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Legalized Gambling

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Blog |

Though we are not enthusiastic about heading down to Reno or Las Vegas to test our luck, recent experiences remind us that there is plenty of gambling to be done without ever leaving the comfort of ones own forest.  Here’s a good, recent example. Over the past five years, we’ve worked in partnership with Pacific University’s Restoration Ecology Program and the Tualatin Watershed Council to restore ecological function and native plant communities to the “Bear Pear” degraded wetland area in the Mt. Richmond Forest.  The name comes from the nearby pear tree that our resident bears are partial to climbing for a fall snack. To make a long story short, the restoration efforts have been broken into many chapters – some of which have led to good results (like getting rid of the overwhelming blackberries) while others have been less successful (like turning the tide on invasive reed canary grass). The gambling analogy came to mind this past month as we finished off the work of planting 30 ash and 20 valley ponderosa pines and installed protective matts and mulch around their bases with the aim of helping them survive their competition with the aggressive grass.  Not only was this action driven by faith that the investment would lead to rewards of the trees growing to adulthood – when they would shade out and kill the dreaded grass, but this planting was informed by the knowledge that we had done the same work a year earlier and lost all that we had gambled in the game.   A year earlier, after laboring to find, buy, plant, and protect the batch of ash trees, we watched closely for the first signs of them leafing out and achieving their restoration mission.  But no leaves appeared; the trees showed no signs of life.  Communications with the nursery that provided them, turned up the cause – death by freezing prior to leaving the nursery. In spite of our losses last year at the gambling table of restoration, we once again placed our bet of time, labor, and dollars on the same strategy and gave the same gamble a second try.  It will soon be time for the ash to leaf out, and then...

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Restoration Works… Sometimes

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Blog |

It  would be good if we could pretend that we know what we’re doing, but the truth is that, more often than not, we don’t.  Since 1986, we have invested our time, effort, and treasure in a wide range of restoration efforts.  While all are informed by some degree of scientific information and analysis, all include a healthy dose of “cowboy science”, and  faith that the restoration goals will lead toward our desired outcome. This spring we were reminded of this when we, once again, were pleased to see healthy egg masses of both northwestern salamanders and red legged frogs in a pond and wetland area that we created twenty years ago in the Mt. Richmond Forest.  We’re particularly pleased to be providing and creating good habitat and safe haven for the frogs given that they are in serious decline in this region.  Not all of our efforts are this successful, so we absorb nature’s encouragement and affirmation when we have the chance to.  “Build it and they will come”  – and they have.  Now, what’s...

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