Pine Creek Conservation Area Beaver Dam Analogues Build September 17-21
About the place
Pine Creek Conservation Area (PCCA) is located on the John Day River near Clarno. It is approximately 35,000 acres in size and surrounds Spring Basin Wilderness on three sides. The property itself was purchased over the course of several years by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) beginning in the late 1990s to mitigate for the impacts of the John Day Dam on the Columbia River. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs now manage PCCA, with BPA funding, for the benefit of fish and wildlife.
Pine Creek is a tributary of the John Day River, and runs for over 10 miles through PCCA. It is home to steelhead and a growing colony of beavers.
ONDA volunteers have been actively contributing to conservation projects at PCCA for over a decade. They have planted tens of thousands of riparian trees, removed nearly 100 miles of obsolete barbed wire fence, cleared juniper from riparian areas, conducted monitoring, and built Beaver Dam Analogues.
View the map.
About the stewardship work
ONDA volunteers will be able to help with all aspects of Beaver Dam Analogue (BDA) construction. Allowing for individual interests and abilities, there will be the opportunity to be part of the team using the hydraulic fence pounder to pound 6-inch diameter wood posts in lines across the creek bed. Others can help cut and haul willow branches from onsite to use in weaving into the posts. There will also be the actual willow weaving to do, as well as the placing of gravel and rocks to “seal” the structure on the upstream side. With a warm September day, this is a fun opportunity to splash in the water and engage your inner 12-year-old. It will be especially rewarding to work on a project that is showing such progress, and to see earlier structures showcasing the impact of the work you will be engaged in.
As always there is no experience necessary. We will teach you everything you need to know to work safely and effectively. There is ample opportunity to work at your own pace and on aspects that work best with your physical capabilities.
- Monday, September 17, 6 p.m.: Meet at the campsite (directions will be sent in an email sent 3 weeks before trip). Get settled in, and have an orientation talk with details about the work over the next two days.
- Tuesday-Thursday, September 18-20, 8 a.m.: Awake early and head to the worksite. We will be away from camp all day, returning between 4 and 5 p.m.
- Friday, September 21: We will try to fit in just one more morning of work before heading home after lunch.
This trip will involve car camping at an undeveloped campsite behind a locked gate on the PCCA property. ONDA will provide a porta-potty. There will be no potable water source, but a creek is present on-site for washing water. There will be plenty of room to spread out in terms of tent sites, but we will gather in the evenings and the mornings to be able to share information about the work and for some social time. The campsite is accessible in a standard vehicle; no 4WD required.
We will be car-camping and not required to do any extensive hiking. There is a large variety of intensities of work available, from using the hydraulic post-pounder, to weaving willow. The work is in rough terrain in an incised creek, with willow stumps and many other tripping hazards. However, as always, everyone can pace themselves and regulate their own level of effort, switch between various available tasks of varying intensities and rest as needed.
Trip highlights and challenges
- Helping to make dramatic improvements that you can actually see.
- Fun and variable work.
- Easy comfortable car camping situation.
- Work involves noisy machinery nearby, but there may be an opportunity to spread out the project sites to get a break.
Participants are responsible for their own food and camping gear, as well as transportation to and from the trip. Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots are recommended for this trip, but depending on weather, rubber boots, waders or hiking boots that you don’t mind getting soaked would be good too. Participants should be prepared with clothing layers, food and water to spend the day away from camp to conduct the work under changing conditions. We recommend bringing your own work gloves to provide a comfortable fit. But it is not required. We recommend that each person bring 2 to 3 gallons of drinking water for the trip, since none is available on site.
ONDA will provide the tools for the work (including work gloves if you don’t have a pair), excellent guidance in the field, and a few group camping items to make things more comfortable (chairs, tables, dishwashing bins, campfire materials, shade/rain tarp, etc.) We also provide hot water at morning and evening mealtimes to help expedite meal prep, and espresso coffee in the morning.
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 emailing the trip leader directly. You will receive a confirmation email within 10 working days of submitting your form. The confirmation email 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 “waitlist.”
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, carpooling 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.