Light in the Forest: Poole Slough

TWC is improving forest health and wildlife habitat quality of the forest lands of our Upper Yaquina Preserve, in Poole Slough, Newport Oregon. This exciting project that began in June includes thinning the over abundant conifers and creating snags and wildlife trees in portions of the preserve forest lands. By removing some Douglas-fir, other conifers (Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar and Western Hemlock) will be able to more successfully establish, which will result in greater plant species diversity in the understory. This diversity along with snags and brush piles will enhance the complexity of the habitat on the forest floor.

The upland forest on TWC’s preserve and adjacent lands are even-aged Douglas-fir plantations within a historic Sitka Spruce Hemlock forest zone. As a result of past industrial timber management practices, the forest has very limited species and structural diversity and most importantly lacks large woody debris (LWD) on the forest floor and standing snags. The LWD and snags will provide crucial habitat for a variety of wildlife species. The understory of the forest is dark which has inhibited many plants from growing and has diminished the diversity of the forest floor. This project compliments efforts of the Siuslaw National Forest management programs to improve habitat conditions for species dependent on older Forest habitat conditions.

The project has gotten off to a great start with an energetic youth crew prepping the land for further restoration. Miles, the Community Services Consortium crew leader states, “The great thing about this project is that not only does it restore our coastal forests and promote sustainable forestry practices for the future by using CSC youth crews, The Wetlands Conservancy is providing valuable work experience for our community’s young people and helping shape future environmental stewards”. Paul Engelmeyer TWC Coastal Steward, sees this as the first step in a long term vision that hopefully 150 years from now people can come to Poole Slough and reliably know that pileated woodpeckers, marbled murrelet, red tree voles and other species are thriving. If they are lucky they might catch a glimpse of them.

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