On a recent Saturday morning, sixteen HCPC volunteers showed up to make a difference for local wildlife. We planted native trees and shrubs to improve the habitat in the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area.
This restoration planting is part of a long-term project to return the marsh to a more natural condition. Last spring, we planted native willow cuttings along the banks of Ladd Creek. The creek was re-constructed from a straightened ditch into a meandering stream channel. This November, we planted a variety of native plant species on a variety of restored landscapes in the wildlife area.
The Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area is located at the southwest end of the Grande Ronde Valley. At just over six thousand acres, Ladd Marsh is the largest remaining wetland in northeast Oregon. Unique and diverse plants grow in the area and it is a haven for wildlife. Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area is home for fish, frogs, salamanders, deer, elk and pronghorn antelope, and many different kinds of birds, insects and other animals.
Despite ominous weather forecasts, the morning was mild as planting volunteers arrived. We fortified ourselves with delicious quiche, muffins and fruit donated by Mary, Max and Sandy. Sipping on coffee and tea, we learned about the project from Winston Morton of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. We headed out into the Wildlife Area and began to plant seedlings. I’ve planted a lot of trees in a lot of different places and I can tell you that the Ladd Mash soil can be stubborn when you’re trying to convince it to open up a hole. Nevertheless, shovels opened holes for the seedlings and the planters placed the young plants in their new homes in the marsh. Quaking aspen, black cottonwood, red-twig dogwood, and black hawthorn plants soon dotted the landscape.
I checked on the willows that we planted last spring, and I was glad to see that almost all of them had sprouted new growth since we planted them. I know that when I visit Ladd Marsh in the future I will looking to see all of these new plantings grow up into a new ecosystem.
Story and Photo by Brian Kelly, Restoration Coordinator