RESTORING OPTIONS FOR CAVITY NESTING BIRDS ALONG THE FAIRMONT REACH OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER

In 2009, The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners agreed to pursue the restoration of the riparian zone along the Columbia River where it flows through the Riverside Golf Course. Lewis’s woodpecker, a listed species, and a variety of other riparian species presently use the large cottonwood and birch found along this reach. The objective is to maintain options for cavity nesting birds by planting cottonwood and birch seedlings and saplings to maintain old age trees and snags along this reach over a 100-200 year time frame.

In May and June of 2010, 1000 cottonwood seedlings were planted along point bars along the river at several sites through the golf course. A variety of other shrub and trees species were also planted, using elementary school children to plant one site and hired high school students to plant the remainder. These plants were monitored informally in the fall of 2010 and survival was high on all sites.

The objective of raising awareness of the importance of riparian habitats within the community was accomplished. The staff at the resort and visitors to the golf course are now aware of the program and have developed a significant interest in the project. Future plans include:

  1. Monitoring of the survival of the seedlings over the next 3 years. There are concerns that browsing by deer and beaver may have a major impact on the plantings over time.
  2. Developing a nest box program to provide alternatives for cavity nesting birds, and other species in the midterm.
  3. Working with the resort to provide signage along the golf cart pathways describing the project and its impacts.

A total of $8,750.00 of Columbia Valley Local Conservation Funds was budgeted for this project. Due to the unavailability of pole stage cottonwood saplings, much of this funding was not expended. Total CVLCF expenditures on the project were $3,620.30.

Read Full Report

Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners