Gosnell Creek Restoration
Evan Bauder, Habitat Program Manager, Ryan Williams, Habitat Restoration Coordinator, and Katrinka Hibler, District Engineer have all been working on an exciting restoration project. Stickley Ranch, a family owned agricultural operation in Shelton, raises cattle on a property that was historically a dairy farm. The property is bisected by Gosnell Creek, creating challenges for cattle and equipment to reach the other side.
Property owners Ken Stickley, Kathie Stickley, Jodie Guedon and Barbara Rae invited the District to visit for a noxious weed control evaluation, and expressed interest in making some environmental improvements to the area. This launched a habitat restoration project funded by Washington State Conservation Commission (WSCC), the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB), and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) through the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Improvements funded by SRFB and WSCC included eliminating the wet crossing by installing a large bridge for cattle and farm equipment to use and installing logs and root wads within the stream to create more fish habitat. FSA and WSCC through CREP funded the building of a fence to keep cattle from entering the creek and planting a buffer of native plants along the creek to improve water temperatures. CREP is a voluntary program that will pay landowners an annual rental rate, a signing bonus, and all the costs for establishing vegetated riparian buffers along creeks, ditches and wetlands.
Landowner Ken Stickley explained that “ Naturally, landowners are reluctant to give up property rights. But we are also typically good stewards of the land and quick to endorse measures that will benefit the environment. We appreciate the opportunity to participate.”