Riparian forests are critical in central Oregon because most of the surrounding land areas are high desert. Animal particularly rely on the riparian habitat for forage and hiding cover. Unfortunately, in the past the government paid farmers to remove riparian trees because they thought they could get more water back to the streams if no trees were present. The riparian areas became eroded and no woody vegetation remained. The land along the west bank of John Day River where Sorefoot Creek enters was acquired by the Bureau of Land Management and this project restored black cottonwood in an area where it had historically grown. The planting will control erosion and weeds, increase shading and improve the wildlife habitat for birds, deer and antelope. Also, as the John Day River is the largest undammed river in Oregon, the planting will improve the appearance of the river for many rafters, kayakers and fishermen. The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service assisted in the completion of this project.
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