The 2014-2015 North Olympic Salmon Coaltion WCC Crew

We have 5 new faces out there taking care of business along our creeks, rivers, bays, and estuaries. A new crew began their service year in October.  Five new folks have joined our restoration community and are serving a year as AmeriCorps members through the Washington Conservation Corps.  The Salmon Coalition contracts out the crew each year and utilizes the crew to get a great deal of work done for them and their partners. The crew has already accomplished a great deal of work.  So far we have; done butterfly bush control, removed blackberries, planted trees and shrubs, helped with a fish ladder, hauled a good deal of garbage off of natural areas, installed a beaver dam flow though device and more.  The crew has worked in watersheds from Duckabush to the Dungeness.  If you see these folks out and about shake their hand.  Without further delay, here are the folks that make up the crew.

The 2014-2015 NOSC/Port Hadlock WCC crew members:
Sam Langley

 You never know where you might find a Samus Langleyus.  Conifer forests, swamps, or even high up in the Olympic mountains are all good places to search for one.As global warming progresses Samus Langleyus has moved from Olympic College onto salmon restoration.
Kirsten Woodsmith
    Hello, I am Kirsten Woodsmith!  I come from the land of Arcata, California where I crawl around in the woods looking for edible fungi, then drink beer. I like to hang with my dog.This year I am planting trees on land but afterwards I hope to spend more time in the marine environment, hopefully studying octopi. I like my sandwiches with crunchy lettuce and salami.I am also fueled by my mom's delicious cheesecake and one of my favorite days on the job so far was when I celebrated my birthday and shared my cheesecake with the whole crew. I live on Chimacum Creek in a shack/cabin/trailer.
Sofie Brunner
My name is Sofie.  This is my 1st year in the WCC, but I plan to do a 2nd year.  I'm best known on my crew for over using the acronym OMG.  In my free time, I spend most of my time with my family and friends.  I love to play music, go hiking, kyaking, biking, and camping.  My crew and supervisor are awesome, and I look forward to the rest of the year.
Stephen Richardson
The known universe owes its eternal gratitude to me, for I have saved it on a multitude of occasions. Superheroes, Gods, heroes etc. have all been modeled after my unearthly visage. In the sparse free time I have from maintaining the cosmos I enjoy the wilderness of earth, the company of various species such as humans, as well as a canine and feline known as Kiba and Sassy respectively. I have also had the chance to attend and observe the human educational techniques at Central Washington University. I have dubbed this planets beauty worth saving and am willing to commit my powers to WCC.
P.S. i have a particular fondness of the National Football League and have noticed these Pittsburgh Steelers are an elite group, very interesting humans.


Emily Barry
 Hello world, my name is Emily Barry.  I was born and raised in Arlington, WA.  Then moved to Bellingham to study environmental science @ Huxley College.  Since graduating I have dabbled in various fields in different parts of the country.  I am thrilled to be spending a year in the PNW making life easier for those salmonids. I am looking forward to gaining many useful skills, getting muddy, making new friends, and growing trees.  When i am not at work you can find me riding my bike with my helmet on, hiking in the woods, or enjoying some fine Port Townsend Culture.
Owen French
Hi I am Owen this is the 9th WCC crew I have supervised.  I have held several job titles in the the natural resource field and worked for many entities over the years.  I studied communication and natural resource management.  I enjoy working with other people to improve the quality and function of our watersheds and riparian areas.  I love to fish, hunt, play music, and spend time with my family. 
Here are a few pics of the crew in action:
rolling fence to create beaver dam flow through 
Installing flow through device


Helping Cheri Scalf pass Chum through the adult spawner trap

Taking on the Fat Smitty Burger
 Stay tuned for more fun pictures and stories from the field as we push on into an exciting service year.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Helping the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Install Smolt Traps Way out West

  There is a great deal of work that goes into installing smolt traps.  Each year the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe installs several smolt traps on the west end of the Olympic Peninsula.  This is done primarily to take a look at the coho population of juvenile salmon that is out migrating.  This information is used to determine how well  restoration projects are working and to help set harvest limits.The crew is lucky enough to get tasked with helping the Elwha restoration crew with this The traps span the creek like a large V, this causes the fish to be funneled into a pipe then into a box submerged in the water.  This box is checked once a day.  The fish are identified and counted.  We installed traps at Salt Creek, East Twin, West Twin, and Deep Creek.  These include three of the larger traps that get installed and Deep Creek is the largest.  The creek flow levels must be agreeable for installs.  Deep creek had considerable flows and it rained the whole day but we had some help from a Port Angeles Crew.  The Port Angeles Crew and their new Supervisor Peter Allen were a great help and it was a blast working with them and the tribe.

Kori wiring the frames to the t-posts with Mike McHenry and Sonny Sampson in the background.
Here is the downstream side of the trap you can see the plume and the pvc pipe that the smolts are channeled into.
Here the the box that the smolts end up in.

Dylan Kelly driving in one of the many T-post required to support the smolt traps.
Here is the Deep Creek install, rainy and high flows made it somewhat challenging.
A great deal of wire rope is stretched across the "V" shaped trapped to add support.

Gabe, Dylan, and Kim working on wiring.

