Northwest NEWS

December 7, 1998

Home & Garden

Hedgerows for Salmon

The Snohomish Conservation District has begun a new program to give landowners a permanent solution to seasonal replacement of fences due to flooding and high water.

   The project, "Hedgerows for Salmon," will install hedgerows along rivers and streams that seasonally overflow the banks. The project is funded by a grant and is at no cost to landowners for participation.

   Throughout the English countryside, hedgerows have been used for years to divide crop fields, pastures, and to retain livestock. Traditional English hedgerows are typically composed of black hawthorn, a thick, thorny shrub that makes an impenetrable barrier to livestock and supplies birds and wildlife with food and shelter during the winter.

   By applying similar principals to farms in Snohomish county, the district hopes to utilize hedgerows as "living fences" along rivers. When mature, these living fences will not only retain livestock, but also decrease streambank erosion and restore salmon habitat.

   Unlike English hedgerows, several species of shrubs in each hedgerow will be used. This will create a dynamic hedgerow that is specifically adapted to the soil, sun, and water resources of the location. Landowners will also notice an increase in wildlife and birds due to the hedgerow.

   To participate, landowners must own property adjacent to the Snohomish, Skykomish, or Snoqualmie rivers or adjoining tributaries. Landowners must also have livestock that use the pasture all or part of the year.

   For more information about this project or to schedule a site visit, contact Jamie Bails at 425-335-5634, ext. 106.