Wetland Awards honor voluntary restoration in Clatskanie

Salem – The State Land Board at their April 12 meeting presented two 2015 Wetland Project Awards for projects in Columbia County: the Batwater Station Floodplain Restoration in Clatskanie, and the Sauvie Island – North Unit Restoration in the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area.

Department of State Lands Director Jim Paul thanked the project partners for “promoting responsible, sustainable stewardship of state natural resources. It’s encouraging to know about and honor outstanding projects taking place throughout Oregon.”

This is the 12th  year of presenting Land Board Awards.

Batwater Station Floodplain Restoration Project

Located on property owned by Karin Hunt, the project involved restoring wetlands on a 26-acre section of the property and reconnecting it to the Columbia River.

Governor Kate Brown, chair of the Land Board, presented the award and praised the collaborative effort as a “wonderful example of how non-profit organizations worked with a private landowner to voluntarily preserve wetlands” for fish and wildlife habitat. She also commended the property owner for including people in the equation: Hunt allows camping on the property, which has 14 tent sites and kayaks available for campers.

“We have such strong partnerships in our area, and we are all so pleased that the Batwater Station project was honored by the State Land Board,” said Kari Olsen-Hollander, manager of the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District, who nominated the project for an award.

The Land Board recognized the following partner agencies in the project: Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District, Lower Columbia River Watershed Council, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership and Bonneville Power (funder), and landowner Karin Hunt.

The project involved constructing tidal channels, installing large woody debris, altering the topography, and planting native shrubs and trees to replace invasive reed canary grass.

Olsen-Hollander said the project planners used innovative restoration strategies from “The Beaver Restoration Guide Book” which touts modeling beaver behavior for restoring habitat for fish, waterfowl, amphibians and reptiles. Olsen-Hollander said that if the techniques prove to be successful over time, there could be significant cost savings in using them in designing future conservation projects.