Last March, 13 Nature Conservancy staff, many for the first time, were introduced to Ellsworth Creek Preserve. Here, staff members continued the efforts of revitalizing healthy riparian areas along the creek to improve chum and coho salmon nurseries. The projects on this cool and wet spring day on the Washington Coast focused on planting a healthy food buffet for the beaver population.
Quena Batres, volunteer and community engagement manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Washington chapter, helped organize the outing. She saw the activity as strengthening the forest as well as staff camaraderie. Batres explained, “It’s important to build the memory of working on the land and relate it to our work at The Nature Conservancy.” She noted that staff are encouraged to continue to take the opportunities to immerse themselves in TNC’s preserves to ground themselves in the work they do.
Kyle Smith, the Washington chapter’s forest manager, has been connected with the Ellsworth Creek Preserve for 15 years. Each time he visits he learns something new about the area. While guiding this adventure, he kept thinking about the intuition of beaver and the immense ripple effect beavers have on hydrology, how water moves in relationship with the land, within Ellsworth Creek, which flows out to Willapa Bay. To continue the healthy outcomes of beavers influencing the hydrology, they need to have access to suitable trees. Where tall old-growth giants are revered at Ellsworth, it’s essential to also have softer and smaller trees that provide the food sources and habitat that beavers need.