the singing falls waterfall singing falls logo text capella, the goat shepherd's constellation
The Sea
It Consumes
The Swarms



~~*  The Singing Falls Stream Restoration Project  *~~


image of author ϕ

~~*The Stream Chronicle Page*~~


This page is a blog dedicated to the project as it unfolds. It will continue to be the main focal point for current events with the project. The newest entries are here at the top.


~~*June 14 2008*~~

Launching New site. I hope to take this chroncile to the blog and maintain it there.

~~*June 2008*~~

Any amazing spring this year. The rains continue to flow here even as California declares a drought. There are Steelhead fry in abundance in the streams. The waters have been too turbid to determine if Coho fry are present. The fry are large enough now so that when the waters settle images can be taken. They will follow soon.


~~*May 2008*~~

The upper section of Joe Hall has just been finished. 61 additional logs have been pulled into the stream using a crew of young strong loggers and a “high line”. The page related to that week of work can be found here


I've taken on the task of the UBFAT fish barrier survey for three subwatersheds this summer. Still working on the electric fence. In over my head :).

~~*We Receive the AFS 2008 Team of the year award!*~~

Yep, I took a weak out of my busy spring schedule to go to Portland, Oregon. We received the national award at the annual American Fisheries Society western division conference. It was exciting and very educational. I've dedicated a full page to the topic here


~~*May 2008*~~

A large segment of the conservation area has been thinned for fire resilience and riparian health. Several acres of “dog hair” incense cedar has been thinned. It needs more trees taken out but I was concerned that the riparian area would get to warm if we extracted too many at once. I plan on using the cedar for fence cribbing. This involved about 80 hours of work.

I've purchased the electrical fence materials to protect the riparian zone and the young newly planted trees. I began training the goat herd and they are learning quickly.

~~*Spring 2008 Catch Up*~~

Has it been over a year????? Sheesh! Well, I have been very very busy. Watershed Council, Douglas County Forest Council, SURCP, stream restoration work and the farm.

All tolled we have planted 1500 shrubs and trees in the riparian zone. This includes Willows, Red Osier Dogwood, Douglas Fir trees, Incense Cedar, Sugar Pine, Port Orford cedar, several redwood trees, red cedar trees and last but not least 5 gingko biloba trees that I started from seed. I have plans to plant 50 Oregon dogwoods and 50 west coast elderberry trees this coming rain season (winter 2008-2009)

During August of 2007 we did a fish rescue with Steelhead numbers being double that of Coho Salmon. This is the exact opposite of the two previous years when there were twice as many coho salmon than steelhead sea run trout.

In late August we used Leland Crumptons skidder to adjust some of the logs placed by helicopter. It took one day and three men to tweak the log positions to better accommodate the restoration work.

Early September brought about a massive log placement in Brownie Creek just down the road. 210 full length logs were placed in stream. Coho were seen hiding beneath the wood last November

In September of 2007 a neighbor and myself removed two massive fish barrier boulders on Elk Creek. These boulders were dozed into the stream during the 1950's road improvements and posed as a serious fish barrier to anadromous fish. The elders of our village all complained about it. We rented a 60 lb. jackhammer the first day and the Forest Service rented another for the next two days. During that time we turned the boulders into rubble which was washed down stream last winter during high water.

~~*March 2007*~~

We have begun planting trees in and around the riparian zone. By March 15th we plan to have 350 conifers planted. The willows we have planted are surviving the rains. Currently we are just shy of a foot of water in the stream at the gage. We had a 1.5 foot event last week that seemed to wipe the willow planting out. Much to my surprise they remain standing and are now blooming!

~~*February 2007*~~

Stream monitoring continues. We planted more willow along the stream bank.

Stream depth readings continue and are recorded on a spread sheet.

~~*October 2006-January 2007*~~

There was an extremely poor Salmon Run in Elk Creek this year. The rains have come and the Coho migration season is over. We can give account for six salmon spot in the Elk Creek drainage. The Steelhead run is about to start and we are hoping it will be better results. The Steelhead is a sea run Rainbow Trout that is able to spawn and return to the ocean several times during its lifespan. During our fish rescues over the last couple of years there is a very high percentage (close to 15% ) of the juniors have been Steelheads. Images are available.

It is wonderful to see the instream work accomplishing its goal in spite of the poor showing of Salmon. With December's rains there is a substantial amount of gravel accumulating at strategic places. The log and rock weirs are very effectively scouring pools at their bases. For the purpose of securing private property there will be a minor addition of rock at one significant point to compensate for the aggregate materials the have built up there. Private property is involved and we are taking special care to avoid any problems. It is not unreasonable to make small adjustments, “just in case.”

