Jesse Beers of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians walks on a floating island on Tahkenitch Lake By Morgan Heim
Tangible or intangible, the impacts of watershed restoration are almost always relational, whether its re-connecting sea-run salmon to their home streams or community members to each other. This work takes time, and, much like the waterways themselves, rarely runs a straight course to completion.
Since 1995, the Siuslaw Watershed Council (SWC) has been dedicated to the restoration, protection, and stewardship of the Siuslaw River watershed — a 504,000-acre swath of the central Oregon Coast range once home to one of the state’s most productive salmon fishery, second only to the Columbia.
At Ecotrust, we’ve been proud to be a part of watershed restoration efforts throughout Oregon and Washington, acting as the hub organization of the Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative (WWRI) starting in 2005.
Through WWRI, we’ve witnessed and worked with community-based watershed councils as they grow, evolve, and provide long-lasting, powerful examples of place-based partnership. They have helped set the stage for other important partnership-dependent efforts, like forest collaboratives, to tackle the challenges surrounding how to take care of our lands and waters, and who has a seat at the table in making those decisions.
Like their peers throughout the state, SWC’s work brings together an array of partners, from private landowners who harvest their timber (and those who don’t), avid anglers, fisheries biologists, community leaders, and loggers.
After more than 20 years of re-meandering streams and restoring wetlands, crafting watershed-based education programs and providing native plants to solutions-oriented landowners, the Council decided it was time to tell their story, and enlisted our team of storytellers, graphic designers, and website developers to help.
Thanks in part to grant support from NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Habitat Conservation, we worked together to create a series of videos highlighting partners and projects throughout the watershed and refresh their website to host these stories and more as they continue their work.
Through these videos, viewers are treated to the beauty, diversity, and complexity of the Siuslaw watershed and ongoing restoration efforts. They get a birds-eye view of the floating islands of Tahkenitch Lake accompanied with traditional ecological knowledge shared by Jesse Beers of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians. There’s an up-close and personal encounter with a Coastal Giant Salamander with perspectives on habitat restoration from U.S. Forest Service fisheries biologist Ana Hernandez, as she works to relocate aquatic species at a project site. And they can watch the heavy lifting required to transform waterways via culverts and log placements, no hard-hat required.
We’re proud to be a part of building a platform for and sharing these stories. Visit siuslaw.org to learn more about Siuslaw Watershed Council and their work.