Marble creek is a seasonal creek that drains upland areas of Williams Creek and empties into the West Fork of Williams Creek, which is a coho and steelhead bearing creek. Marble creek runs through the center of Herb Pharm’s Farm between the display garden and bass pond. Over the years, channel scour and lateral erosion have removed soil around trees and scrubs that line this creek, and the culverts have become frequently overcome by high flows leading to flooding of adjacent fields.
This winter, in partnership with Williams Creek Watershed Council, a long term plan was developed to reduce erosion, establish new and enhance existing riparians areas and to develop potential seasonal habitat for riparian wildlife. Chuck Dahl downed most of the the dead or damaged trees on the farm, and Mark Disharoon worked with Chas Rogers and Dan (The Backhoe Man) Beausoleil to move them into position along the streambed, where they were placed to slow the water and keep the channel from reaching high velocity. Boulders and existing trees were used an anchor points to keep wood debris in place. Plantings of grasses and literally hundreds of trees – Cedars, Pines, Linden, Wild Cherry, Hawthorn, Viburnum, and Elder along the banks and nearby will enhance erosion control, give a potential for shade and take advantage of sediment deposition in and around the established log structures. Yet months into the project, the nature of these waterways is already dramatically improved, with pools and meandering waters, where last year there were indeterminate muddy bogs.
While saving the salmon and the integrity of Marble and Williams Creeks, we have also been stepping up our efforts to save at-risk plants and “plant the future” by adding to our fields five-hundred Bloodroot and five-hundred Blue Cohosh plants, one-hundred Ginkgo and one-hundred Vitex trees, and adding to our crop list Andrographis, Culver’s Root, Gentian, Goldenrod, Grindelia, Lomatium, Osha, Pulsatilla, Schizandra, and Sheep Sorrel. We are also planning on cultivating False Unicorn later this year.
On this note, our Goldenseal and Black Cohosh plantings, and a stand of wild Lomatium show, that the diverse soils and climates of this farm, as well as the tender loving care they receive from our pharmers, provide us with a unique opportunity to cultivate plants from many regions.
Originally Published in May 2007