A diverse group of organizations and individuals known as the Jetty Creek Working Group have agreed on a collaborative framework to conserve and manage the lower portion of the Jetty Creek watershed. The milestone marks three years of effort and begins the next phase of work toward long-term stewardship via conservation easements or similar methods.
The lower watershed - about 600 acres - is currently owned and managed by Lewis & Clark Timberlands, a holding of GreenWood Resources Inc. Including the upper portion, the 1,200-acre Jetty Creek watershed is the drinking water source for the Rockaway Beach community. GreenWood began managing the lower watershed in January 2017 and, as the working group came together to discuss conditions in the watershed, GreenWood volunteered a two-year moratorium on harvest and spray activities while the group explored opportunities for conservation. The working group met numerous times, including several hands-on field trips into the watershed. Successful outcomes to date include compilation and mapping of current conditions within the lower watershed, including land cover, stream classification, soil classification, slope and soil erodibility, and wetland inventory. Also completed is a fisheries study, a road and infrastructure inventory and erosion management plan, and several specific options for conservation easements and timber management.
In March 2020, the Working Group announced its action plan for moving forward toward long-term stewardship with the signing of a memorandum of understanding that includes GreenWood, the North Coast Land Conservancy, Sustainable Northwest, and local representatives.
In October, a habitat restoration project was initiated to restore a former forested wetland back to its original state. GreenWood’s contract biologist conducted a site visit and delineated the extent of the wetland. A planting plan was developed to promote native plants that would thrive in a forested wetland and invasive plants were identified as target species for removal. Locations were selected where large woody debris placements would benefit stream health and promote fish habitat.
Over the next year, the Working Group will build on the completed watershed analyses to evaluate and prioritize conservation easements and other specific management options. With help from North Coast Land Conservancy experts, the group will also continue to build relationships with other partners, including potential funding sources for the identified long-term solutions.
Reflecting on the progress to date, Kaola Swanson, Forest Program Director of Sustainable Northwest, said “We are pleased to see continuing progress in this dialogue between the community and their neighbors. Sustainable Northwest supports a collaborative approach that balances the needs of the community, natural resource management, and economic outcomes. We hope to see more of this community-based approach to forest management along the coast.”
As a founding member of the working group, local resident Sharon Smith said “The framework is a wonderful step forward. This work is not easy, so we’re grateful that GreenWood and all parties are open to creative, collaborative ways to talk about and solve tough questions. One of the most important aspects of this agreement is the emphasis on building trust among stakeholders. Simply put, our goal all along has been to help protect water quality in this watershed for the benefit of the community, fish and wildlife, and downstream resources such as Nedonna Marsh and Nehalem Bay.”
GreenWood’s Stewardship and Community Engagement Coordinator, Chad Washington added “We at GreenWood Resources believe that collaboration with our neighbors and community members is an important part of natural resource management. This agreement is the first step toward building a working solution that meets the needs of our investors, community members, and the environment while providing renewable wood products.”
About GreenWood Resources, Inc.: GreenWood Resources is a globally diversified investment and asset management company specializing in the acquisition and stewardship of forestry assets. Backed by the power of science and people, GreenWood creates value for investors through rigorous forest management strategies in selected regions of the world. GreenWood manages the lower portion of the Jetty Creek watershed.
About the North Coast Land Conservancy: NCLC is the region’s land trust dedicated to preserving habitat, conserving land, and engaging people with nature. NCLC’s unique expertise in conservation and stewardship enable its staff to evaluate current conditions, potential easements, and funding applications.
About Sustainable Northwest: Sustainable Northwest is a conservation non-profit working at the intersection of economy, environment, and community. Since 1994, they have brought people together across the West to find natural resource solutions that work for people and nature. They are committed to increasing the number and scale of community forests in the Pacific Northwest. The organization is facilitating the Jetty Creek Working Group.
Learn more about the community forest approach at http://nwcommunityforests.org/