I continue to monitor the stream depth and rain quantities.

I've begun planting trees in the riparian zone to fill the cover gaps in the overstory. So far 20 potted trees have been planted. These trees are not indigenous to this area. They are Port Orford Cedar and Coastal Redwoods. The Port Orford's are a wonderful but endangered coastal cedar species. I have seen both of these tree types successfully grown in this region so I am hoping they will place deep roots here at Singing Falls

The USFS fish biology and silviculture departments have broadcast native grasses in pasture areas and along the riparian zone. We also planted many willow bushes along the open areas of the stream in the hope of quick shade for the coming season. There is still a considerable amount of rain that can come before the precipitation season is over. The days have been warm and honey bees have started collecting pollen as of the end of January. There was quite a cold snap in January but the days were fairly warm.

We are developing a plan in consort with the Federal CREP program which will allow total control over the herd in relation to the riparian zone. We plan to install 4 strand electrical fence to sequester 12 acres of riparian area. the CREP representative and I GPSed the entire area. We should be hearing from them again soon.

~~*September 2006*~~

There was a lull is the project due to helicopter availability. The 2006 Summer fire season was a drain on resources all over the United States. Columbia Helicopter was awarded the contract for log placement. The pilot was an old Vietnam vet and so was the project manager so we hit it off just fine. The skill and speed with which the logs were placed can not properly be described here. The giant Chinook machine with dual propellers had a 250 foot tether hanging from it upon which was attached a set of giant grapple hooks. The simplest way to describe the operation is to say that that grapple seemed like an extension of the pilots hand. He did a fantastic job. Images are available in the image project galleries.

The log placement took place without any safety problems. There was quite an attendance of locals to observe the event. It took one hour and forty five minutes to distribute the wood. Because the overstory in the riparian zone is relatively thick, some of the logs will have to be maneuvered in the Spring of 2007. Overall we are very satisfied with the results.

We bored a 250 well for water to compensate for the ten year water lease. That was a great boon to Singing Falls. The gravity feed watering system will surely be missed but we have the consolation that there will be more water in the stream to maintain a viable ecology in the stream. In our view it is a small price to pay for what we are gaining in exchange. We are presently evaluating what pumping system to install. We are leaning on a hybrid system that can use solar panels or grid power. The well was installed using grant funds provided by the Nature Conservancy.

~~*August 2006*~~

The logs are being hauled to the staging area in our open meadow. The first several hundred feet of the stream will require excavator equipment. This will avoid complications caused by the power lines that transect the stream on the lower end.

The logs were hauled by a local self loader logging truck. As the logs were lifted off of the truck they are weighed on the truck scale and placed in bundles of approximately 9 tons (18000 lbs). That is a safe weight load for the helicopter. Several of these logs with root wads attached weigh in excess of ten tons.

Casey Baldwin the project lead meticulously marked the weight of it each log and its designated site placement number. As usual he did an excellent job. By the first week of August everything was ready. The logs that were to be placed by the excavator were loaded in close proximity to the places they would be used.

A substantial amount of time was spent clearing paths for the truck to access. Alexandra and I spent trimmed low hanging limbs and piled brush in preparation.

During the last week of August the excavator work was started. A local resident was awarded the bid. He contributed the boulders requested by the hydrologist from his own ranch. He was hired to truck them to the site and place them. It was a father/son operation.

~~*July 2006*~~

We have begun the process of gathering the large wood and skidding it to access roads for hauling. The plan is to accumulate 110 logs 55 feet long for placement in the stream. Many of these logs have root wads attached and are very substantial in girth. The wood is made up of three species of trees indigenous to this region. A few Yellow Pine, many Douglas Fir and several Incense Cedar trees are lined out for extrication.

The removal process has been contracted out to a local bidder. This conforms to our ideal of having the restoration work done in conjunction with boosting the local economy.

~~*June 2006*~~

We have done a fish rescue in relation to the stream project. Approximately 1800 junior Coho were captured out of the projected main impact site and replaced in various parts of the watershed. 700 of these were carried over in the pools of the riparian zone at Singing Falls. It was a lot of hard work but well worth it. Images are available in the project image galleries.

I am now officially on the board of directors of the Umpqua Basin Watershed Council,The Partnership for Umpqua Rivers. This is a three year duration position with involvement in restoring the watershed and especially fish habitat. The main focus of the watershed council at this time is fish barrier removal and habitat enhancement.