Mike McHenry renowned fish habitat biologist for the Elwha Tribe, takes a minute at lunch break to explain why we are doing this work and how he found his way to the Olympic Peninsula and wound up doing salmon restoration.  Thanks Mike!

Robbie driving in a post

 We have to anchor the ends of the smolt trap far into the creek bank.

It's a blurry shot, but here is Kori in beast mode.
Thanks for checking us out.  We'll post more of our year as it happens.  Thanks to the North Olympic Salmon Coalition for sending us.  Thanks
to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe for having us. Thanks to Peter Allen's WCC crew for showing up on short notice and helping us at Deep Creek.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Smolt trapping on Snow Creek

This morning the crew got to help WDFW with counting out migrating smolts.
Cheri Scalf (WDFW) who is very much loved by our crew, let the crew come help for a morning of monitoring.  She and Fred Bailey (Super volunteer) are nice enough to teach the crew each year how this process works and let us take part for a day.  It is always a crew favorite.  Plus we get Cheri's cookies.

1st Dylan and Robbie seined the pond in front of the fish weir. 
The smolts in this ponded area of the creek were seined into a box like trap that is part of the weir.
Then we sent Elijah and Dylan into the trap and handed down the nets.
Then their job was to net the smolts and pass them up to us.

Kori, Rick and Robbie were waiting up top to transfer the smolts to a holding tank.
As we got fish into the tank then they need identified and sized.
The crew would net them and shout numbers and size out.
The smolts would then be transferred to a 5 gallon bucket then returned to the creek.
Cheri would then send the fish down a big pipe back into the creek downstream of the trap.  It is a very fun event for us each year.  If you'd like to try it some time, comment and this post and we'll link you up with Cheri.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Near Shore Clean up at Discovery Bay

We spent yesterday and today working on WDFW land in Discovery Bay.  This land is referred to by the salmon coaltion as the Maynard property.  Maynard was a former landowner.  Many restoration projects have occurred in this area in the last 15 years.  Salmon Creek and Snow Creek both empty into the bay here.  We are here taking care of small loose ends as part of the next large project. The next large project is the removal of several portions of the old railroad grade which constricts the tidal prism.  This creates habitat that is less than ideal for endangered summer chum because it takes away the shallows.  These shallow areas are shelter and forage locations for juvenile salmonids. You can read more details about this project here Discovery Bay railroad grade removal details

The crew's job was to salvage sheet metal roofing from an old mill building as well as remove scotch broom and Ivy from several different key locations.

These roof panels will later be repurposed for interpretive sign kiosks.
The crew pulled and piled a very large amount of ivy and scotch broom as well.  The crew hand pulled these plantrs in areas that the machines will not be accessing during the construction phase of the railroad grade removal.

Here is Kori standing next one of the crew's piles of ivy that we pulled behind the mill building.

No that is not a stick.  That is one of the mature ivy vines thast Robbie pulled.

We found some vandalism at a nearby older site while we were in the area.  Someone had pulled several mature willow trees out.  Fortunately, willow are quite hardy.  We replanted them and pulled all the scotch broom in this area as well.

Above you see rick standing in a field of scotch broom.
Here you can see there is significantly less scotch broom.  We enjoyed the list of odd jobs we got on this 2 day stint.  We'll check in again soon.
Oh, we also may have a new record for ivy diameter.  We're talkin old growth here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Glendale Farm Replant

Glendale Farm is in Chimacum Washington.  They aren't farming much these days but a neighbor runs some cattle on the pastures. Chimacum Creek runs though the middle of the pastures.
There have been a couple attempts to plant this long stretch of creek in the past.  This stretch of Chimacum Creek is in CREP (conservation reserve enhancement program) managed by the Jefferson County Conservation District. Not only that, the landowner recently signed a conservation easement with the Jefferson Land Trust. The land owner now receives some financial compensation for both being in CREP and for the conservation easment.

That's when we come in.  Our role in this dance is the muscle.  We bring the trees and equipment and bodies in and get the plants in the ground.  We brought 7,400 plants to this sight and got busy.

First we prep. We clear 3 foot diameter scalps down to dirt.  In order to plant effectively we need to get bare ground.  Sometimes we do this with hoes this time we used our brushcutters.  rough on the equipment but faster. The scalping also helps stunt the growth of competing reed canary grass that dominates the site.

Then we plant and plant and plant.  It is a great deal of work. If you have ever volunteered at a tree planting, picture that  for 10 hours a day all week long...and then again next week somewhere else.

We will then return and put tree protectors around each tree and support them with bamboo stakes.  After this, provided our partners have the funding, we will return to maintain the site.  This part of the project is crucial for success. We will beat back the competing reed canary grass with brush cutters, and DR mowers then spray a 3 foot diameter circle of glyphosate around the tree protector.  This glyphosate kills the grass in the immediate area, allowing for a competition free root zone during the growing season.   This can be the difference between a new riparian forest and a failed attempt at a replant.  We grow forests. In a way, we are like farmers you gotta have some farmhands mind the crops or weeds take over.  After 3-5 years of treatment the site should be on its own (native plants should be emerged fully above canary grass permanently.) Another riparian forest brought to you by the WCC.