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Willow Management Plan


In the summer of 1988 a group of agency representatives and consultants met at the Vandevert Ranch to discuss the concepts of a Willow Management Plan to be initiated along the Little Deschutes River.  The 400 acre Vandevert Ranch extends approximately one mile in a north and south direction, but the river meanders approximately two miles through the Ranch with about 90 acres of riparian zone fronting the river.

Those attending the field trip to review the Management Plan were:  Ted Fies – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, John Jackson – Oregon Department of Forestry, Paul Blikstad and Terry Carlson – Deschutes County Planning Department, and Earl Nicholson – Consulting Forester.  The guidelines of the Willow Management Plan were discussed and modified as contained herein.  The first phase of the work was completed in the fall of 1988.


Riparian frontage area – All area within ten feet of the mean high water line

Riparian influence area – That area between the riparian frontage area and the upland vegetation boundary.


  • Meet quality standards for riparian areas specified by Federal, State and County regulation

        1.       Protection of Water Quality

                   (a)     Purity

                   (b)    Water Temperature

        2.       Wildlife Habitat

                  (a)     Food

                  (b)    Protective cover (1. leave clumps of old and new willows to satisfy this need, 2. remove no more than 25% of shade along banks of the Little Deschutes River)


  • Make parts of the river visible to background viewers


  • Make both banks of the Little Deschutes more accessible for fly fishing.  This is to be accomplished by making no more than a 50 foot opening on river’s edge for every 200 feet of original continuous shade.


  • In the riparian influence area, increase available forage area by removing 75% of the willows for additional grass production.


  • No herbicide treatment shall be allowed within 20 feet of the river, with a wind exceeding 3 mph, or standing water areas, or where the water table is within 6” of surface.


  • Burning willow cuttings will be allowed on flat ground, but not within 20 feet of the river (edge of water).


  • The basis used for determining the original shaded vegetation will be to measure distances of the amount of willows on each bank throughout the property.


Riparian Frontage Area (stream side back 10’, also to include Willows which shade river)


  • All bank orientations (N,E,S,W) are in the percentage computations.


  • Any willow patch that provides shade is considered in the frontage area.


  • Shade is measured as the lineal distances of Willow measured at the bank’s edge.


  • “Original” shade will be the Willows that were in place in the 1979 pre-non-grazing period and as determined by the 1979 aerial photos.


  • All post 1979 Willow establishment can be removed, however, if left, it shall be used to determine the 75% of shade (original) to remain undisturbed.


  • All cut material will be disposed of no less than 10’ from stream bank edge, temporary exception being for holding down plastic coverings on cut stumps.


  • No burning allowed in this area.


  • No herbicide spraying in this area.


  • No willows will be uprooted from this area, but held within allowable standards by repeated cutting techniques or plastic capping techniques.


  • Cutting operation shall minimize the amount of soil and debris entering the river.


Riparian Influence Area (between riparian frontage area and upland vegetation)


  • Remove up to 75% of the “original” willows, leaving scattered patches for wildlife food and protective cover.


  • Pile burning will be conducted providing the sites are not in the high water table areas (within 6”), flat ground, minimum of 20 feet from edge of river.


  • Herbicide treatment will be no closer than 20 feet from river, where water table is 6 or more inches from surface of ground.


  • All conifers growing in this area will be left until a visual management plan is developed.


  • Leave selected snags (dead trees) as bird trees to be marked by biologists.


Natural Resources Management Plan and Willow Management Plan prepared by:


Earl E. Nichols, Professional Forester, S.A.F. – A.C.F.


Approved by Owner:


James A. Gardner                                             11-7-91

(Also see 1993 photo, below, of scarce willows near the Homestead - ed.) 

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