Going big for conservation!
Daniel and Julie Lee, owners of Wingham Farms, are protecting 31 acres of land adjacent to West Fork Dairy Creek and Whitcher Creek in western Washington County. By restoring vegetation along the sides of the creeks, the Lees are helping protect water quality in the Tualatin River watershed, as well as provide wildlife and pollinator habitat. Since the project began in 2015, over 200,000 native trees, shrubs, and flowers have been planted along the creeks.
This stream enhancement project is a 10-year partnership between willing landowners, Tualatin SWCD, Clean Water Services, the Farm Service Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The project at Wingham Farms is the largest streamside planting project on privately owned land that Tualatin SWCD has ever managed.
Simple solutions to tough problems:
This partnership project aims to establish healthy native plants along streams to create riparian buffers. Planting vegetation between surface water and the surrounding land has many benefits such as:
- Reducing soil erosion
- Filtering out pollutantsPollutants A substance that has negative effects on the environment.
- Lowering in-stream water temperature
- Restoring critical wildlife habitat
- Protecting biodiversityBiodiversity The variety of species present.
Improving the land for people and wildlife:
The bulk of Wingham Farms’ 100 acres is devoted to the production of pasture-raised meat, milk, and eggs. This is done with heritage breeds of chickens, ducks, beef and dairy cows, pigs, and goats — all chosen for their suitability to open-pasture grazing and foraging. Daniel and Julie are working to enhance on-farm biodiversity by planting pollinator hedgerows of native plants . The new trees and shrubs among their pastures serve as living fences that will control livestock movement, provide shelter, and offer year-round habitat for beneficial insects.
What was removed, and what was planted?
- The project began in 2015, with the clearing of weeds such as non-native blackberry bushes.
- Over the years, crews have planted over 200,000 trees, shrubs, and flowers of more than 35 native species!
- The remnant vegetation along the creeks at Wingham Farms also harbors a large population of Western wahoo, a rare native shrub, which was rescued from the invasive blackberries and incorporated into the project.
This project is an example of how conservation on working lands can be the next frontier in conservation, and Wingham Farms is helping to lead the way towards practical solutions.