Working in partnership with Conservation Northwest, WDFW, and Pheasants Forever Inc., NRCS hosted a Mesic and Riparian Habitat Restoration training utilizing on the Big Bend Wildlife Area this July. Conservation partners from all over the arid lands of Washington gathered to learn how to use low-tech process-based restoration methods such as Zeedyk rock structures and beaver dam analogues to restore hydrologic function and ecological integrity to these critical habitats. In arid lands throughout western north America, wet meadows, streams, and rivers are important resources for wildlife, livestock, and humans as these areas tend to be the most productive and biodiverse. Pressure from land use practices or discrete disturbance events can result in a degraded system, that may not be able to recover naturally within decades or even centuries.
By reading the landscape and using sticks and rocks to stabilize the soil and add structural diversity, we can then ‘let the water do the work’ of restoring the hydrologic processes that created these landscape features over geologic time. By kick starting this restoration process, we can achieve healthy and resilient landscapes in years instead of decades, while also increasing productivity and biodiversity. If you are interested in learning more about the NRCS funding mechanism under practice 643 – Restoration of Rare and Declining Communities, contact the Waterville NRCS office at (509) 745-8561 or Lisa Dowling at Helen.Dowling@usda.gov.