Certified Since 2012
Salmon-Safe is a leading U.S. certifier of ecologically sustainable viticulture in Oregon, Washington, California and British Columbia. Salmon-Safe certification for vineyards entails a site inspection focused on watershed impacts from vineyard management. Salmon-Safe is a leader in implementing farming standards and practices designed to protect water quality, maintain watershed health and restore habitat. StoneRiver Vineyards has been Salmon-Safe certified annually since 2012.
Our vineyards are located in the Anderson Sub-watershed, one of 21 sub-watersheds in the Bear Creek Watershed. Coleman Creek, a tributary of the Anderson Sub-watershed, flows through our property for a third of a mile. As sustainable farmers and long-term stewards of our land, we are aware of the key role we play in helping maintain our watershed and in restoring native salmon fisheries in our area. Salmon fisheries are important because salmon are a key indicator species in the Pacific Northwest and their conservation is integral to the health of the larger ecosystem.
Under the Salmon-Safe program our sustainability efforts are focused on impacts to our watershed and in preserving our habitat. The Salmon-Safe program encompasses the "whole farm" as well as our non-cropped areas. At StoneRiver Vineyards our efforts are concentrated in 6 areas.
IN-STREAM HABITAT PROTECTION & RESTORATION
It is important to keep streams clear of any permanent or temporary in-stream barriers as they can impede fish migration and have a significant impact on fish populations. Fish migration is fundamental to the life history of many species including salmon. To help ensure there are no impediments to fish migration along our section of the Coleman Creek we periodically scan the stream bed. When impediments are found appropriate removal action is taken. As a normal course of action we try not to disturb the stream or riparian environment.
RIPARIAN VEGETATION PROTECTION & RESTORATION
Riparian habitat is essential in filtering pollutants such as nutrients and sediment from getting into the creek. Healthy riparian vegetation helps to reduce stream bank erosion and maintain stable stream channel geomorphology. Vegetation also provides shade which works to lower water temperatures. Our biggest problem has been the Himalayan blackberry. It is the most widespread and economically disruptive of all noxious weeds in Oregon. Himalayan blackberries are particularly damaging because they crowd out existing trees and prevent new ones from establishing. They are also very difficult to eradicate once established as they tend to out-compete native vegetation. Unfortunately, the Himalayan Blackberry invasion along Coleman Creek. is extensive. In 2013 and 2014 we made a special effort to remove the Himalayan Blackberries from our reparian areas. We were not successful and they all grew back. In 2019 we plan to initiate a second effort.
WATER USE MANAGEMENT
It is important to eliminate or minimize in-stream reductions in water flow because of its effect on fish habitat. Although we have Oregon water rights to withdraw water from Coleman Creek that are over 100 years old, we have chosen to use Talent Irrigation District (TID) as our primary source for irrigation water. This eliminates the need to make critical reductions in in-stream flow from our section of the creek..
EROSION PREVENTION & SEDIMENT CONTROL
Sediment delivery to fish bearing streams is a major cause of habitat degradation for salmonoid spawning areas. To minimize erosion and sediment transfer in our vineyards we have established a permanent ground cover. We have also taken steps to ensure existing ground vegetation in the Coleman Creek riparian area is not removed or disturbed. Himalayan Blackberries is the exception. When we remove the blackberries our plan is to replant the area with plants and trees indigenous to the area.
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM) & WATER QUALITY PROTECTION
Fish survival depends on clean water free from harmful levels of fertilizers, pesticides, petroleum and organic waste. These contaminants are known to travel long distances through surface water runoff and shallow soils. StoneRiver Vineyards minimizes contamination by avoiding the use of Salmon-Safe restricted pesticides. We also employ Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices that take into account our environment, avoids unnecessary treatments, and makes best use of the least toxic products and methods available.
As sustainable farmers we believe that agriculture benefits from greater biodiversity. We manage our vineyards in a manner designed to maintain long-term soil health. Our focus is on increasing soil fertility and developing a more dynamic soil ecosystem, We protect and maintain habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife within our vineyards and at our vineyard margins. In support of this, we have set aside 5 acres with a plan to create 22 Eco-zones over a 6 year period. At the end of 2018 six of these Eco-zones had been implemented.