By Jan Jackson
Imagine that you are a fish – a baby fish (a juvenile as they are called). You are swimming in a creek and the water is going fast. You are swimming and swimming and you are tired and you need someplace to pull in and rest. Aha. There it is. A root wad with all its little tiny hiding places. And, what if that little fish was trying to hide from a predator (which would be anything that was omnivorous and larger than it was), where could he hide? You got it. He could swim into the tiny tendrils of a root wad.
Root wads provide immediate wetland, riverbank and stream stabilization, which in turn provides excellent habitat for fish (especially for juveniles), frogs, birds and other small critters.
The trees they use come from forested areas being cleared for development, or other treed areas that need trees selectively removed. They are pushed over rather than cut, thereby requiring heavy equipment and expertise.
Now visualize a little frog needing to hide from – well, from whatever eats frogs. A few hops into the secret passageways of a root wad and he’s safe.
Brilliant you say? At least the fish and the frogs think so.
Photos of a truck load of root wads by K.C. VanNatta, VanNatta Brothers Logging
To see how they use root wads, read Habitat Heroes on the Clatskanie River