RESULTS ON THE GROUND
1,500 feet of Chamokane Creek has been improved, and the landowners and neighbors are better informed on the importance of a healthy riparian area. One clear success is that the landowners and the watershed council are extremely pleased and look forward to the riparian area and diverse vegetation improving in the future. Many of the neighbors continue to watch the project develop and are now showing interest in working on their own property. There were some pre-project water samples collected, but SCCD has yet to find funding for post-project monitoring to further document water quality improvements.
The major challenge was finding willing landowners to participate, considering the long history of mistrust among stakeholders within the watershed. It was the landowners’ trust in the local Conservation District that led them to participate in this project and implement practices to make demonstrable water quality improvements. As one SCCD Board Supervisor said, “You have to start somewhere—one successful project will spur interest in more projects.”
To learn more about projects involving private landowners, read Conservation in Washington: Powered by People – a collection of conservation district stories about successful natural resource projects on private lands across the state.