SAFEGUARDING WATERSHEDS IN SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON
Aquatic Restoration Project Spotlight: relocating beavers
While beaver populations have rebounded in many areas since the end of the fur trade, it is estimated that there are 6 -12 million beavers in North America, which is just a fraction of estimated pre-European levels of 40-600 million. Beavers are a keystone species and a crucial part of our strategy for restoring aquatic habitat and building climate change resilience in the Cascades. Our beaver reintroduction efforts focus on headwater systems where natural recovery has been slow due to habitat fragmentation and the relatively slow pace of upland colonization by beavers. We collaborate with university partners to study the impacts of beaver recovery and the movement patterns of reintroduced beavers to inform future relocation efforts and better understand the role of beavers returning to the landscape.
A Land Shaped by Water and Salmon
- We speak out against attempts to weaken or bypass existing protections and advocate for policies that ensure the long-term health of waterways.
- We assess the potential effects of timber sales and other proposed development projects on aquatic habitats and fight to prevent or minimize adverse impacts.
- We work with partners including the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group, the U.S. Forest Service, and individual volunteers on large-scale aquatic restoration projects to improve salmon habitats in the region.
- Other restoration projects like the Instream Wood Bank Network, the construction of beaver dam analogs (BDAs), strategic beaver reintroductions, and planting native tree species along waterways improve aquatic habitats throughout the forest.
Our approach to protecting and restoring aquatic ecosystems
Limiting impacts from logging and development
Streamside logging sends sediment into waterways, impacting fish habitat and water quality, decreasing shade (which exacerbates warming trends), undermining the stability of stream banks, and removing trees that will one day be valuable for instream wood. CFC works to prevent or limit streamside logging, replant trees in previously logged streamside habitats, and reduce the impact of forest roads runoff and culverts.
Collaborative and innovative approaches to habitat restoration
We work collaboratively to address threats to aquatic ecosystems with such partners as Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Friends of East Fork Lewis, and the U.S. Forest Service.
CFC tests and monitors innovative restoration strategies while providing unique opportunities for volunteers to study and connect more deeply with the forest through hands-on conservation work.
AQUATIC SYSTEMS ARE ESPECIALLY SENSITIVE TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE EFFECTS ARE ALREADY BEING FELT
Watersheds in the Pacific Northwest are under significant strain. Precipitation patterns and timing of snowmelt are becoming increasingly unpredictable, leading to an increase in flooding and low flow or drought conditions across the region. Water temperatures are also rising, sometimes to unsafe levels for spawning trout and salmon, which need cold water to reproduce successfully. Our strategies for addressing the effects of climate change in aquatic systems can be found below.
Featured water projects
Introducing the Instream Wood Bank Network
Improving habitat with Beaver Dam Analogs
Searching for Pacific lamprey
SPEAK UP FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Since 1985, Cascade Forest Conservancy has been your voice speaking for the areas in and around the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in southwest Washington. Join the 12,000 other members who support Cascade Forest Conservancy and are making a difference now.