Freshwater Farms Reserve
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In 2005, the Land Trust purchased 54 acres of bottomland pasture from neighboring Freshwater Farms Nursery to facilitate a wetland restoration and enhancement project and to maintain agricultural uses. In 2012, NRLT acquired the 20-acre Freshwater Farms Nursery property reuniting it with the Freshwater Farms Reserve for a total of 74 acres.
Located in an area historically dominated by tidal wetlands, the property was converted to pasture in the early 1900’s to support the growing agrarian culture in Humboldt County. Wood Creek, which runs through the property, meets with Freshwater Slough and is part of the larger Humboldt Bay tributary complex. The Land Trust, recognizing the need to reclaim wetland habitat that is vital to the successful rearing of salmon and steelhead, as well as other wetland-dependent species, worked with numerous public and private groups to design and implement the restoration. For details on the Freshwater Farms Reserve project click here.
Elements of the restoration included: removal of a wooden-flap tide gate; construction of 3,200 feet of slough channels; removal of a 300-foot berm on the north bank of Wood Creek; construction of three habitat ponds; replacement of an old, crushed culvert with a modified flatbed trailer bridge; construction of tidal hummocks (shallow hills subject to tidal inundation); and revegetation of the entire project area with over 46,000 native wetland plants. All but the last activity were completed in late 2009. The planting phase began in late March and was completed by mid-April, 2010.
The Land Trust has also continued to work with a local rancher to improve and maintain 20 acres outside of the project area for agriculture. In addition, the Land Trust hosts regular school and public field trips to the property to educate our community on wetland ecology, restoration, and productive, multiple-use land management.
In 2015, NRLT completed a 0.75 mile nature trail, allowing daily access for community members. The Freshwater Nature Trail offers ample opportunities to identify native plants and trees, view birds of prey and other wildlife, learn about the local history and ecology, go boating from the non-motorized boat launch, view the restored area from a raised boardwalk, and take in the impressive views of the Kneeland Mountains and adjacent pastures.
NRLT has done some additional capital improvements on the property including: rehabilitating the historic Graham-Long Dairy Barn and rejuvenating the native plant nursery and garden. NRLT is also in the process of a second phase restoration project on Wood Creek, which will create additional habitat for salmonids upstream of the Phase 1 restoration. For more details on the Freshwater Farms Reserve property click here.