1/13 Fish Creek Stream Restoration, Idaho
On a sunny late October day in 2013, Hancock employees cooperated with the Twin Lakes Improvement Association (TLIA) and local community members in north Idaho to continue work on a multi-year project aimed at restoring stream banks. Fish Creek runs through agricultural fields as it flows towards Twin Lakes, and the banks have little vegetation left along the stream due to historic livestock grazing. Since 2011, volunteers have worked to restore over 1,200 feet of stream banks. This year, they installed 1,500 feet of cattle exclusion fencing and reconstructed and reinforced six sections of stream banks. This included the installation of rock and log “barb” structures which slow and gently divert the water flow at curvatures in the stream banks. In addition, volunteers planted thousands of native trees, shrubs and grasses to allow nature to reinforce the stream banks and provide future shade. Over time, these efforts will improve water quality and riparian conditions by reducing erosion and sediment delivery to the creek and providing shade to lower water temperatures. Improved water quality will provide countless benefits to all those who live and recreate at Twin Lakes.
2/13 Big Sheep Creek, Washington
In November 2014 in the remote northeast corner of Washington state, Western Rivers Conservancy purchased 2,440 forested and wetland acres from the Hancock Timber Resource Group. The primary feature of the landholding is Big Sheep Creek, a drainage that flows from Canada’s Monashee Mountains and snakes its way south and just over the border into this tract that is covered by dense willow wetlands, coniferous forests, and open meadows. The acquired area, which was subsequently transferred to the U.S. Forest Service, helped consolidate the Colville National Forest by providing over four miles of protection for a critical wildlife corridor benefiting moose, grizzly bears, Rocky Mountain elk, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep traveling between Canada and the United States. The permanent protection of the stream and its surrounding wetlands also supports habitat for mountain lions, foxes, pygmy shrews, Townsend’s big-eared bats, beavers pine martens, and numerous bird species. Big Sheep Creek is also home to rare redband, rainbow, and bull trout. The project area includes a stretch of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, a 1,200 mile trail running from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean, ensuring perpetual protection and public access.
3/13 Oakmulgee “Mountain Longleaf Pine” Ecosystem Restoration Project, Alabama
The Alabama chapter of The Nature Conservancy, along with assistance from the Open Space Institute, in November 2014 acquired 1,419 acres of mountain longleaf pine habitat within the Oakmulgee district of the Talladega National Forest. Mountain longleaf pine, a variant of coastal longleaf pine, historically occupied the inter-stream uplands of the piedmont and mountain regions of Alabama and depended on fire in the habitat to sustain this ecosystem. The lands, which were ultimately transferred to the U.S. Forest Service, provide an important link to large-scale mountain longleaf pine restoration efforts on federal lands. The restoration supports many at-risk species including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Both species are now being reestablished in their historic range as a result of restoration efforts from conservation groups and both public and private landowners.
4/13 Cahaba River Streamside Management Zone Restoration, Alabama
On October 15th, 2014 Hancock Forest Management and the Cahaba River Society (a local environmental advocacy group) collaborated to implement a streamside forest restoration project on the Cahaba River near Birmingham, Alabama. The streamside areas were located behind the Hewitt-Trussville Middle School, and had been cleared of trees several years earlier to facilitate a county sewer line construction project. The Cahaba River was suffering from erosion of its banks as well as a lack of filtration from rainfall runoff. In addition, the lack of trees was contributing to elevated water temperatures which can be detrimental to aquatic ecosystems in the stream. Forty six volunteers from Hancock, Manulife and the Cahaba River Society assisted with the restoration project, which involved planting native tree species such as American sycamore, black willow, green ash, red and white oaks and loblolly pine. Roughly 150 trees were planted along the river to restore the forest buffer.
5/13 Dismal Nitch, Washington
Dismal Nitch was the small cove, or nitch, on the lower Columbia River where Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery hunkered down in a storm for seemingly endless days and nights in November, 1803. The time spent on the wind-swept banks was some of the most discouraging, dangerous, and disagreeable faced during their expedition. Hancock Timber Resource Group joined with The Conservation Fund to preserve the Dismal Nitch site for the National Park Service, providing an important piece in the patchwork of lands along the Lewis and Clark Trail that are being preserved for future generations.
6/13 Snoqualmie Forest, Washington
Serving as the buffer between the Greater Seattle metropolitan area and the Cascades’ alpine wilderness, the Snoqualmie Forest contains two major river forks, numerous lakes, diverse wildlife populations, and mountains nearing 5,000 feet. Hancock Timber Resource Group joined with King County, supported by Cascade Land Conservancy, to place the development rights to 90,000 acres in public ownership. The agreement, one of the nation’s largest land conservation actions so close to a major metropolitan area, forever preserves this working forest from the increasing pressures of development.
