South Fork Spring Riparian Planting

Eleanor Burke

success

Central Oregon’s “Backyard Wilderness”

Central Oregon’s “Backyard Wilderness”

Our quest to protect the Oregon Badlands

Located just 15 miles east of Bend, Oregon Badlands is a 30,000-acre wilderness area filled with fascinating lava flows and ancient juniper trees Arriving in the Badlands, so named for its rugged and harsh terrain, can feel like stepping

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Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers Member

Sarah Graham, Sage Sustainers Member

“I contribute to ONDA monthly because it adds up to a larger annual gift than what I’d be able to comfortably afford if I were to do a simple one-time donation annually. I’m able to give more to ONDA this way and have greater impact which is important to me, and my dog Polly.”

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Cregg Large, member since 2009

Cregg Large, member since 2009

“I came to Oregon 12 years ago from Texas. Texas, for all its size, has very little public land. Coming to Oregon has made me realize the special gift we as Americans have in our public lands. Volunteering with an organization like ONDA is my way of reciprocating for this gift. Through restoration efforts, I feel we are helping leave a better place than we found it. Through advocating for protection for public lands, we safeguard migration routes for animals and keep the land where it belongs: with the public.”

Organizer: Jefferson Jacobs, Beth Macinko, Renee Patrick

Dates: April 8 – April 12, 2022

Region: Central Oregon

Difficulty Rating: Level 3: Challenging

Maximum Group Size: 35 participants

About the place

This project takes place on the traditional lands of the Northern Paiute, Wasco and Warm Springs people. Many Indigenous peoples live in Oregon’s high desert region today, including members of the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute), the Klamath Tribes (Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin) and the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe.

The South Fork of the Crooked River has its source just to the south of the South Fork Crooked River Wilderness Study Area (WSA). After the river carves its way north through the canyon in the WSA, it passes through a patchwork of BLM lands and private ranches before reaching the main stem of the Crooked River. The South Fork has been the historic home to anadromous fish, and has even been the site of successful redband reintroduction efforts in recent years. However, due to the eradication of beaver, riparian habitat loss from overgrazing, and irrigation withdrawals dewatering the creek, the river’s water temperatures have risen and habitat quality has plummeted.

About the weekend

2022 marks the 35th year that ONDA has been working to protect, defend, and restore the high desert…come celebrate with the stewardship team on this trip. In addition to inviting 35 volunteers to attend, activities will include planting, preparing cardboard mats for the plants, wildlife monitoring, hiking, and touring another ONDA project in the area. Saturday night is party night; come prepared to contribute to a group potluck (with cake!) which will be followed by merriment and music around the campfire. We will have opportunities for volunteers of all abilities and skill levels. This is an accessible trip; please let us know if you have special needs to be able to attend this trip. Even though this is a 5-day trip, you do not need to be available for all 5 days. Following the trip registration process stewardship staff will follow up to learn more about your availability, please only sign up if you can contribute at least 1 full day of work to the project, although volunteers who can stay the duration are also encouraged.

About the stewardship work

Through a multi-pronged approach with private landowners, federal land managers, and ONDA, the situation will become significantly improved in the upper stretches of the river. ONDA is working to seek Wilderness protection for the WSA, as well as improved grazing practices within the river corridor portion of the WSA which is a designated Area of Critical Environmental Concern. In addition, ONDA has engaged with a private landowner who owns a large section of river frontage which borders the Wilderness Study Area. The landowner has removed all grazing from this sizable property (the “Jake Place”), and has partnered with ONDA to help with this important restoration effort. This trip continues a large-scale multi-year effort to completely re-vegetate the several miles of riparian habitat within the private land.

The objective of this trip is to plant about 6,000 native plants. The planting itself will be low impact, in that we will be placing 4-foot long cuttings into pre-augered holes, and then just back-filling the holes. Nearly all of this work can be done while standing comfortably. We will also be building exclosures (fence) to keep deer, elk and beaver from damaging them until they can sustain browse pressure. As much as we can, we will also be adding cardboard weed barrier to the exclosures to reduce competition from weeds. This work involves carefully spreading out cardboard squares, and then covering the surface of the exclosure with about 2 inches of soil.  No experience is necessary: We will teach you everything you need to know to work safely and ensure a high chance of survival for the plants. There is ample opportunity to work at your own pace and on aspects that work best with your physical capabilities.

Depending on the COVID conditions as this trip gets nearer we also may have work for additional folks to help re-build some exclosure fences on adjacent BLM managed properties, and other additional projects allowing for a larger group.

View the map.

Trip timeline

We have intentionally planned this trip with a longer timeline to allow folks to adapt it to their schedule: There is not an obligation to arrive on the first day and stay until the last: You can come out for as short as one full day if that is what best fits your schedule.

  • Friday April 8, 5 p.m.: Meet at the Jake Place on the South Fork of the Crooked River. This allows time for setting up camp, getting dinner, and a quick orientation about the plan for the coming day.
  • Saturday April 9, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Activities during the day will consist of planting and preparing cardboard mats for the plants. Opportunities to hike, tour another ONDA stewardship project in the area, and conduct some wildlife monitoring will also round out the day. Saturday night we will party! Celebrate 35 years of ONDA with a potluck dinner, cake, raffle, and music around the campfire (please bring your musical instruments!)
  • Sunday-Monday, April 10-11, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: A full day of planting/cardboarding/fencing at the work site, as well as monitoring and hiking.
  • Tuesday, April 12, 8 a.m.: We will pack up camp after breakfast and head home.

Camp

The landowner has a great camping area of scattered junipers along the river where we can spread out. However, there are really no particular improvements other than a fire pit and some tables. ONDA will provide some additional amenities such as shade/rain tarps, extra chairs, and porta-potties. The access road is an un-maintained dirt road, but it is not too much for a Subaru, or even a regular sedan driven carefully (in good weather). Small campers or campervans are welcome.

Difficulty

While there will be the opportunity to work as hard as you like, carrying buckets of dirt and building fence, there is ample opportunity to contribute to the success of the project with much less physical exertion. We will have a wider variety of additional tasks available to switch up with. As always, everyone is encouraged to work at their own pace.

Participant responsibilities

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 required for this trip. Participants should be prepared with clothing layers, food and water to spend the day away from camp to conduct the work. We recommend bringing your own work gloves to provide a comfortable fit: but it is not required. We recommend that each person bring drinking water for the trip, since none is available on site.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide work gloves if you don’t have a pair, all the tools needed, excellent guidance in the field, and a few group camping items to make things more comfortable (chairs, tables, campfire materials, water, shade/rain tarp, and porta-potties).

Registration

An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip.

 Apply Now

You will receive a confirmation email within 2 weeks 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 “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, 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.