How site looked like....
Same site being planted
Same site 4 years after planting
The Grant County Conservation District, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) and the Columbia Basin Pheasants 4ever chapter have formed a partnership that helps landowners establish and enhance habitat for pollinating and beneficial insects as well as wildlife. Previously partnership has focused on non-irrigated circle corners, but we have begun to expand our attention to include other un-farmed areas (ditch banks, vacant lots, etc.) throughout the Columbia Basin. In order to accommodate these potential projects we have secured multiple funding sources that we are eager to use in order to help landowners achieve their conservation needs.
Re-establishing or enhancing areas using native plant species increases the size and quality of foraging areas available for pollinators and beneficial insects. As a result landowners, especially organic producers, would likely have more thorough and effective crop pollination and also have less detrimental outbreaks of pest insects. There are currently national discussions and policies being implemented regarding the health of pollinators and the overall lack of quality habitat available to pollinators. By establishing undisturbed, perennial vegetation with flowering plants landowners could increase their resident populations of pollinating insects and increase the overall health and vigor of transient bee colonies, all of which would help to improve crop pollination.
By establishing native perennial vegetation there will be a significant reduction in noxious weed infestations, and once these habitat areas are fully established there is virtually NO MAINTENANCE required as long as the perennial vegetation remains relatively undisturbed. This works because the perennial vegetation occupies all available space and takes up the resources and can then impede invasions from undesirable weeds. Just think of all the energy and effort you expend trying to keep those noxious weeds under control! Many producers are constantly burning, disking, and spraying chemicals, just to get another flush of weeds in a few weeks. Native grass plantings can out-compete even the toughest weeds if allowed to fully establish.
We provide all plant materials, and we have staff available to assist landowners with planning, installation and general upkeep while vegetation is becoming established. Each plan is site specific for different soil types, conditions and producer goals. If irrigation is available we can also furnish fabric landscape mulch and plant flowering shrubs. We have specialized equipment to install all materials and ensure that each project is a success.
All that we ask of landowners/producers is that they assist with site preparation, for their "25% in-kind services," which typically only involves 2-3 tillage operations. We are willing to meet with any interested party to discuss potential projects of any size. Typically these projects are in non-residential areas and range from one-half acre or larger.
If this sounds like something that would interest you please call the Grant County Conservation District at (509) 765-9618.