Rebuilding Tillamook’s Riparian Areas: A Conservation Partnership


Riparian trees wilson 1
TCSWCD and TEP have been planting trees along Tillamook County’s waterways for 20 years, and the effects are starting to show. TBWC photo.

If you’ve been paying close attention to Tillamook’s river banks lately, you’ve probably noticed a lot of young trees peeking their heads above the brush line. Sitka spruce, Western Redcedar, red alder, black cottonwood and big leaf maple are all making a big comeback throughout the watershed. And if you’re familiar with the history of Tillamook’s forests, it won’t surprise you to hear that most of those trees have been planted by hand in an effort to restore riparian areas–the margins of land that border waterways. That comeback is thanks to the work of a group of dedicated local conservationists who have been working with private landowners to fence off riparian areas, remove invasive weeds, and replant with native trees and shrubs. That inspirational team is led by two very important gentlemen: Ray Monroe of the Tillamook County Soil and Water Conservation District (TCSWCD) and Tom McDermott of the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP).

McDermott auger planting
Tom McDermott uses an auger to drill into frozen soil along the upper Trask. Tom has planted over 250,000 trees in the County, and he just keeps going! TBWC photo.


They and their crews have fenced hundreds of miles of riparian buffers and planted roughly 1.3 million trees and shrubs over the last 20 years. Today, as those earliest plantings are coming of age, the rest of us can see the progress being made.


Riparian trees wilson 2
This healthy stand of trees is coming of age, providing a wind break for the landowner, shade for the river, and a future source of wood for the fish. TBWC photo.


Join the Tillamook Bay Watershed Council (TBWC) tonight in the Hatfield Room of the Tillamook Library as TCSWCD Director Ray Monroe shares this remarkable story. Doors will open at 5:30PM and Ray’s talk will run from 6:00PM to 7:00PM. The TBWC’s regular business meeting will follow the presentation, with updates on habitat restoration projects and Council events. We hope to see you there!


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