7/13 Klickitat River, I, Washington
Columbia Land Trust has acquired 15 miles of Klickitat River frontage from Hancock Timber Resource Group, conserving it in perpetuity. The property, which includes an old forest haul road, contains critical spawning, migration, and rearing habitat for federally threatened steelhead, Chinook salmon, and Coho salmon. The section of river includes five parcels containing 480 acres in all. The purchase ensures that this habitat will continue to support not only fish but also migratory birds and one of the largest breeding populations of threatened Lewis’ woodpecker in Washington state. The 480 acres, in the heart of the 14,000-acre Washington State Klickitat Wildlife Area, are surrounded primarily by wild lands. Columbia Land Trust’s stewardship of the property and road will restore fish access to backwater channels and ensure long-term protection of some of the highest riparian habitat diversity within the watershed. The area, known for natural beauty, fishing and recreation opportunities, will continue to be open to recreational users.
8/13 Klickitat River, II, Washington
A consortium of buyers which included the Columbia Land Trust, The Conservation Fund and the Washington Department of Natural Resources has acquired a section of the federally designated wild and scenic Klickitat River which contains numerous federally and state-listed species and species of concern. This 2,400 acre section of the Klickitat River Corridor has rugged terrain is home to many rare plants, mule deer, bear, mountain goats, and golden eagles. The river contains resident populations of trout as well as migratory steelhead and salmon.
Photo credit: Brian Chambers
9/13 Pond of Safety, New Hampshire
During the Revolutionary War, Pond of Safety offered refuge for American soldiers captured and freed by the British. Today, five streams provide over 10 miles of special riparian habitat that supports bear, coyote, moose and several boreal species of birds. In 2001, the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, the Trust for Public Land and the towns of Jefferson and Randolph, New Hampshire, worked with Hancock Timber Resource Group to protect 13,500 acres surrounding Pond of Safety. Through land sales and a conservation easement, Pond of Safety now links two tracts of the White Mountain National Forest.
10/13 Tumbledown Mountain, Maine
Three-peaked Tumbledown Mountain and alpine lake are one of Maine’s most accessible and popular outdoor recreation destinations. Tumbledown provides spectacular views of the surrounding rugged high-elevation forests that sustain fragile alpine vegetation. To preserve the landscape surrounding Tumbledown Mountain and lake, the Maine chapter of the Trust for Public Land purchased 11,800 acres from Hancock Timber Resource Group in 2001. Eventually, 7,000 acres will be conveyed to the Maine Bureau of Parks and Land, while the remaining 4,800 acres will be protected through conservation easeme
11/13 Texas Canyonlands, Texas
The “Canyonlands” of Southeast Texas is an area that is extremely rich in species diversity along with being very geologically unique. The uniqueness is largely due to the changes in land type that occur over relatively short distances. The lands moving from west to east begin with high forested bluffs that were historically the bluff line of the ancient Neches River floodplain. These bluffs have been eroded over hundreds of years by natural events leaving steep slopes that fall precipitously into forested ravines. Each ravine can be somewhat unique in shape and vegetation, but each one typically has a cold water spring that originates at the base of the bluff and head of the ravine. These freshwater springs slowly form into clear running streams that flow eastward as the ravines gradually widen into the upper terraces of the river. This area of the forest is covered with beech, magnolia, and white oak alongside ferns, shade-loving wildflowers, and other rare forest flora such as trillium and mandrake. The streams eventually flow into the lower terraces and floodplains of the Neches River, initially forming shallow depressions and then larger sloughs and swamps covered with aging groves of cypress and tupelo gum. In October, 2010, The Conservation Fund purchased 903 acres of the Canyonlands from the Hancock Timber Resource Group. These lands were subsequently integrated into the Big Thicket National Preserve so that they might continue to be conserved and enjoyed by the public in perpetuity.
12/13 Piney Grove Preserve, Virginia
In a dramatic attempt to prevent the extinction of the red-cockaded woodpecker in Virginia, The Nature Conservancy invested $2.2 million to protect the bird’s only remaining population in the state. The first purchase of 1,526 acres of woodpecker habitat in Sussex County from Hancock Timber Resource Group was completed in 1999. In 2000, a sale of 1,161 acres expanded the Preserve making it the largest privately funded project in Virginia Chapter history.
13/13 Coosa County, Alabama
Approximately 9,800 acres on and around the Coosa River will be protected permanently for recreational use by the citizens of Alabama. The property, which has several miles of frontage along the Coosa River, and the Hatchet and Weogufka Creeks, is centrally located in Coosa County between Birmingham and Montgomery, two of the state’s largest population centers. The acquisition also will allow the state to protect and eventually extend a rare mountain longleaf pine ecosystem which is inhabited by endangered red cockaded woodpeckers. Under the agreement, the state plans to extend the existing mountain longleaf pine ecosystem by roughly an additional 3,000 acres. The property will continue to be part of the state’s Coosa Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The Coosa WMA has been in continuous operation since 1952 and represents the oldest WMA established in cooperation with the forestry community.