~~*Spring 2006*~~

The majority of the environmental assessments have been completed and implementation of the project should take place starting this August. We have submitted for grants to continue the restoration work up stream into the National Forest. This will include the upland forests.

There's been a very healthy spawning this year with many young coho thriving. There will be a fish rescue some time this June in preparation for the wood placement and excavator work.

The USFS gathered a team of specialists form around the state to give a final evaluation of the project plans. They got the grand tour here. The gave the local USFS project team an ~~*“A”*~~ for their designs. It was suggested and decided that the greater segment of the wood that is to be placed will distributed by helicopter. The logistics of the terrain make this a more economically viable option and will keep the project in the budget.

~~*January 2006*~~

The Oregon rains have returned perhaps. One old timer exclaimed,“This is the way it used to be all the time!” My only concern is that the heavy precipitation had churned up the Coho Redds. January was a busy month. We have had three salmon runs this year as compared to one last year.

Steady progress is being made on the restoration project here at Singing Falls. Tremendous strides have been made in rock wier designing and large wood placement design configurations are almost finished.

The NEPA aspect of the project is progressing well and we should know by March if there are any barriers to the restoration project.

Here's the report on the December instream survey by USFS fish biologist Calib Baldwin.

Although the stream conditions in Elk Creek were high and muddy for most of December, we were able to find a small window on December 13th and 14th to conduct spawning surveys on 5 miles of Elk Creek and tributaries. A total of 65 live fish, 10 carcasses and 46 redds (egg nests) were observed this year. Almost half of these (26 fish, 8 carcasses and 24 redds) were observed in Anderson, Brownie and Joe Hall Creeks. Overall, streams in the survey averaged 15.4 fish per mile and 9 redds per mile. In Elk Creek, fish were found to occupy all available spawning habitat,which is primarily two areas containing spawning beds. In Elk Creek there were 13.4 spawners and carcasses per mile and 6.8 redds per mile as compared with the tributaries which averaged 22.6 spawners and carcasses per mile and 16 redds per mile. This information illustrates the importance of the Elk Creek tributaries to overall coho production in the watershed. Based upon this information, the total run size in the Elk Creek watershed was approximately 340 fish and 198 redds.

An interesting note from the more intensively surveyed Joe Hall Creek is that three “waves” of coho were seen between November and December. Each wave was associated with a different high water event.

We would like to thank the landowners for providing permission to conduct these spawning surveys. Without your cooperation we would be able to gather this information.

I was invited to sit on the board of directors of the watershed council (Douglas County, Oregon) as an alternate for the “Director at Large”. After due consideration I have accepted the position with the hopes of advancing the cause of the health of the Umpqua rivers watershed. I'm grateful for the oportunity to serve in this capacity. We'll see were it goes. :)

This is my all time favorite short clip on our salmon habitat project. Taken from the Alexandra Creek tributary at Singing Falls.Singing Falls spawner heading up stream.

~~*December 2005*~~

December has arrived with a roar. We received several inches of rain in a matter of a couple of days. The stream bank reached bankfull just shy of the 1996 flood levels. The stream gage measured 1.90 tengths ft. which is approximately 1.4 tengths ft. rise overnight. When I read the gage I found three very large fish heading up Joe Hall Crk. within inches of the bank. I could have easily caught them. I've recorded the falls on mpgs. Sorry about the quality of the movies but I wanted to illustrate why the native americans called it singing falls. If you listen you'll here the pow wow drums beating in the furry of the torrents. The rest of the images are showing the turbid high waters. Here are the Singing Falls and Joe Halls Crk. images.

~~*November 2005*~~

This has been an very interesting month. First of all, on the 10th of November Liberation Day arrived . I had been waiting for this. Several good rain storms came in with at least 4 inches of rain in them total. During the storms I was unable to observe the fish due to turbidity of the water. They seemed to hug the bottom of the pools to avoid the turbulence of the surface water. The 10th is when I observed a few juniors had migrated several hundred feet down Alexandra Creek and were holed up in the deeper pools.

On the 16th of the month several very large Coho Salmon hens were spotted in Joe Hall Creek. I have noted that these hens are scoping out almost the identical spots in which last years hens built their nests (redds). The mpgs of nest building can be seen here.

The temperature graph for Summer 2005 of the confluence at Joe Hall and Elk Creek can be found here. I hope to have the data from Singing Falls posted soon.

