Monthly Archives: March 2019

Changsha Baxizhou Island Wetlands: 5 Years Later

I starting to imagine what emergent wetland habitats would look and feel like on this barren sand island in the Xiang River with the SWA Group in 2012. It started with just a sketch…

Through careful hydrologic and grading analysis, we constructed a framework where park visitors and local flora and fauna could flourish. On a recent visit this March 2019, it was amazing to see how this site has evolved. Wetland habitats have staked their ground within a very dynamic river landscape. Active deposition and erosion are visual features still making this “park” feel wild and fluid. Below, habitat wood was added to help jump start the natural process of decay which provides much needed habitat structure and carbon inputs to the site soils. I will report back in another 5 years!

Skagit EnvironmentalBank, WA: Man-made beaver dams doing their thing.

Prior to Army Corps anti-logjam crusade in the late 1800s, the Skagit River Valley was a beaver and salmon playground (an excerpt from Ben Goldfarb’s recent book Eager).  Government Land Office (GLO) surveys between 1866 to 1895 (below) document “willow swamps” and “lagoons”, clearly the handy work of beavers. They created diverse wetland complexes along Nookachamps Creek floodplain, which encompasses the current Skagit Environmental Bank property (390 ac) in Washington State.

To reverse a century of agricultural drainage practices and restore wetland hydrology on this piece of property, a series of channel spanning wood weirs were constructed in 2016 to emulated beaver dams. They collect fines, provide much needed fish habitat, raise surface water elevations, and thus increase wetland hydrology.

Any yes, with the sound of leaky water, the beavers have returned (below)! We have done our best to restore basic structure to this site, now it is up to the locals to do the rest.