More Wood at Metolius River Preserve

May 09, 2022
The Land Trust partnered with the Forest Service to add more wood to the Metolius River at our Metolius River Preserve in late April. Learn more about the project.

The Land Trust is partnering with the Forest Service to add more wood to the Metolius River at our Metolius River Preserve. Crews were on site in late April adding whole trees along the riverbank at the Preserve. The project is a continuation of larger restoration efforts on the Metolius River to improve habitat for fish and wildlife.

Large wood is placed in the river at the Metolius River Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
Large wood is placed in the river at the Metolius River Preserve. Photo: Land Trust.
Trees and wood play an important role in the health of the river. For decades, removal of trees and snags (dead standing trees) in rivers and streams was seen as a helpful process to clear waterways for navigation, property protection, and flood control. Over time, research has shown that removal of these trees, called large woody debris, has been detrimental to fish populations and the overall health of our rivers and streams.

Large woody is an important habitat feature for bull trout, Chinook salmon, and other fish native to the Metolius River. It helps with deep pool formation and can influence the contribution and retention of organic matter (like leaves and twigs) and sediment. Large wood is used as cover for all stages of fish development, and studies have shown significant increases in fish densities around these structures.

The majority of wood used to create the log jams at the Metolius River Preserve (watch the video above!) was salvaged from nearby sites where thinning was already underway. Some additional small ponderosa pines were removed from the Preserve’s meadow and incorporated into the structures. The removal of these trees from the meadow helps us retain the open meadow habitat at the Preserve, while also benefitting the robust Peck’s penstemon population in the area.

Later this fall, we’ll work with the Forest Service to add hundreds of native shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers to the banks of the river. Stay tuned for more details on how to get involved!


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