Sampson Farm Acquisition

Project Name:  Sampson Farm Acquisition
Completed April 2008

Funding Source:  Salmon Recovery Funding Board – $340,000

Project Location:  Cozy Valley

Project Description: – The purpose of this project is to protect and conserve a crucial portion of an intact, properly functioning, and biologically significant, habitat located at the east end of Cozy Valley and is just adjacent to the confluence of Cozy Valley Creek and Northcraft Creek.  Northcraft Creek is a highly productive salmon system which supports all life cycles of Coho, Cutthroat, and Steelhead salmonids.

The Sampson property is a total of 80 acres of wetland and upland forest habitat, which has been used for agricultural purposes as a small beef cattle operation.  There are several headwater tributaries to Scatter Creek which cross this property and then drains into the confluence of Northcraft Creek at the at the west edge of the property.  All of these tributaries currently and historically are used for both adult and juvenile Coho and Cutthroat salmonids.   (Northcraft Creek, which runs adjacent to this property, is primary spawning habitat for Coho and Cutthroat salmonids.)

This property is extremely valuable in the conservation sense because of its location and potential restoration possibilities.  Currently Heernett Environmental Foundation owns approximately 800 acres of protected lands which is surrounding this specific piece of property.  Upstream of this property is a successful, ongoing, stream restoration project which has been underway for the last three years.  Adding the Sampson property to the Heernett preserve would be a tremendous asset to the water quality enhancement of Scatter Creek system.

One of the limiting factors in the Scatter Creek watershed is temperature.  To have the ability to acquire this parcel, protect it, and with our ten year plan enhance the property to include creating sinuosity, water retainment areas, encouraging proper wetland function, and establishing a riparian zone would greatly improve the water quality for the headwaters as well as the entire Scatter Creek watershed.

Watershed:  Chehalis River Basin   Sub-basin:  Scatter Creek   Tributary:  Cozy Valley Creek

Habitat type:  emergent wetlands & Headwaters stream system

Acreage: 80 acres

Wildlife usages: water fowl, raptors, amphibians, salmonids, raccoons, deer, beaver, river otter

Issues Project Addresses

  • The Limiting Factors within the project watershed area include temperature, fecal bacteria, sedimentation, and connectivity.
  • Temperature issues within the drainage are due to long reaches of Cozy Valley Creek that run though old agricultural ditches which have minimal shading.  The edges of the ditches are covered with Reed Canary grass, Black berry, wetland sedges and rushes.   This issue is being addressed on the Heernett property, (the entire east end of Cozy Valley) with a restoration project of in-stream enhancements and planting native riparian vegetation, which will take place in the summer and fall of 2002.  The neighboring property in Cozy Valley is currently under proposal as an enhancement project for 2004 with the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
  • Fecal bacteria issues within the project drainage area are due to a small farm at the west end of Cozy Valley.   This farm has approximately fifty head of cattle grazing on a rotating field schedule throughout the year.  During high seasonal flows, forty percent of these fields are flooded, delivering fecal bacteria directly into the system.  The channels that pass through these fields are fenced with an approximate twenty-five foot buffer on either side of the stream, keeping the cattle directly out of the system.  Delivery of fecal bacteria is mainly carried by surface water and high seasonal flows.
  • Sedimentation is due to timber harvesting and poor road management in several surrounding locations adjacent to Crawford Creek and Cozy Valley.   There are three known, forty-acre, sites, which have been harvested within the last five years adjacent to the east end of Cozy Valley.  Plus, there are three roads that deliver sediment into the Cozy Valley watershed systems.  A section of one road, directly perpendicular to Crawford Creek, will be decommissioned during this proposed project.  The remaining two roads are privately owned.
  • Connectivity for the Cozy Valley Creek stream system is degraded in one main location due to an access road across the Cozy Valley Floor.  This road/culvert issue is being addressed with other project proposals in an effort to re-establish the connectedness of Cozy Valley Creek within the next four years.

Objectives:

  • Protect and preserve property equivalent to 80 acres in perpetuity
  • Develop long-term sustainability plans for property in its entirety
  • Continue ongoing Water Quality Monitoring on project site
  • Develop environmental education and outreach programs for project site

Project Milestones:

  • February 2007 – Land research and assessment
  • March 2007 – Land value appraisal
  • April 2007 – Environmental Assessment
  • November 2007 – Closing
  • January – May 2008 started property wildlife inventory and assessment
  • June – October 2008 continued with annual water quality monitoring
  • June – October 2009 continued with annual water quality monitoring
  • June – October 2010 continued with annual water quality monitoring
  • June – October 2011 continued with annual water quality monitoring

Educational Opportunities:

  • Site monitoring and maintenance
  • Riparian plantings
  • Invasive plant removal
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Ecosystem and species ID workshops
  • Data gathering and analysis
  • Bird watching

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Site monitoring and maintenance
  • Riparian plantings
  • Invasive plant removal
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Data gathering and analysis

Relationship to other projects:

  • This proposed project is complimentary to a current restoration project directly downstream on Cozy Valley Creek.   Increasing the mobility throughout Crawford Creek, improving upstream habitat for aquatic wildlife, and revitalizing cool, clear, clean water into the lower reaches of Cozy Valley Creek and onto Scatter Creek will greatly enhance the entire system.  Water quality issues and potential rearing habitat for both Coho and Cutthroat salmonids are extremely vital to these systems and the complete Scatter Creek watershed.
  • The Cozy Valley Creek restoration project will address temperature, sedimentation, fish passage, habitat and other water quality issues within the Scatter Creek watershed.  They will be addressed by creating sinuosity, retainment pools, wood and rock complexity and planting much need riparian vegetation.  The Cozy Valley Creek projects will address approximately 2000 (+) feet of stream channel, enhancing diversity and habitat throughout this reach of the system.

Monitoring Plan:

  • The information and data collected would be cataloged and used for Heernett educational programs.  It will be available for any State, Federal, or Tribal agency and other non-profit organizations that wish to use this information to aid in their efforts to successfully complete a stream enhancement project.   The project site, data, and ongoing assessments of the project will also be used during tours and presentations sponsored by Heernett to further local and regional environmental education.
  • The products of the monitoring component could provide critical data and information which can be used to fill data gaps and assist in creating a long-term plan to reduce some limiting factors within the Scatter Creek Watershed, and improving the water quality throughout the Chehalis Basin.

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