East Fork Beech Creek Fence Repair May 15-18
About the place
ONDA has been involved with legal action supporting fish habitat in Malheur National Forest for over a decade, and we are now pleased to be entering a new cooperative phase with the National Forest where we are now in the third year of helping to implement a variety of ambitious, multi-year projects restoring key fish habitat on headwater streams.
The East Fork of Beech Creek has its headwaters near Magone Lake in the Malheur National Forest and is a tributary of the John Day River. The Creek provides critical habitat for steelhead. Currently the stream has eroded banks, little to no woody riparian vegetation, has numerous obstructions to fish migration, and is not connected with its floodplain. We are now in our second year of helping out on projects on this creek. This is a big exciting project! Culverts are being replaced; old weirs will be refurbished or removed to avoid obstruction to fish passage; extensive lengths of obsolete irrigation channels will be back-filled; sections of creek will be returned to its historic channels; large woody debris and pools will be added; trees encroaching on the floodplains will be removed; Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) will be installed and extensive riparian planting will be conducted.
ONDA volunteers on this trip will be responsible for building and maintaining the fence lines that will protect the newly planted trees and shrubs. If all goes according to plan, over time the project area will become a shaded stream with cool water that will encourage native fish species and discourage non-native fish species. Woody species will be plentiful enough to provide a useful source of browse for deer, elk and beaver and the water temperature will decrease to allow for increased spawning success and fry survival rates.
About the stewardship work
Working with barbed wire fence is scratchy, hot, dusty work… and incredibly satisfying. For this trip, volunteers will be rebuilding sections of fence that had to be removed during the restoration project as well as installing fences around all of the newly planted vegetation to protect the plants from browsing pressure from deer, elk, and beaver.
The work involves using hand-tools to remove clips holding barbed wire to posts, rolling up old wire, stretching out new wire, and splicing pieces of wire together. There is ample opportunity to choose specific tasks that match your fitness level and interest, and to switch tasks throughout the day. We take frequent breaks and encourage folks to work at a sustainable pace. No experience is necessary; we can teach all you need to know.
- Tuesday, May 15 (5-7 p.m.): Arrive at camp in the evening with enough time to set up, meet other volunteers, and learn more about the work ahead.
- Wednesday, May 16: Meet with Forest Service staff and spend the day repairing the fences nearby and installing exclosure fences around the riparian areas. Plan to be away from camp from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Thursday, May 17: Another day of fence work along the East Fork Beech Creek. Plan to be away from camp from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Friday, May 18: A well-deserved rest day! After breakfast and coffee, we will pack up and drive back home.
We will be car camping at a primitive campsite near our project area along the East Fork of Beech Creek. There will be plenty of space to spread out and lots of trees for shade. ONDA will bring extra group camping supplies such as tables, chairs, a porta-potty, and wash bins for dishes. We will also have extra potable water, but recommend each participant brings some as well. Since camp is at the vehicles you will be able to have all the amenities you can fit in your car. Further details describing camp and driving directions will be provided to participants in the information e-mail three weeks before the trip.
The work can require lifting heavy wire rolls up to 35 pounds. There is a fair amount of walking over uneven terrain, but participants can find a work task that suites them and work at their own pace.
Participants are responsible for their own food, camping gear as well as transportation to and from the trip. Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots are required for this trip. Waders and/or mud boots are not required, but can be nice. Volunteers should be prepared to be away from camp all day each of the work days. A more complete packing list will be sent out three weeks before the trip starts.
ONDA will provide tools for the work, work gloves, and sunscreen. We will bring some group camping equipment (shade tent, tables for cooking, wash bins for kitchen cleanup, a privy), some potable water, expert leadership, and we can talk about some of the important restoration projects within the John Day River basin.
An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip.
You only need to fill this form out once per year and can join additional trips this year by e-mailing the trip leader directly. You will receive a confirmation e-mail within 10 working days of submitting your form. The confirmation e-mail will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “wait list.”
Six weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the waitlist.
Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, car-pooling options, and additional information in an email sent by the trip leader
If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.