Plas Newydd Farm
Plas Newydd means “new place” in Welsh and has been in our family since 1941. In that time things change; we have seen three generations of management, we have seen 3 hundred-year floods, we are no longer a dairy, and we are no longer a ranch, but we have remained a tree farm since 1948. Today we also provide cattle grazing leases, and soon, mitigation and conservation credits. One thing that has not changed in all that time is our commitment to thoughtful stewardship.
The Morgan Family
Plas Newydd Farm is a private, family-owned business created as part of the long-term management plan for the property, and has a 74-year history of successful land management and stewardship of its ecologically diverse 1,625-acre property. During this span, we have established a strong record of effectively completing complex projects utilizing internal assets, professional contractors, and collaborators from numerous agencies, tribes, non-governmental organizations, and other interest groups.
On an ongoing basis, we maintain and manage over 10 miles of roads and over a mile and a half of private levee infrastructure. We also maintain several historical buildings, including an 1850-era timber frame barn which was hand restored in 2010 and 2011 and the Columbia Lancaster House, which are both on the National Historic Register.
We have also installed and manage over 4,000 feet of solar powered off-channel water system for cattle, which was installed to prevent the deleterious ecological effects of river watering. Aside from daily maintenance activities, we have successfully responded to stochastic events such as the damages and breaching caused by the 1996 100-year flood for which we rebuilt 300 feet of levee along the Lewis River, and restored damaged pasture, road, and wildlife habitat within a rapid 10-month period. Since the early 1970s, we have employed the most contemporary and environmentally sustainable best management practices to maintain the varied landscape for multiple uses and goals. Plas Newydd Farm has been a Certified American Tree Farm since the early 1980s (and has been awarded a Life Member award by the American Forestry Association), restoring and replanting its resources using a highly diverse species mix to better match historical species variety. Within our broad mix of managed grazing, forestry, and other extensively variable habitat, we have utilized all available tools for environmentally conscientious invasive species control from being part of test sites for approved biological controls for newly introduced invasive species to limited and targeted use of herbicides for must control species that require directed application.
In addition to maintenance-driven activities, we have partnered extensively with various organizations for both cost-share and grant-funded work to restore and protect areas such as Gee Creek, Allen Canyon, and the Lewis River shoreline. This work has also included voluntary restoration with the Cowlitz Tribe, Pacific Power, and the NRCS to co-manage for timber, pasture, and other habitat on the farm.
We have also partnered with other restoration-oriented organizations such as the Cowlitz Tribe where we provided plant materials for the revegetation phase of a restoration project on North Fork Lewis River, and provided large wood and trees with rootwads for the second phase of that project which required us to use controlled thinning in order to provide these materials. We have helped to custom grow native plant materials for other various local restoration projects, and has donated Oregon white oak seedlings to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs for their restoration actions. Additionally, we have worked extensively with the RNWR as well as local tribes, forestry groups, and agricultural groups to maintain and protect offsite habitat value and function within the region. Our licensed herbicide applicators have worked with the City of Ridgefield, Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Clark County Vegetation Management, and others to do extensive Japanese knotweed control along Gee Creek and the North Fork Lewis River.
Left: 1979 Aubrey Morgan and grandson David Morgan; Right: 2016 David Morgan with his father, Rhidian Morgan, and kids Adara and Corwin stand near the same location