Like many of you, I have been busy this spring with a riparian planting project. It is an exciting project to restore about 28 acres of abandoned farm land to gallery forest along the Willamette River.
The project is at Half Moon Bend, a Greenway property several miles downstream from Corvallis. It is a challenging site with coarse soils, a nasty collection of perennial and annual weeds and regular, near-annual flooding.
This operational restoration project is an unusual collaboration between Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), Marvin Gilmour and Peter Kenagy (mid-valley farmers and conservationists) with a long connection to and familiarity with the site. The restoration will be done using common farming (and forestry) approaches, equipment and practices. The goal is to create a diverse, structurally complex and functional bottomland forest community in an efficient and cost effective manner, particularly suitable to rural sites. Other partners include the Benton SWCD, and Meyer Memorial Trust which is providing much of the funding for the restoration.
Half Moon Bend is also a Demonstration Project, which means it has a structure designed for an educational purpose. The purpose of our demonstration is to help illustrate options and different approaches to a situation in order to facilitate discussion and learning about riparian forest ecology and restoration. So in addition to illustrating an operational approach to restoration using farm practices (directed by Marvin and Peter), this Extension Demonstration is designed to illustrate different approaches to:
• Planting Density (500 to 2500 stems/A)
• Arrangement of species (random v clustered)
• Irrigation (irrigated and non-irrigated)
• Weed control (various)
These appear to be some of the more actively-debated topics among restoration practitioners in my area in the mid-Valley. There are others (planting sequence, planting stock), but there are limits to how many different plots and practices you can put on the ground, keep it operation and not get in trouble with your partners for making things too messy and complicated. At any rate, the plots we have put out should give lots to think about and talk about.
So you can expect that Half Moon Bend will be a frequent topic of this blog, with regular updates on our efforts, the approaches we take and reasoning behind them, and of course the lessons we learn.