The Almeda Fire took out a lot of invasive overgrowth, offering the opportunity to establish native plants
Restoration work continues at Ashland Pond, a 22-acre city-owned open space that burned in the Almeda Fire on Sept. 8, 2020.
The riparian corridor along Bear Creek is being restored by the Lomakatsi Restoration Project, along with help from Ashland Parks & Recreation, The Freshwater Trust, the Inter-Tribal Ecosystem Restoration Project (ITERP), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Rogue River Watershed Council.
Ashland Pond (sometimes referred to in the plural, though there’s only one pond) near the confluence of Bear Creek and Ashland Creeks is below Quiet Village on the northside of Ashland. The trailhead to the site is at the end of Glendower Street. Originally a quarry used for a local road project in the 1960s, work to restore the area began in 2008, aided by help from students at Helman Elementary School.
In coming months, Lomakatsi plans to work with partners and the community on an ecocultural restoration effort to re-establish a diversity of native trees and shrubs along the creek to enhance habitat value for salmon and other wildlife, according to a social media post published last week. The project will employ tribal members to integrate cultural beneficial native plants of importance to tribal communities into the restoration efforts.
Recently Lomakatsi’s riparian crew and inter-tribal workforce, a combined crew of 10 members, started the latest phase of post-fire restoration at Ashland Pond, under a contract with The Freshwater Trust.
After a year of planning and observing natural regeneration, crews began felling a few selected dead hazard trees that could endanger restoration workers, and removed dead and fallen plant materials within a 50-foot buffer along Ashland Creek, clearing the ground for new plantings.
Visitors to the area will see piles of slash from these efforts, which will be burned in March. Beginning in the next couple weeks, Lomakatsi will plant 5,000 native trees and shrubs and install an irrigation system. Invasive species will be removed at regular intervals for the next several years until the native plantings become established.
Though a significant portion of native vegetation planted and stewarded over the years burned in the Almeda Fire, some survived due to our regular maintenance, including cutting back blackberries in restored areas, according to the post.
“The fire presents a unique opportunity to accomplish more restoration in areas where the fire removed dense thickets of blackberry, preparing the area for new plantings,” the post states.
Dogs are welcome on the nearly mile-long loop around the pond, but should be leashed at all times, according to Parks & Recreation, to minimize disturbance of birds and other wildlife.
Source: Lomakatsi Restoration Project Facebook page, Ashland Parks & Recreation Park Views column. Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at firstname.lastname@example.org.