Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

River Quality

river

Clean healthy water is one of the fundamentals for growing good healthy food; as such it is imperative that we, as land stewards, care for our water sources. Development, agriculture, forestry and other human activities all have the potential to negatively impact our water. A forest floor is perhaps the best retainer for rain water, when the forest becomes a parking lot, a house or even a field of grass, the natural hydrology of an area changes. Often the water that would have soaked into soil runs across the top of the earth and becomes “run-off” that flows directly into a river. This run-off gathers soil, silt, chemicals, and other unwanted passengers on its journey, negatively impacting the water source that it drains in to. Additionally, stores of water that were once held by the earth flush out to sea causing lower water depths in drier seasons.
Our cover crops work to hold soil in place when heavy rains come. The buffers that we have planted on the river bank edge slow the water flows down before they reach the river.  This gives the water time to filter down into the ground so that only the clean water enters the river. Keeping excessive run-off out of the water system is an invaluable service and ensures healthy water ways and fish populations.  As part of our Salmon Safe certification we also manage the amount of water we use to help temper seasonal water fluctuations and make sure there is enough water for everyone in the valley.

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