Owners of a Sprague River ranch
earn pair of awards for efforts
An island in the center of the Sprague
River that 30 years ago was bare earth is
now covered in vegetation and plays host
to nesting Canada geese.
By HOLLY OWENS
A restoration project that started over 10 years
ago at a ranch located along the Sprague River is
now gaining recognition.
Jim and Caren Goold, the
owners of Goold's Sprague River Ranch, recently
received a pair of restoration awards from the
Klamath Basin Ecosystem Restoration Office,
through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and
Oregon State University Extension Service.
The Goolds installed riparian fencing to improve
river banks stabilization, and created a tail
water recovery system designed to keep runoff from
their pastures from entering the river.
"The Goolds took their own initiative to put in a
lot of the restoration projects that are now
successful," said Ron Hathaway with the Oregon
State University Extension Service in Klamath
Falls, "and they've been doing it for a long time.
"They could see for
themselves what needed to be done and they went
ahead and did it."
The Goolds operate a 500-acre cattle ranch near
the community of Sprague River where they keep
about 80 or 90 head of their own cattle
year-round. In the summer they take in over 350
cow-calf pair from a cattleman in the Red Bluff
When the Goolds bought the ranch over 30 years
ago, the banks along the river were mostly bare
ground, with very little vegetation. Now they're
covered with grass, willow, sedges and brush, 10
years after riparian fencing was installed through
programs with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and
Klamath Water Users Association.
"It's starting to look the way - it's been
explained to me - as it did years back," Jim Goold
Both the Goolds and their
neighbors have put in fencing along the river on
"Most of this country has been fenced since 1992,"
Goold said. "Neat thing about this area is our
neighbors. Everyone's willing to jump in and try
it with you.
"It's taken all this time for it to really begin
to show. Most of this has healed itself," Goold
Three wetland areas were
also developed on the ranch to catch and filter
"All our drain ends up in these wetlands," Goold
said. The Goolds irrigate solely with flood
irrigation, with approximately 200 acres of their
ranch devoted to dryland pasture area.
Jim Goold stands along the banks of the
Sprague River on his ranch near the of
community Sprague River. Goold and his
wife Caren have received two awards for
restoration work they've completed on
The Goolds are in the
process of moving corrals further away from the
runoff area. The next project on their list is to
move their fence even farther away from the river.
The restoration work started out as a hobby, said
Jim Goold, and eventually turned into a passion as
improvements were seen. Along with diverse plant
growth along the river came more waterfowl.
"We're getting more and
more ducks and geese in here," Goold said. "In the
'70s we had tons of them - then they just petered
In an effort to encourage wood duck nesting,
Charlie Thurston, a Klamath Falls taxidermist, is
placing nesting boxes around the Goolds' property.
And more and more people
have been taking notice of the Goolds' work.
"We had all kinds of scientists come down and ...
they were really impressed with it," Goold said.
"I really appreciate people paying attention to
this so that they can see that we didn't wait
until we had to do it."
The Sprague River Working Group, a group comprised
of area ranchers, meets once a month at the
Sprague River Station in Sprague River. Goold says
he's seen an increase in interest at the monthly
meetings to learn about restoration programs.
"I have never seen so many people in this area
show up for these," Goold said.
Area ranchers are getting help from a variety of
agencies for their restoration projects. Goold
said he appreciated the efforts of Dave Ross with
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"He's been bringing people out to explain the
program they have to offer," Goold said.
"When OSU and Sustainable Northwest and NRCS
(Natural Resource Conservation Service), Fish and
Wildlife came out and started to point this stuff
out it was a big learning experience."
The working group has also received help from the
"OSU has just done amazing things," Goold said.
"We're getting so much help from OSU."
The Goolds have received help from the Klamath
Soil and Water Conservation District, Klamath
Basin Ecosystem Restoration Office, Klamath
Watershed Council, Natural Resources Conservation
Service, Sustainable Northwest and others.