Talk on Estuary Restoration
The decades-long effort to restore the Salmon River estuary will be the topic at the next meeting of Yaquina Birders & Naturalists, taking place on Thursday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m., in the meeting rooms of OSU Extension’s Lincoln County headquarters (1211 S.E. Bay Blvd.) in Newport.
The speaker will be Kami Ellingson, watershed program manager with the U.S. Forest Service. Her presentation is entitled “Salmon River Estuary: A Physical Transformation.”
Salmon River watershed is located in northern Lincoln and southern Tillamook counties. The basin, designated a United Nationals Biosphere Reserve, has a diverse ownership and management strategy that involves the Forest Service, Cascade Head Scenic Research Area (Congressional designation), The Nature Conservancy-owned and managed lands on Cascade Head, private industrial-forest uplands, Oregon State Parks, and rural residents and their county governments along the lower reaches of mainstem Salmon River. Residential and commercial development in the mid 1900s impacted the intertidal portion of the Salmon River estuary. For over 40 years the Siuslaw National Forest, with a diverse range of partners, has been acquiring tidal marsh in the estuary in order to bring back the tides. The estuary was restored incrementally from 1978 through 2017. Nearly the entire estuary is now restored to a natural, historic tidal regime, resulting in significant fisheries response and native biodiversity.
Kami Ellingson is a hydrologist with 20 years of field experience, ranging from landslide studies following the 1996 storm event in western Oregon, to road, stream, and estuary restoration. She has led the restoration of the Salmon River estuary since 2007 and has been recognized nationally and internationally for the success of the physical restoration and the collaborative partnerships. Ellingson received both her B.S. degree in Natural Resources Management and her Master’s in Forest Engineering and Hydrology from Oregon State University.