Spring is Around the Corner and Fall River Projects Begin this May
Fall River in Winter.JPG
As the weather warms, and our snow melts, we begin to get back into the field and start our planning for a busy 2015 on the Fall River. With this mild winter, many of us have been hiking and fishing more, and skiing a bit less, as most of our lower elevation trails are snow free and getting to the river doesn’t require a snowy drive. Sadly, it also means that the Fall River isn’t getting much time to rejuvenate this year and wintering elk are getting pushed around the landscape by visiting recreationists. Hopefully, more snow will come to feed the plants and groundwater supplies, and spring will need to wait another month or two.
October Habitat Project
Though we haven’t shared news since last fall, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t been hard at work, with planning and preparations for an important year. We wrapped up a great habitat improvement project in the Fall River Estates last October, and our work and newly planted site has been performing well, reducing erosion during winter storms. We’ll continue to monitor the site, as spring awakens the plants and allows the seeds to germinate. We’re excited to see our newly established native plants feed our insect population, and provide cover for fish, which eat those insects. As we look ahead to spring, we’ve been planning new restoration work and educational programming, and spreading the word about a fish migration and use study on Fall River.
Fall River Habitat Workshop October 2014-1.JPG
ODFW Fish Study
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has been active all winter collecting data on their Fall River fish study, and they still need information from you. If you’re fishing this winter on Fall River, and landed a tagged fish, please report it to ODFW. This study started at the end of last summer, but information is needed through the winter and early spring, as they attempt to better understand fish movements and habitat use in the Fall River. If you’re fishing the Fall and catch fish, please report the floy tag color and approximate location of your catch, to ODFW’s Bend Office at 541-388-6363, or email local biologist Erik Moberly at email@example.com. In addition to information about tagged fish, ODFW is seeking input from all anglers on their angling preferences for Fall River. Please reach out to Erik to get a copy of their survey and share your perspective.
Fixing Sites on Public Land
Trout Unlimited (TU) is focusing on two exciting efforts in the works to help build greater appreciation for the Fall River and making sure we are take care of it today and for the future. First, we’re working with Oregon State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service to document and fix degraded sites along the river that could be causing erosion problems, a loss of key riparian habitat, and decreased aesthetic values. Master’s student Levi Old completed a recreational impact survey for public land along the river, and documented over 40 degraded sites that could use some work before conditions get worse. We’re working with each agency to study, to design, and to restore those sites. We’ve already started our planning work and will tackle our first sites in the summer and fall of 2015. If you’re interested in getting involved, please let us know.
Educational Field Trips
Our second effort starts this May and includes field trips for local students to get out to Fall River, study the ecology of the river, and explore methods to steward this spring-fed gem. We’ve scheduled five classes to visit the river this season and explore the unique habitat on State Park and Forest Service land. We’ll be working with students from Bend and La Pine, engaging teachers and students in field studies, building stewardship awareness, and making sure everyone leaves with a passion for taking care of our local rivers. If you see our students and educators out on the river, make sure you say hello. If you would like to get involved, by supporting one of our field trips, please let us know.
Stewardship Group Activities
In 2014, we started a stewardship group that plans to work together to prioritize actions and conserve the special habitats and values that Fall River provides. We will further build and organize the group this year, and connect you with our other activities, whether it is restoration on public land, or working with neighbors on private land. As we continue to craft our vision for the Fall River, and implement important projects, we will lead natural history outings and social events to develop an even greater knowledge base for how the Fall River works. If you want to join us on an outing or if you have a specialty you want to share, we hope to hear from you. As we plan our first outings for late spring, we will share the news.
To learn more about the Fall River and TU, please contact our local Fall River stewardship crew, and track events and opportunities through our local Chapter website (Deschutes.tu.org).
We hope to hear from you and see you out on the river soon!
Darek Staab – Project Manager
Paul Burton – Landowner/Chapter Board Member
Levi Old – Student/Stewardship Coordinator