Chimacum Ridge Community Forest Ecological Advisory Group

Ecological Advisory Group

Members of the Ecological Advisory Group will advise on the natural and ecological welfare of the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest. See the Community Forest Advisory Group page for information about purpose and function of the advisory groups.

The Ecological Advisory Group will function as both an advisory group and as an active group of naturalists who are keen to document the changes and share the benefits of a more ecologically driven management of a working forest.

The advisory group will support the Community Forest Manager and the Chimacum Ridge Community Forest Board of Managers in their development of the Ecological Management Plan for the community forest which includes:

  • Regular census of the flora and fauna of the community forest
  • Establishing multi-year habitat management goals
  • Identifies the different habitats in the community forest
  • Recommends habitats (areas) to be preserved in the community forest
  • Recommends areas of forest to be permanently or temporarily taken out of harvest rotation for the community forest
  • Tracks and advises on the restoration or regeneration of forest stands in the community forest
  • Plans for regular hydrological and wildlife surveys of ponds, streams and wetlands in the community forest
  • Identifies and maps invasive species to create an invasive species management plan for the community forest
  • Plans for specific training to support community science projects that implement the Ecological Management Plan in the community forest

Chimacum Ridge Community Forest: Setting and Ecology

Chimacum Ridge rises about a mile south of the junction of the east and west forks of Chimacum Creek. The glacial sediments on top of the Ridge act as a reservoir for water that supports multiple upland wetlands, seeps on its slopes and eight active tributaries to both branches of Chimacum Creek.

The Ridge acts as both habitat and a wildlife corridor. Roosevelt elk, black bear, cougar, bobcats, coyotes and black-tailed deer are all seen or have been tracked on the Ridge. A rich population of birds includes Bald Eagles; Red-tailed Hawks; Ravens; Red-breasted Sapsuckers; Pileated, Hairy, and Downy Woodpeckers; all the local members of the Wren family; plus many neotropical migrants and other bird species.

Chimacum Ridge has been managed as a working forest since at least the 1920s. Most of the forest was last harvested as a clearcut in the 1970s, and two 40-acre stands were clear cut in 2013. Much of the Ridge’s plateau was thinned in minimal impact harvests in 2017, 2018, and 2019. A few small areas were cleared and replanted to manage laminated root rot at the same time. The eastern slope of the Ridge has not been logged since the 1980s and is a mixture of unthinned conifers and areas of bigleaf maple with sword fern understory.

Douglas-fir trees dominate the forest with significant areas of western redcedar, scattered western hemlock, and the occasional Sitka spruce. Broadleaf trees such as bigleaf maple, red alder, bitter cherry, and various willow species are also well distributed and make up their own sub-stands around wetlands and drainages.

Salal, swordfern, evergreen huckleberry, red huckleberry, salmonberry, oceanspray, cascara, and red elderberry are among the more common understory plants.

We plan to manage the community forest in a way that balances revenue generation from selective harvests with practices that increase the diversity and distribution of high quality habitat on the Ridge.

We hope to engage scientists, naturalists, and students (young and old) in helping us understand what exists in the community forest, and how it changes over time. The lists of species above is based on casual observations; our plan is for seasonal surveys, which will create a baseline that allows us to follow the changes in the Forest that occur as a result of managed harvests, conservation efforts, and adaptation to climate change.