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Everyone Lives Downstream


ChinaCreek4_3-14_webWahanna Marsh, down by the baseball fields on Wahanna Road in Seaside, was the very first property North Coast Land Conservancy acquired and conserved, restoring the tide marsh and enlarging it to mitigate for the wetlands that were filled to build the ballfield. But that’s not where today’s story starts.


Photographer Neal Maine has been poking around in China Creek, on the hillside near Seaside Hospital. China Creek flows out of the forest above and into a pond, which drains into Wahanna Marsh, between Wahanna Road and Neawanna Creek, and from there, flows into the Necanicum Estuary and ultimately the Pacific Ocean. Up on China Creek, Neal found that beavers have reengineered the waterway, cutting down large willows and building dams that have created more ponds and stair-steps of a kind inviting to spawning coho salmon, down to the marsh where ducks dabble and Virginia rails furtively pursue their insect dinner.


It’s everything one would expect of a high-functioning coastal wetland, and it’s all happening inside the Seaside city limits.


Neal’s point in sharing these photos: everything important doesn’t happen only on our own habitat reserves. It starts upstream, in this case with the beavers’ wetland construction prowess, and simply flows through our conserved lands, where the benefits continue to accrue.


As Neal puts it, “The land trust property is downstream of all this action that delivers the good news.”


“It’s classic how all the pieces are fitting together” on China Creek, he says. “It’s right out of the beaver textbook.”



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