We are currently monitoring the water depth of Joe Hall Creek using the gage we installed last Summer.

Substantial progress is being made on all fronts of the habitat restoration project. December should be a major effort for getting NEPA approval. A veritable army of scientists will be testing for various variables covered under the Environmental Protection Act. Presently a significant amount of work is going into designing the log and rock weirs that will be placed in stream.

~~*October 2005*~~

Singing Falls has begun to trickle and the small fish are responding to the extra oxygen in the water. Yearly, the initial water flow is a brackish color due to acidic conditions in the riparian zone up stream. By now large quantities of leaves are accumulating in the stream bed. When the rains begin to stimulate water flow these leaves form a kind of “tea” in the water. It doesn't take long for the stream to pick up momentum and clear cool October flows churn up the pools. There is an obvious increase in agility and activity by the fish in the pools. Octobers mpgs of the Steelhead and Salmon juniors can be found here.

~~*September 2005*~~

I've spent this month checking the progress of the fish on a frequent basis. They are developing quite nicely. The vast majority of the junior salmon are between 3 and 4 inches long with several larger and some smaller than that in size. It doesn't look like the Giant Pacific Salamander has cut too deep in the fish population through predation. The first half of the month has been fairly warm and the fish seem a little sluggish. They tend to hang out near the surface waiting for a tasty insect to wander by. September mpgs of the Steelhead and Salmon juniors can be found here.

~~*August 12, 2005*~~

We spent the better part of a week rescuing the junior salmon. We have lost hundreds of young fish to the stream drying up. The story with images is related here

~~*August 8,2005*~~

Water levels have dropped radically in the past few days due to high temperatures. The decision to do a fish count before any rescue efforts would be needed should be done. Some images and the results are posted here

~~*August 1, 2005*~~

Took pictures of the August small fish condition. They can be found here

~~*July 25-28, 2005*~~

Spent the week installing the Joe Hall Creek water level gage and doing a stream profile for Joe Hall Creek as it intersects our stewardship. The data will be posted as soon as it is available. The coho fingerlings are in abundance. The water level is rapidly dropping and the water temperature is rising. We will be keen on observing the temperatures and water levels in this critical period. Stream profile image for lower Joe Hall can be found here.

~~*July 15, 2005 *~~

Attended the Douglas County RAC meeting where we had two proposals for funding. The NEPA grant (National Environmental Protection Act) was approved along with the acquisition of funding to stabilize the Joe Hall Landslide. An html form of the presentation can be found here. (payco)


We have spent considerable time on several fronts with the project. Applications for grants to fund restoration have been submitted with good results so far. I hope to record just exactly what we've done in that arena in a separate web site section in the near future. Several grants have already been approved with a few more pending.

I've begun to attend various meetings that focus on watershed restoration and salmon habitat restoration. There are strategies being developed by a broad spectrum of interests to encourage, educate and assist private property owners in the complicated task of stream restoration. Through the watershed council and several stewardship meetings I have learned that there are reasonable methods to accomplish the job at hand.

Images of the coho as they mature and have been recorded on the web site. The index for images can be found at the salmon_progress.html page. The little tykes are growing rapidly.

Sections added or updated on this site as of June 30. The index pages contain links to updated materials not listed.

~~*April 10, 2005*~~

We've been very busy on several fronts and good progress is being made. Several visits from various federal government Forest Service agencies have taken place to evaluate the project since the last entry in this log. It's exciting. I find the scientists from the various disciplines associated with the Forest Service very knowledgeable. It's encouraging to see what often appears to me to be “common horse sense” validated by scientific research. Recently one department supervisor commented that “sometimes it takes a while for science to catch up to what the locals have been saying all along”.

After several inspections of the Joe Hall Aquatic drainage, a definitive plan is unfolding that is readily being accepted by significant contributors and agencies whose approval will be required in order to proceed. So far so good. 43 sites along the main salmon habitat improvement areas have been designated. An initial projection of treatments for each site has been delineated also. I've taken the effort to give each site its own individual log for information pertaining to it. These logs will contain official and unofficial before and after images along with text relating to the site's development and progress. It's a large undertaking. The initial basis for the log is set up with a series of unofficial images taken by Julie Hendricks, neighbor and a private property owner project participant (say that 5 x's fast ;) ). I feel these images are important since they show clearly what the turbidity of Joe Hall Creek looks like after a storm event.

~~*March 13, 2005*~~

I have created an html page with a map that defines the geological perimeters of the projects. You can find it here.

