As one of Eugene’s local aggregate material producers, Delta Sand & Gravel understands the importance of preserving the land. To best care for the land they work upon, it is their job to maintain the natural environment upon it. At Delta, protecting the environment starts with preserving the Willamette River wetlands.
A history of habitat restoration at Delta’s filtration ponds
On the northern border between Delta Sand & Gravel’s 600-acre property and the Willamette River lies a 30-acre wetland consisting of 5 filtration ponds. Delta Sand & Gravel’s founder, Avon Babb, dug the ponds with the help of his two sons, Allan and Lee Babb in the 1960’s. The ponds create an ideal habitat for local wildlife, wood ducks and geese, an initiative close to Delta’s founders’ hearts.
When Delta adjusted their mining location in the 50’s they created an impermeable dam at the Babb’s house on Hunsaker Road. Frances Babb, Avon Babb’s wife, or Grandma Babb as Delta calls her, had a pond in her yard that was home to over 200 geese. Because of the family’s affection for the birds, duck boxes and goose nesting perches were placed on the mining property in the early 70’s, and they have been replaced and repaired every few years since.
Goose and wild duck nesting boxes
Over the years Delta Sand & Gravel has placed several nesting perches and boxes at their filtration ponds to support local bird species. These nests are made locally, either by Delta Sand & Gravel or by Delta’s Ducks Unlimited partner, Steve Abbot. Each nest is constructed and placed with the safety of the birds in mind.
Delta’s goose nesting perches are made using recycled rock sifting screens from Delta’s aggregate processing plant. When they replace screens at the plant, Delta repurposes the old screens as platforms for goose nests. Delta welds each salvaged screen to the top of four large metal posts near the water at the ponds. Then, they place a tire on top of the screen and stuff it with straw and grass to give geese a soft, raised nest to lay their eggs in. Predators like raccoons and badgers enjoy eating goose egg and gosling dinners. So, Delta raises their nesting perches with metal posts to make it harder for predators to climb into them.
Wood duck nesting boxes are provided to Delta Sand & Gravel by Ducks Unlimited. These wooden boxes are similar to the traditional bird house we all made as kids. But, each of Delta’s boxes feature a larger entrance and greater volume to fit wood ducks and ducklings inside. Delta places wood duck boxes at the edge of the water on poles covered with PVC pipes. Like the metal poles used on Delta’s goose nesting perches, the slick nature of the PVC helps prevent predators from climbing into the wood ducks’ nests. Delta will be replacing aging duck boxes this season with a batch of 26 freshly fashioned, bird-friendly homes.
Creating and maintaining habitat for local birds
In late February Delta will begin installing new wood duck nesting boxes and restoring the goose nesting areas around their filtration ponds. Delta Sand & Gravel is proud to support healthy habitat for local ducks and geese, and hopes to keep them coming back to the Willamette River wetlands for years to come. Contact Delta Sand & Gravel for more information about their environmentally sustainable practices.