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Meet the Sabos &Sustainable Agriculture &Wildlife saboranch on 20 Aug 2016 02:10 pm

A story of land restoration at Sabo Ranch

The land surrounding Harrison Lake in 2004- barren of anything but grass.

The land surrounding Harrison Lake in 2004- barren of anything but grass.

When we purchased the 6000+ acres of ground in 2004, it had been over grazed for decades.  Nothing but a sea of grass.  The border of the Lake, a significant stopping point for migratory waterfowl, was seamless grass- no cover, no willows, no cattails.

Mark and I gave the land a year of rest, then started to manage grazing to keep livestock OFF the lake borders.  $2000+ in materials, hours of permanent fence creation, and many more hours of erecting electric fence to control access to the Lake shore has born fruit.

57 of 60 Narrow Leaf Cottonwood trees that Mark and Scott Swanson planted several years ago have survived and are thriving! The willows that have self seeded are so thick in places that it was hard to find the trees!

57 of 60 Narrow Leaf Cottonwood trees that Mark and Scott Swanson planted several years ago have survived and are thriving.  The willows that have self seeded are so thick in places that it was hard to find the trees!

Mark selects a spot with good fitting for the cattle, and creates an electric fence water gap between willow stands for cattle watering. Since the Lake level falls swiftly during irrigation season, he mush extend the water gap farther into the Lake every couple of days.

Mark selects a spot with good footing for the cattle, and creates an electric fence water gap between willow stands for cattle watering. Since the Lake level falls swiftly during irrigation season, he mush extend the water gap farther into the Lake every couple of days.

IMG_2261The cattle stay within the borders of the water gap (you can see where the few willows within the gap have been avidly browsed by the visiting cattle), and the willows and trees keep growing around all borders of the Lake.

Migrating waterfowl and other birds LOVE the border zone!  Coots and greebs use the submerged willows early in the summer as protective cover for themselves and their chicks.  Yellow-headed Blackbirds nest by the hundreds in the willows at the shallow end of the Lake, suspending their pendulous nests safely above the muddy waters.

 

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