Baby Crawdaddy

Spring planting fever!

Sid works on expanding the edging around the side of the farmhouse. It will act as a safety barrier when we mow the lawn.
Making it level is of utmost importance, of course.

Spring Weather and …

Sid, Bill and Diana spent quality time attacking the big patch of Scotch broom.

Another day, more Scotch broom

Although this patch contains young plants that are easy to pull up, the patch is so big it will take awhile to demolish. Then … on to some other, more familiar, patches.
It is important to keep our forest roads accessible in case of forest fire. The hanging limb you see ahead has to go … it will take strategic thinking to take it down safely.

Safety First

No limb is going to fall on my head!
See the dark green vertical stems sticking up? Scotch broom!!!!! A huge new patch!
Bill begins the long process of pulling the Scotch broom up by its roots. It will take us awhile, but we will eventually get it all. For this year, anyway.
Too bad Bianca forgot her chain saw … there is a tree down on the “uneven aged” demo trail.
If you look closely, you can see spots of yellow daffodils Unk planted on the side of the hill.

Watershed Council tour

On St. Patrick’s Day, Bill and the Marys River Watershed Council took a tour of some of its projects. This photo is of the North Fork Reservoir from which the City of Corvallis gets some of its drinking water.
Next stop, Shiver River and the Griffith Creek Pond. Then on to other log structures and riparian plantings on our property.
Fish biologist Steve and Kathleen (MRWC project manager) led the group of 10.
Steve at one of Shiver River’s riparian planting sites.

Death defied!

Sid was happily driving through the woods when a big, rotten limb fell on him! Luckily, the roll bar broke it into pieces … a close call nevertheless!

Gardens, creeks and bluebells

Oak tree budding and a snowy Marys Peak in the background.

Broken oak limb on the ground.
If you look hard you can see where the limb broke.
Cleaning up wood chunks so Sid can mow.
Hit the first of the multiple Scotch broom sites for the second time. I’m sure there are still some left. Then on to the next site.
I THINK these are called turkey tail mushrooms. Don’t trust me, though. Aren’t they pretty?
No gills on the underside, just spoors (I think).
Winter isn’t over, but the bluebells don’t care.
Griffith Creek is wadeable according to Bianca.
Sid and his tractor are scooping dirt to level that side of his raised garden.
Now he has an extension on his raised garden.

Late winter, nearly spring

As you can see, Sid and his tractor have jumped on field mowing. Pile of branches in the background are from apple tree pruning.
Sid asked Bill to chop up this piece of firewood. The axe bounced off about 8 times before Bill managed to get it to crack a tiny bit. Eight more whacks and it split. Needless to say, it was hardwood, not Doug-fir!
Sid’s raised garden looks promising. The green stuff is arugula.
Sid planted an apple and an almond tree near the ridge.

Bill and Dee embark on their yearly chore of pulling up Scotch broom.
On the edge of the Scotch broom patch, these daffodils serve as proof that Unk was everywhere.
I was pulling Scotch broom, too!
The little spot on the bank where Tory and Robert’s wedding photographer stood during the wedding is now GONE!
Looking downstream from the bridge, note the little quiet pool that formed to the left, and the pile of eroded rocks a little further downstream.
This photo and the next two are of a shrub called Indian-plum. From my shrub book: “Generally considered poor forage, but birds, foxes, coyotes, and other mammals eat its fruits, often before they mature. Indigenous people eat its fruits fresh and dried; medicinal uses include purging the body and treating burns and tuberculosis.” Photo taken near Rock Creek. There are lots of these shrubs around.
This log placement, visible from the tip of the field on the house side of Rock Creek, has collected lots of debris. Just as planned.
Lobaria pulmonaria is everywhere on the oak trees near the apple tree ridge. USDA publication:
“Lungwort, lung lichen (Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm.)
By Chantelle DeLay
Lobaria pulmonaria is in the lichen family Lobariaceae (Kingdom Fungi). This species is found in North America, Europe, and Asia (no USDA PLANTS range map is available). Lungwort is usually found in humid forested areas with both conifers and hardwood trees. It can be quite common in its ideal habitat, quite literally dripping off trees and rocks. Lobaria pulmonaria occurs most often in shady environments and is an indicator for rich, healthy ecosystems such as old growth forests.”
Firewood is getting scarce, but Sid claims he’ll be OK. Gulp!

Trout Counting

This article is from the Advocate. It describes the fish count going on (in part) on Shiver River property.

FEBRUARY 26, 2021

Do Corvallis’s Water Needs Disturb Trout Habitat?

Many Benton County residents may have never heard or thought much of the Rock Creek watershed, located west of Philomath, but it is vitally important to the city of Corvallis. Up to 3.5 million gallons of drinking water per day is collected, treated, and piped into the city from the headwater streams of this watershed. This stream network is not only important for citizens of Corvallis, but it is also important to a diverse group of fish and wildlife species, including the iconic Coastal Cutthroat Trout.  

“The opportunity to study one of Oregon’s most beloved fish species, the Coastal Cutthroat Trout, in a semi-pristine watershed is ideal,” says Christina Linkem, a Master’s student at Oregon State University, “because I get to work in a stream and help the fisheries community learn more about how trout use their stream networks.”  

Linkem and a band of OSU graduate and undergraduate students have installed antennas along banks of the streams to conduct a mobile tracking study of the trout’s seasonal movement. The group also captured hundreds of trout and tagged them with Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags that send movement data to the antennas whenever they swim past.  

In addition to understanding seasonal patterns, it is also a goal of the study to assess how the city’s water intake structures may affect fish movement. Multiple water intake structures – concrete dam-like structures that span the width of streams – are built along streams in the Rock Creek watershed to draw drinking water for treatment. The water intake structures have fish ladders built into the design to allow fish to pass through them; however, the efficiency of the ladders has never been tested in Rock Creek.  

Typically, Coastal Cutthroat Trout move downstream and upstream in a watershed seasonally throughout the year as water levels rise and lower and as stream temperatures change. Until Linkem’s project, it was unknown if the drinking water intake structures block any of this movement.  

“I am already seeing that the water intake structure is not impeding downstream movement, because a lot of tagged fish have left the tributary for the winter,” Linkem says. “I think this summer we will be able to see whether the intake structure is impacting upstream movement when the fish come back.”  

When asked what she expects to find later this year, she replies, “I’d like to guess that the fish ladder will be sufficient for upstream travel, too.” 

Linkem’s project is currently ongoing and is planned to conclude by the end of summer, 2021. The city of Corvallis will receive her final report and the Advocate will publish an update after her analysis is completed.   

By: Lauren Zatkos