Welcome to Matson!
The Matson Creek Native Plant Nursery is a 165 acre stretch of land neighboring a recently restored wetland that serves as CoosWA's primary source of native plants for restoration projects within our watershed. Plants from the nursery not slated for use in a restoration project may be purchased by the general public by calling our main office at 541-888-5922.
Native plants (those that grow naturally in our region) are vital to a healthy watershed. They attract native wildlife (such as pollinators and birds), minimize erosion, hold stream banks together, provide shade for local streams, filter stormwater, and provide habitat for species both on the land and in the water - like salmon! Learn more about native plants on our Landowner Resources page!
Plants in Restoration
Plants from the Matson Creek Native Plant Nursery are an important component of holistic restoration. Trees and shrubs from the nursery might be used to replace riparian zones that were lost when land was converted to agriculture, to re-plant areas degraded from erosion, or to re-plant wetlands and riparian zones disturbed through a restoration project (a channel re-meander, for example). Learn more about how we utilize native plants in our projects on our Riparian Restoration page!
What's a Wetland?
Wetlands are seasonally flooded lands in the low-gradient areas of a watershed that serve as a transition zone between upland areas and deeper waters. Wetlands are home to unique water-loving plants and animals. Almost half of all threatened or endangered plants and animals in the U.S. are dependent on wetland habitats. Water quality benefits of wetland include: filtering out excess nutrients, trapping excess sediment, and diluting pollutant concentrations. Wetlands also help protect human communities by storing floodwater.
Land Use History
Over the last century, many of the historical wetlands in the Coos Watershed were drained and used as agricultural and grazing lands. The Matson Creek Native Plant Nursery is situated on a historic brackish and freshwater wetland that was converted to pasture land with the installation of tide gates. These gates under Catching Slough Road separated the property and Matson Creek from the brackish waters and the tidal influence of Catching Slough. The construction of dikes and ditches along each side of the pastureland also impacted water movement and quality.
Through a partnership with The Wetlands Conservancy, the Coos Bay-North Bend Water Board, and CoosWA, 49 acres of brackish water wetland marsh and 23 acres of freshwater marsh have been restored.
The 165-acre site was purchased in 2000 using funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Wetlands grant program. Additional funds from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Coos Bay-North Bend Water Board have helped pay for restoration and enhancement at the Preserve.
The restoration design for the wetland included removing and filling man-made dikes and ditches and allowing the water to determine its new path and channel. In 2008, the wetlands and channel were reconnected to Catching Slough, allowing water (and fish) to flow in and out of the wetland.
Native wetland plants have naturally re-established in the bottom-land, demonstrating that native wetland plant seeds were dormant in the substrate, awaiting the return of proper hydrologic conditions. In one year, the channel complexity has increased, creating new braided side channels that provide improved habitat for juvenile salmon and a variety of water birds.
There is currently no public access or use of the Preserve. With funding from the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Coos Watershed Association is working with The Wetlands Conservancy, the South Coast Land Conservancy and the Cape Arago Audubon Society to evaluate the feasibility of turning the old dairy barn into a community environmental education space.