Helicopter Delivery Protects Fragile Roadless Landscape
To protect a fragile landscape, we air-lifted 1,000 1-gallon plants to the Black River Conservation Easement and Preserve in Thurston County. The property is bordered by the Black River and Mima Creek; both are critical wildlife habitat that Capitol Land Trust has been working to protect along with our local partners.
In 2012 we worked with the owners of the Black River Farm and our local partners to protect the property, which is one of the largest and strategically most important regional dairy farms. We were able to conserve 721 acres in a way that allows the farm to continue operating while protecting critical wildlife habitat.
The property along the Black River features well established wildlife habitat but the portion along Mima Creek is in need of restoration. Recent changes to the management of the dairy farm has resulted in several access roads being planted with crops. The use of a helicopter saves time, prevents damage to farm crops, and allows us to meet our restoration goals. The helicopter is just one part of our fall restoration work – which involves planting 3,200 native plants over 4.11 acres along Mima Creek shoreline.
A mix of stream and inland plants are being used—black cottonwood, Sitka willow, red osier dogwood, Douglas-fir, and other natives. Most of the plants are purchased from Sound Native Plants of Olympia.
This restoration will help salmon runs coming from the Pacific Ocean, up the Chehalis River, to the Black River and finally to Mima Creek.
Funds are from Washington Department of Ecology Section 319 grant and Washington Recreation and Conservation Office through the Washington Coast Restoration Initiative.