Elk Creek Watershed Council, Umpqua Basin, Oregon


Cox Creek Riparian Improvement

In addition to the instream habitat improvement project in Cox Creek, the Elk Creek Watershed Council secured funding from OWEB, and from the BLM Resource Advisory Committee, to improve the riparian area. Most of the streambanks were overgrown with blackberries. The blackberries were cleared by a hand crew using chain saws and weed eaters, then piled and burned. Most of the area was planted with conifers (Incense Cedar and Douglas Fir), and a mixture of native shrubs and willows were planted closer to the stream. Finally, the area was fenced to protect the planting and streambanks from livestock.

1/16  Areas of blackberries were cut and piled by hand. These piles were later burned before planting with native trees and shrubs.
2/16  The riparian area between the pasture and the creek was planted with a variety of native trees and shrubs.
3/16  A large area across the creek was cleared and planted.
4/16  This area around the constructed side channel was planted with Incense Cedar and Douglas Fir. Native shrubs and willows were planted closer to the stream.
5/16  These willows were planted in the side channel.
6/16  This is the fence in the upper pasture.
7/16  Fencing on the lower pasture.
8/16  The competition is coming back, but this Incense Cedar is doing well.
9/16  After two years, the blackberries are coming back, but the Cedar is still healthy.
10/16  These Cedars are well above the competition.
11/16  Though the survival of the shrubs was not as good as the trees, some have done well.
12/16  Part of the problem is that the shrubs are preferred by the deer and other wildlife.
13/16  The trees have done better where there has been less blackberry competition.
14/16  Eventually, there will be trees surrounding this area.
15/16  After four years, the trees have been browsed, but should take off once they make it above the deer.
16/16  This Incense Cedar survived the deer, but succumbed to the beaver. We consider the loss of a few trees to be a small price to pay for the exceptional habitat that the beaver create for juvenile salmon.