Fences for Fens: Restoration in the Bucks Lake Wilderness
USFS/FRLT Bucks Lake Wilderness Fen Protection Project Summary:
Land management often presents unique challenges and requires partnership to keep the land healthy and productive. In early summer, staff from the Plumas National Forest approached the Feather River Land Trust (FRLT) Stewardship Department seeking technical assistance with the installation of a livestock fence system for a special Wilderness restoration project. With years of wetland and riparian fencing under their belts at the Heart K Ranch and in Sierra Valley, the FRLT stewardship team is a regional expert in this type of fencing for sensitive habitat.
The USFS project is located in the Bucks Lake Wilderness and is an interdisciplinary effort to stabilize and restore three fens that have been degraded by livestock and are at risk of further degradation.
Fens are a distinct type of wetland that are characterized by their unique water chemistry which can range from acidic to alkaline. Fens are usually dominated by sedges and mosses. Fens frequently have a high diversity of other plant species including carnivorous plants. In order to restore these sites a perimeter fence system had to be constructed to keep livestock from entering the project area until seedlings planted as part of the restoration project can become established.
The project captured the interest of the FRLT Stewardship Department and, with the approval of the Stewardship Committee and Executive Director, they entered into a multi-year agreement with the USFS for the duration of this restoration effort.
FRLT has been experimenting, researching, and installing a wide variety of range fence systems for the past 10 years in order to protect natural resources on their properties throughout the region. The Stewardship Department (Nils Lunder, Greg Willard, and Gabe Miller pictured right) was interested in the project because they saw an opportunity to train others and to provide long term solutions for sensitive areas on public lands throughout the upper Feather River watershed.
FRLT and USFS worked collaboratively to design the fence systems and USFS staff oversaw the logistics of transporting the materials to the Bucks Lake Wilderness with horse packers. FRLT and USFS staff then hiked into the project area and built two of the three systems in July of 2017. Despite a number of logistical challenges, the collaboration has worked well. USFS staff has now been trained and are familiar with the construction of high tensile steel electric fence systems and the specialized tools required to build these systems.
FRLT and USFS staff will plan a second fence building session to protect the third fen in fall of 2017. Volunteers will be invited to join in the effort. To learn more about fen restoration in the Bucks Lake Wilderness read this USFS Fact Sheet.
Feather River Land Trust contact: Nils Lunder, Stewardship Manager. 530-283-5758