On Friday, September 25, OHA held a special edition of Highland Wonders – a drive-in movie screening of The Beaver Believers, a feature documentary. It was a clear, cool autumn evening with the moon hanging in the sky, and we were able to gather (while maintaining social distancing precautions) to watch this inspiring film. If you missed it, reach out to director Sarah Koenigsberg through her website, https://www.thebeaverbelievers.com/ to find out how you can see this fantastic film. You too, can be a beaver believer!
An Edu-tainment event about People and Beavers Rebuilding Watershed Resilience …Naturally!
METHOW BEAVER PROJECT & OKANOGAN HIGHLANDS ALLIANCE are pleased to invite you to join special guests Julie Vanderwal, Ken Bevis, Sandy Vaughn & Sarah Koenigsberg for an evening of music, engagement, joy & learning about people & beavers teaming up for watershed restoration!
For more info www.methowbeaverproject.org General Admission – Suggested Donation $10
On Friday, November 1, John Crandall shared “Why Floodplains Matter and what we are doing locally to restore them,” with a crowd of 70 at the Community Cultural Center of Tonasket. For decades, floodplains and wetlands were viewed as “wasted” space and they have been diked, filled, drained, mined, and otherwise altered to make room for increased human activity. These activities disconnect floodplains from adjacent streams, degrading habitat and leaving wildlife, fish, and water to deteriorate. Why do these floodplains matter — what services do they provide, not only for fish and wildlife, but for humans too? What can we do to bring them back into a healthy condition? John Crandall returned to the Highland Wonders series to help answer these questions and to share about a variety of projects happening in Okanogan County that are aimed at restoring floodplain processes and making our aquatic ecosystems healthier — from the quality and quantity of our water to the abundance of our fish and wildlife.
John shared videos and photos depicting the ways that floodplains interact with their waterways, and how spring flooding depends on the shape and structure of the surrounding landscape. Floodplains are crucial to the lifecycle of many fish, who time the hatching of their young to coincide with spring floods because of the protection, food, and downstream push that floodplains and high water provide to young fish. In many areas, human activity (such as road building) has disrupted or changed the structure of the floodplains, reducing their size and cutting fish off from their traditional rearing grounds and/or travel corridors. Projects throughout Okanogan County are working to restore floodplain functionality, to reconnect streams and rivers with their floodplains and provide ways for fish to access flooded areas.
Things seem to be changing in the West – snowpack levels are lower than they used to be, and the snowpack melts earlier in spring. Fire seasons are longer and more severe. Megafires, wildfires over 100,000 acres, now occur more often, causing wide-ranging impact on homes, communities, and wildlands. These changes are expected to continue, and we need to increase the fire resiliency of our wildlands, while also completing defensible space work around homes and communities.
For the last year, Kent Woodruff, a retired US Forest Service biologist from Winthrop, has been engaging people across the west in discussions about what we can do to soften the impacts of climate change. As our already dry landscape and water resources become impacted by climate change, this topic will be increasingly relevant to our ecological and human communities.
Life has been on an immense journey through time, and it turns out that much of the evidence for that journey is all around us in the natural world. On this short hike we will look for the evidence that the plants, animals and even the rocks have changed over time, creating ever more complex ecological relationships and ever richer ecosystems. This walk offered a condensed version of a 5-day program on this subject that Dana taught last summer in the Methow Valley.
Dana Visalli, botanist and editor of “The Methow Naturalist,” led a guided hike along a hidden canyon connecting the Burge Mountain road and the Highlands Nordic Sno-Park near Havillah.
This presentation on February 5th, 2016, outlined how OHA is preserving the Lost Lake wetland, making the site available to researchers, and teaching youth about the value and function of wetlands, using Lost Lake as an example. Delve with us here into the depths of this gem, and take a look at the array of botanical wonders that thrive at the Preserve…