Rogue River Watershed Council's "Release & Recruit" Riparian Rehabilitation Strategy

Crystal Nichols ·
14 March 2023

The Rogue River Watershed Council (RRWC) is a non-profit organization based in southern Oregon whose mission is to enhance resilience in Rogue River watersheds through ecological restoration and engagement with community partners.

A main focus of RRWC restoration is riparian rehabilitation, because over the course of time, and as a result of development, noxious weeds also known as invasive species or nonnative species have been introduced into ecosystems where they did not evolve. In an effort to restore the native plant community there are various restoration actions that help invasive species management in the riparian (streamside) area.

RRWC uses a rehabilitation strategy called "Release & Recruit." This approach involves controlling noxious weeds with chemical and mechanical methods (Release) while preserving the existing and sprouting native plant community. Once noxious weeds, such as heavy Armenian (Himalayan) blackberry infestation, are not out-competing the native plants for light and nutrients natural recruitment can thrive again (Recruit).

The most important benefit of this strategy is the forest community itself is dictating where species grow and survive the best, more resiliency is inherently built into the forest, the seed source is definitely adapted to that localized place, and the plant densities are appropriate and orders of magnitude more than could be planted. This strategy also has huge cost and effort savings for plant procurement, planting, watering, and any protection used for browsing pressure.

Using IAN’s vast library of symbols, RRWC developed the conceptual diagram video below that shows how the riparian forest changes in response to this rehabilitation strategy!

Next Post > Lessons learned from a two and a half year project on the Upper Rio Grande

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