If you’ve ventured out to Crescent Bay in the past few weeks you may have noticed some activity along the banks of the north side of lower Salt Creek. The activity was part of a long-term collaborative ecosystem restoration project with private landowners and the Coastal Watershed Institute (CWI) to place refuge-providing wood along the tidally influenced lower creek.
Wood, more specifically large woody debris (LWD), plays an integral role in the natural processes of the nearshore and life cycle of juvenile fish, providing refuge as they migrate, feed, rest, and grow along the nearshore. The Salt Creek nearshore, provides habitat for juvenile Chinook and Coho from as far away as the Snake, Klamath, and Columbia systems as well as Chum from across the region, is a very important component of our region’s nearshore and is wood depleted. The Salt Creek nearshore wood placement project, which began in 2008, is intended to improve both habitat conditions for these migrating salmon and stream hydrodynamics.
To date wood has been placed along approximately 700 feet of lower Salt Creek. The last installation, which finished last week, installed wood along approximately 400 feet of tidally influenced creek bank just west of the creek mouth.
The project is completely volunteer. Private landowners donate labor, equipment, and large wood; CWI provides permitting administration and technical support. CWI/WWU college student interns and staff were available in the adjacent county parking lot to address public questions while the work proceeded.
This project also includes the removal of Scotch Broom, Cytisus scoparius, a highly invasive and corrosive nuisance species that displaces native vegetation and associated ecological communities, which has heavily established itself along the lower Salt Creek.