Even though construction season is winding down, it certainly isn’t going to get quiet around Ohop for a while! With the inevitable winter rains comes the opportunity to plant trees along the newly constructed creek channel, and create a forested floodplain.
Planting trips will be hosted by the Nisqually River Education Project, the Nisqually Land Trust and Nisqually Indian Tribe. All three groups are always looking for volunteers! With thousands of trees and shrubs to plant this year, our hands are full!
It’s easy to get involved. All you need are warm clothes and boots, a willingness to play in the mud, and lots of energy! We’ll provide the gloves, the plants, and the location. For specific dates and times, please check out the calendars on www.nrep.nisquallyriver.org and www.nisquallylandtrust.org, or call 360-438-8715! Make sure you register prior to volunteering.
All the trees and shrubs that we plant are native. Example species include:
The winter season is a great chance to get involved with the Ohop Valley Restoration Project. We hope to see you out there!
With construction of the new Ohop creek bed nearly 75% complete, it’s time to start preparing for the big transition. Within the next week, water will be diverted from the old canal into the new, meandering fish-friendly creek. It’s not as simple as blocking water flow, though.
In order to prepare, project partners hosted a big fish-out the last week of August. Water was pumped from the old channel, carried through a pump and released back into the Ohop downstream of the new channel. This effectively drained the old Ohop creek, without adding water to the new bed yet.
But what about the fish?!
That’s where the fish-out came in! The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, Nisqually Land Trust, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Nisqually River Foundation, WA Fish and Wildlife and a lot of volunteers arrived on site early Monday and Tuesday mornings to capture aquatic animals and release them downstream.
Creatures captured included coho salmon, lamprey, sculpin, crayfish and freshwater mussels! Volunteers wielded electro-shocking tools, fish nets and buckets, collecting as many fish as possible.
As we roll into August, things in the Ohop Valley have continued to move along steadily. Construction of the new stream bed is complete in the first two sections, and crews are now starting work on the third section! That means equipment is already by the Burwash Farm!
Since the groundbreaking celebration in mid-July, construction has continued almost non-stop. To date, the new channel is almost half way completed, and many large woody debris (LWD) piles have been installed! The LWD creates habitat, shelter and shade for salmon and other aquatic species.
This past Saturday, the Nisqually Land Trust, with support from the Nisqually Indian Tribe and South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, hosted a celebratory groundbreaking event at the site of the new Ohop Creek restoration. The day started with a visit to past restoration sites, where guests saw the meandering creek and thriving tree saplings. It painted the perfect picture of what the new site will look like!
Guests then traveled to Burwash Farm to enjoy views of the next phase, listen to speakers, eat freshly smoked salmon and celebrate as clumps of dirt were thrown from the what will be the new channel. Several generations of the Burwash family attended the event; without their support and enthusiasm for the project, this next phase wouldn’t be happening!
The next phase of the Ohop Creek Restoration Project is underway, and the first pictures are rolling in. Thanks to Kim Bredensteiner, of the Nisqually Land Trust, for taking these “before pictures.” The valley has been used for farming purposes for over a century; soon the creek will be closer to resembling its historical conditions – a bending, forested and salmon-filled stream.