A Bridge to Nowhere?

Alaska may have it's "bridge to nowhere," but Crippen Creek now has a bridge to somewhere. And that somewhere is the other side of the creek where 7 acres of our land has been sitting fallow for years. The bridge is courtesy of Wahkiakum County Conservation District through a grant from U.S Fish and Wildlife. It is one component of a large conservation program on our land that has been developing for 2 years. It all started shortly after we acquired the land and realized that we knew nothing about managing 15 acres with a creek that has a mind of its own and can become a raging river after a few days of heavy rainfall. With the intent of becoming good stewards of the land, we contacted the Conservation District to see if they could guide us. It turns out they were eager to work with us and all of our neighbors that live on the creek. Their goal was to improve the water quality of the streams and improve the habitat for fish and wildlife. Crippen Creek is a spawning creek for salmon and steelhead so it was a perfect candidate for their program. They chose our property to be a demonstration site since it lent itself to using so many components of their program. They peeled back the banks to a 3 to 1 slope, planted willow and grass and placed large woody structures in the creek to divert the water and dissipate its energy.

Here's a before picture of the creek bank during a heavy rain.

The creek bank after peeling it back

And why a bridge? So we can move livestock without crossing them through the creek and so we can manage several acres of trees that will be planted as part of the conservation program. Anyone want to come to a work party? We'll feed you and give you B&B Bucks.

It should be an interesting winter to see if the plan works as intended. Some people have a knee-jerk reaction to letting the government get involved with their land but our experience so far has been very positive. It's a shining example of a local government agency working for the taxpayers.