Riparian Zone Update

Traveling along country roads in Washington County, you may have noticed blue signs that have three bold letters emblazoned, RMA. The letters stand for Riparian Management Area, that is the land adjacent to and near water including streams, rivers and wetlands.

Several years ago, when the signs were first installed, we heard they designated wildlife habitat areas. I thought the signs meant Reptile Management Area, I found out that ideas was not too far from the truth. Reptiles and amphibians are greatly impacted by land use around wetland areas. Pesticides and Herbicides are prohibited near these sites as is logging, grazing, harvesting and recreational activities.

County Road Maintenance Crews maintain the roadways by trimming back the vegetation rather than spraying like they had done in the past.

I looked over the areas of the riparian zone where we had planted seedling last month. I was very good to see the cedar trees show some new green growth on the tips. It was concerning when we were planting them because they had a yellow hue to them. They had become root-bound in the 12 inch deep pots. The pots had to be cut off the plants before deep holes were dug.

It appears that the cedars are happy to stretch out their roots. Good growth on the trees will mean cooling shade for the riparian zone and the water that courses down the river in just a few years. This is good for the river, the habitat and the wildlife not only here on the farm, but for all the land along the Nehalem Watershed as the river winds its way to the ocean.

The bare root seedlings that we planted are slower to come out of their dormant stage, I will check on them again in another week to see if the buds are starting to swell on the osier dogwood and big leaf maples. The fir and alder trees should also start to show new growth shortly, this week of warm weather should begin the process.

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