Doing the Right Thing(s)

Back in August, we went back to visit one of our cooperators, Bill Cayford, who is the type of guy who just wants to do the right thing with his land.

Bill has 20 acres total, half of which is pasture and open space. It includes an area cleared for his home, a permeable sports court, and grazing land for horses. He once had cows as well. The other half of his property is forested. Running through the middle of his property is Church Creek, a salmon-bearing stream. 

   Bill Cayford looks out at his newly planted riparian buffer.

 Bill Cayford looks out at his newly planted riparian buffer.

He bought the property 30 plus years ago because his parents had a place across the road, and he wanted to be close to them. Before retiring, Bill worked for 38 years at Kimberly-Clark. When he saw our outreach postcard to improve Church Creek for fish and wildlife, he said, “Sure, come on out!”

From our first site visits in 2014, he was having resource issues including a muddy hillside from northwest rains, and horses with full access to Church Creek. Additionally, without plant cover, the creek water temperature was rising, which makes it uninhabitable for salmon. The fish that were there were easily snagged by herons because they were so easy to see.

As for the fish in the creek, he has typically noticed them around Thanksgiving—or the second half of November. In 2015, he said he did not see any. In 2016, he saw some. “With all of the positive changes to their environment,” Bill said, “I hope for a good return in 2017.”

District Implemented Items:

  • Riparian buffer (about 35 feet on each side of Church Creek)
  • Exclusion fencing
  • Livestock bridge

On my recent visit, seven American Shetland horses traveled across the livestock bridge for the FIRST time! They then grazed on the other side which prompted Bill to joke “The grass is always greener on the other side.” He also leases another pasture to a woman who teaches children how to ride horses.

Thanks to Bill for being a super-willing participant in bettering the land around him.

Want to learn more about restoration opportunities on your property? Visit our Sound Nature Program page.

Great outcomes post riparian and habitat restoration:

  • Runoff from the hillside is now filtered before it drains into Church Creek. 
  • The water quality of Church Creek has been improved for salmon and other fish.
  • Healthy habitat has been established for other creatures and birds.

Positives from Bill’s perspective:

  • He enjoys the additional birds that are around. 
  • He occasionally has deer and coyote. 
  • He likes the berries we planted, which bring more pollinators. 
  • The horses have more land to graze.

By Kari Quaas, Media & Outreach Specialist | From Volume 28: Issue 2 of The Nexus