Projects and Research
Drift Creek Riparian Restoration
Drift Creek, a tributary to the Siletz watershed, provides important spawning and rearing habitat for native salmonids and contains populations of Chinook and Coho salmon, winter Steelhead and Cutthroat trout. Populations of these and other species have been significantly reduced over the past 60 years, as a result of timber harvest, road construction and other activities.
To help salmon, the USFWS and its partners are restoring
Climate Change Impacts to Tidal Wetlands
A team from Oregon State University and the US Geological Survey conducted research at the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge to better understandimpacts to tidal wetlands along the west coast of the US.
Siletz Bay NWR was added to a west coast-wide network ofsites developed by USGS researchers. With over two dozen sites in California, Oregon and Washington, the network enables a coast-wide comparison of sea-level rise impacts on tidal marsh habitats. At Siletz Bay NWR, high-accuracy RTK GPS produced digital elevation models and conducted vegetation surveys across Millport Slough and the Siletz Keys areas. Using these data, and information about sedimentation rates in past decades from deep sediment cores, the team modeled how different sea-level rise scenarios impact the distribution and composition of tidal marshes.
Tidal Marsh Restoration
While some refuge lands are acquired in a pristine state, other lands have been modified and require habitat restoration to reach their full biological potential. Restoration can take many forms, including planting native vegetation and restoring natural hydrological function to streams and tidal marshes using heavy equipment. Oregon has lost more than 75 percent of its salt marshes, a vital habitat for many species of wildlife and fish such as Coho Salmon. Habitat restoration efforts have focused primarily on these diked tidal wetlands at Siletz Bay.
Removing the dikes brings back the influence of daily tidal cycles and restores the natural hydrology of the marsh. Native plant species recolonize the marsh, sinuous tidal channels re-form, and fish return to inhabit historic and newly-created breeding and rearing areas.