Tuesday, February 14, 2012

CREP Project

In the spring of 2011, through a fairly random chain of events, we were put in touch with the CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program) office in Whatcom County. I'd seen their signs (and blue plastic tubes) around big wetland restoration projects, but I didn't realize they also did smaller projects. It turns out that our property was a perfect candidate for restoration - in fact, the "pangborn muck" (yes, that's the technical term) in our swamp is especially desirable.  No kidding.

 Not only do they pay for the work, but they'll pay us "rent" for 15 years as well! It took a bit of paperwork and a couple meetings, but overall it was really easy to get set up with them. The people involved are all really friendly and took the time to answer all our questions, even the ones we felt kind of silly asking. It's been a great experience so far, and we haven't even gotten paid yet! :)

 The site prep work started last fall, with the rather spectacular removal of the blackberry patch at the east end of our property. We went to work one morning and came home to find that suddenly we could walk right to the banks of the pond! I still don't know exactly how they managed to remove all those blackberries (and haul away all the debris) in a single day. Frankly, that alone was worth signing up.

 Then in October/November they cut large swaths through the impenetrable spirea thicket, and planted willows in the watery muck underneath. It's an impressive feat of landscaping.

 Now this week they are back, finishing up the planting of the field and stream bank areas. There are a LOT of little blue tubes out there!

All in all, the planting list calls for 1,875 trees and shrubs to be planted on the 3.9 acres we enrolled in the project.  The specific plant list, if you're interested, is:

  •  300 Red Osier Dogwood 
  • 100 Pacific Ninebark 
  • 100 Black Twinberry 
  • 800 Hooker Willow 
  • 150 Western Red Cedar 
  • 100 Shore Pine 
  • 125 Sitka Spruce 
  • 50 Oregon Ash 
  • 50 Quaking Aspen 
  • 50 Nootka Rose 
  • 50 Snowberry 

The evergreen trees will be mostly clustered up around the eastern end of the property, where the blackberries used to be. Our original mitigation planting is part of the enrolled CREP area, which not only means that they will plant some more items in that area, but best of all, they will take over the maintenance of it! In fact, they will maintain all the plantings for 3-5 years, coming out annually to cut back the brush and grass until the new plants are thoroughly established.

It's really an amazing program, and we're really glad to be involved in it.

1 comment:

Gabe said...

Wow! That is frickin' rad. I can hardly wait to check it out when I head up there next (soon)! What an incredible amount of work they did! Those cedars and shore pines will be great, but I'm not so stoked on the sitkas! Hostile species...