Joe Hall Aquatic Restoration Project and the Singing Falls Coho Habitat Restoration Project

~~*March 10, 2005*~~

Well, slow progress is being made on the project. Since the last entry the government scientists have looked the riparian zone over and the general consensus is that there is tremendous potential for the restoration. I haven't received any official response from them but a verbal comment of the prospects of bringing health back to the land are good.

Meanwhile the general consensus is that the year is heading for a severe drought. I've already decided that the survival of these fish will have significance long after my passing and I'd like to see them make it.

Our lifestyle is not an easy one and we are no longer young. It requires more work than most people realize in our sedentary culture. Still, I feel compelled to make a small mark of Life and a gesture of care toward the ground and water beyond what we have through good stewardship and husbandry practices. The earth has yielded its bounty to us for many years. Seed time and harvest, honey and clothing have all come from it. Fruits, wines and healing herbs have been ours in abundance.

Even more significantly we have learned deep secrets of the true meaning of life through observing and interacting with the elements of nature. Ours souls are literally bound up in the health of our home and soil. I've decided that I must make the time to give back extra to the earth in the hope of helping it carry its burden under the weight of ignorance and wrong. To be sure we have tried to be very careful to always enrich the soils of the gardens and orchard. We watch carefully not to let our shepherding efforts lean beyond what is needful on the pastures and hills. We have seen the hooves of the goats and sheep do more good than harm. Our opinion is to put more in than we receive. Everything benefits in this way. We have watched the seasons come and go. We have been cold and wet and tired. Some of our days have been hot and sweaty with fainting. If we deal gently with God's earth perhaps others may learn some lessons also. Nature seems to have always spoken the truth. We have not always been ready or able to understand. Is it strange to say I have shared its groaning?

~~*Jan. 10, 2005*~~

There was to be a convergence of “gists” here today but it was called off due to snow. Tiller-Trail Pass has 40 inches of new snow on it as of last Sunday. We rescheduled for Feb. 1. “Gists”? Biologists, Hydrologists, Geologists etc.

~~*Jan 2, 2005*~~

The Coho Run is quite extensive. Reports of spawning are covering an area that takes in south Douglas County, Oregon and beyond. The turbidity of Joe Hall Creek is very high this time of year as can be seen in the mpgs above.

Casey Baldwin (Forest Service Biologist) has graciously allowed me to have a copy of his DVD recording of Joe Hall and Dumont Creek salmon spawning. If I can I will try to make small mpgs of the movies and place them on site. It would be great just to illustrate the difference between turbid and non-turbid water. Then you will be able to see why I so much would like to improve the situation.

I am continuing to study the information I need to know to make proper decisions with regard to my involvement.

~~*Dec.30, 2004*~~

Spent the better part of the afternoon with Casey Baldwin, the Federal Fisheries Biologist. We took another tour of the riparian zone and discussed options for its recovery.

A comprehensive program of indigenous plant restoration, tree placement in the stream along with a synthetic beaver dam system seem like viable options for the project. We discussed means to manage the angora goat herd to minimize negative impact and at the same time to use them to keep the invasive non-native flora under control. It would really be great to be able to use the herd in the restoration project as goat herds have been used in other such projects. Ready made weed control! Intensive husbandry practices with the herd need to be in place for careful low impact. This is not alien to what we have been doing all along to protect the herd from predation by mountain lions. Only now we will keep an even closer watch on the plant forage usage. Plans have been initiated to allow a temperature monitoring device to be installed in the stream.

~~*Dec.25, 2004*~~

It's the end of the year and most of the Joe Hall Creek salmon are dying, having spent their energy propagating their species. We are trying to catch as many carcasses as we can to collect fish scale samples for C. Baldwin, the biologist. The daily trek along the riparian zone is encouraging and filled with hope.

I've downloaded a virtual library of information on stream restoration and salmon habitat building. This land is resilient and there is real hope of helping it along the way.

Posted images of the run on coho images - jpgs for public viewing.

~~*Dec.20, 2004 *~~

I took some short mpegs of one of the hens working a nest. I should be getting some dvd quality videos shortly. These simple videos illustrate nest building and guarding. To the upper right you can see the large amount of gravel moved by this female. She is a close to two feet long. You can see her tail out of the water in many of these images.

salmon_1.mpg  salmon_2.mpg salmon_3.mpg  salmon_4.mpg  salmon_5.mpg salmon_6.mpg



Stream Index


Stanley & Alexandra Petrowski
34620 Tiller Trail Hwy.
Tiller, Oregon 97484