FORKS (November 1, 2004) – Something is missing from the middle and west forks of the Dickey River. Noise.
Absent is the musical sound of water moving over logs and rocks. The removal of most of the wood in the rivers over the years and little elevation change in the Dickey system leaves the river oddly quiet and lake-like except during seasonal rains.
The Quileute Tribe, in cooperation with landowner Rayonier Inc., is trying to restore the river’s voice by re-establishing logjams in the river. The absence of sufficient large woody debris (LWD) in the river reduces habitat important to fish. Logjams create pools and eddies important for salmon to thrive and survive. They also help create the rushing water sound associated with vibrant streams.
“Putting large woody debris back in the Dickey River was one of the things identified in a watershed analysis of the area,” said Frank Geyer, Timber Fish Wildlife biologist for the Quileute Tribe. “The document isn’t finished yet, but most of the information regarding priorities for restoration is there,” he said. “Putting LWD back in the system was a major priority.”
“There aren’t a lot of big trees in this area to use,” said Geyer. “But the low gradient and velocity of this system means we have a high likelihood of these jams sticking around because we cabled them together and secured them to the banks.” Private timberland owner Rayonier donated the wood for the project.
The $104,000 project was funded by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and included a donation of $6,000 from Rayonier. Rayonier was also key in providing site access and obtaining permits for forest practices associated with the project. Other cooperating partners in the project included the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and state Department of Ecology, which served in a consulting capacity.
After completion of the logjams, the Quileute Tribe will plant trees on lands adjacent to the river and conduct several years of monitoring for fish presence and use, and evaluate the function of the logjams.
“Habitat projects like this one are vital to restoring the salmon fishery,” said Mel Moon, natural resources director for the Quileute Tribe. “Quileute and Rayonier have successfully partnered on similar projects in the past. We have every expectation that the results will be positive for the Dickey as well.”
For more information contact: Mel Moon, natural resources director, Quileute Tribe, (360) 374-5695; Frank Geyer, Timber/Fish/Wildlife biologist, (360) 374-5695; Debbie Preston, coastal information officer, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (360) 374-5501