Red Shoulder Visit to Willow Mattress Project

Red Shouldered Hawks


Noticeably smaller than a Red-tailed Hawk; larger than a Broad-winged Hawk.

Color Pattern: 

Adults have dark-and-white checkered wings and warm reddish barring on the breast; tail is black with narrow white bands. Immature juveniles have brown above and white below streaked with brown. All ages have narrow, pale crescents near the wingtips in flight.

Information sourced from Cornell Lab of Ornithology,

Willow Brush Mattress for Stream Bank Stabilization

This brush mattress was installed in summer of 2017 when the stream was at its driest. We utilized a bucket-lift to access the stream bank to avoid entering the water and disturbing water quality. Next spring we will provide a short report on the before and after of this project site to show the need and efficacy of this method. The stream bank, now covered by a woven willow wall (method described below), was eroding at a rate of 3 feet per year, and was threatening a nearby water well and pump site that provides water to half of the mitigation grazing lands. MCRCD fisheries biologist Joe Scriven designed the structure and lead the installation. The willow wall installation immediately provided protection to the stream bank, started catching sediment, and started willow growth. This structure should be able to withstand strong flows and flooding, and in the future this will provide shade and refuge on this section of Outlet Creek. Contact MCRCD if you have any questions regarding Willow Brush Mattresses. 

“A brush mattress is a layer (mattress) of interlaced live branches placed on a bank face, often with a live fascine and/or rock at the base. The live branches are cut from any adventitiously sprouting (sprouts roots from stems) woody plant, such as willow and some species of shrub dogwood and alder. The mattress and the live fascines are held in place with wire or twine, live stakes, and dead stout stakes. A brush mattress, with a live fascine and/or rock at its toe, is used along the face of an eroding bank and acts principally to armor the bank (Figure 1 a-c). The brush mattress has the potential to immediately slow velocities along the bank and accumulate sediment. Together with the sprouting plants, the brush mattress develops a strong network of interlocking roots and plant stems. The brush mattress helps to control bank erosion while serving as habitat for birds, small fur-bearing animals, and insects and other organisms that in turn are fed upon by fish an other higher organisms. Once the vegetation reaches a height of a few feet, it can provide shade to the stream – lowering water temperatures, offering protection from predators, and generally improving fish habitat. The brush mattress can also improve non-point pollution control by intercepting sediment and associated pollutants coming into the stream from overbank areas and in the flow.” (H.H. Allen, 1998

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