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Posted on July 18, 2022 at 10:19 AM by Jordan Mead
It is high summer here in the High Country. The annual flush of greenery and new growth is a welcome sign of life. Locals and visitors alike are making the most of it and getting outside to enjoy the summer sun and all the activities that come with it. Anglers are snagging brook trout, hikers are busy identifying summer wildflowers, and off-road enthusiasts are firing up their side by sides. If you have been up Tiger Road this summer, you may have noticed some new growth along the Swan River where restoration crews were busy last summer and fall installing the new river channel, spreading top soil, and seeding. While this is a welcome site and a great sign of the early successes of the restoration work, the young grasses and fresh soil along this stretch of river are very fragile. If you are recreating in the Swan River area, please keep in mind that the entire Reach B Restoration site is currently closed to all users, including motorized users, anglers, dogs, hikers, and bicycles. Travel in this area can trample sensitive grasses, stress aquatic organisms, and cause excessive erosion in this new habitat. Please spread the word and help ensure the long-term success of the Swan River Restoration by respecting the closure in this area. The closure will be in effect for at least two full growing seasons prior to being opened for public access. Stay tuned for updates and more information on the Grand Opening of Reach B!
A majority of the earth work on Reach B was completed in the summer of 2021, but there is still more to be done! Gravel operations on the Swan were completed as of July 1, 2022. Final grading and top soil spreading was completed on the gravel mining site last week by operators from Tezak Heavy Equipment. The stage is now set for the final step in the restoration plan for Reach B. In September, crews from Western States Reclamation will be installing over 75 riparian and upland planting pocket along the river corridor. These pockets are shallow, pre-excavated pits that will be back filled with top soil, planted with trees and woody shrubs, and mulched. Grouping these planting together in small depression will help to hold onto valuable moisture and nutrients that these species need to establish and survive.
In addition to the planting pockets, potted willow shrubs will also be placed on the outside of each river bend to further stabilize the banks and to provide shade in the stream channel for aquatic organisms. These willows were grown from local cuttings to ensure that the new plants will be well adapted to the harsh, high-elevation environment on the Swan River. Keep an eye out for the revegetation crews and for more Blog updates in the near future, including volunteer opportunities. Thanks for reading and continuing to support the restoration work on the Swan River. Cheers! - Jordan Mead, Resource Specialist