In February 2005, eight members of the Middle Rogue Steelheaders planted over 200 cedar and pine trees to help stabilize eroded streambanks above and below the Lansburgh bridge. Some were lost to the flood in December of that year, according to Tom Dover, who has worked closely with the project over the years.
Some fencing was installed upsteam from the bridge in June of 2006 to prevent livestock damage to the young seedlings.
The project has focused on a strip 2,500 ft. long (just under a half mile) by 40 ft. wide. One of the major undertakings was to remove blackberry bushes. Conifer and native plants have been planted along the cleared riparian zone to create a root structure designed to hold the soil and prevent future erosion.
A four-strand fence to keep cattle and sheep away from the riparian area and newly planted trees and plants has been accomplished. Watershed members had assistance from SKILLS USA students from Eagle Point High School as well as members of Boy Scout Troop 48, from Eagle Point.
Little Butte Creek has historically been known as a successful spawning stream for coho salmon and steelhead. A combination of floods, invasion of blackberries, decreased stream flow and livestock created erosion, bacteria and rising temperature to the creek.
This project is an example of a partnership with an every expanding network of benefits. First and foremost, is the enhancement of the stream, which will be of benefit to the fish. Eagle Point and tourism benefits from an improved stream. Members of the watershed who have cultivated and worked on the project and the Boy Scouts and SKILLS USA students who assisted with the program have learned not only about the stream and related factors, but about working together.
“I liked the project because not one person or one group is doing it, but rather it is a community working together. A lot of people involved in this project may also be involved in the next watershed project on up the creek. It’s been a good thing for many,” said Lansburgh.
For more information, call Tim Weaver at (541) 646-1684.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent