M&M Services: Our Muscle in the Rogue
When you call the office of M&M Services, Todd Marthoski’s wife Sara will likely answer the phone.
And if you visit them on a project site, you’re likely to find a son, or even a daughter, at the helm of an excavator.
M&M is about as family a business as they come.
Marthoski grew up on Ashland’s Lithia Creek and spent most days catching salamanders. Today, he still spends his days in the water, on behalf of The Freshwater Trust (TFT). After spending years in forestry, agriculture and other construction-related services, Marthoski started M&M Services in 2000.
They’re an excavation contractor, and since 2015, a partner in TFT’s work to install large wood structures, remove fish passage barriers, reconnect floodplains and more. Over the last five years, TFT has done more than $2 million in business with them.
“They’re our muscle here in the Rogue,” said Hilary Cosentino, TFT restoration project manager.
This summer, M&M will help TFT install dozens of large wood structures on Bear Creek and Neil Creek, and reconnect rivers with historic side channels that are important for endangered winter Coho recovery.
They’ll also help remove and replace two bridges and an old diversion that are currently fish passage barriers. Once complete, fish will be able to migrate freely through at least three river miles that will no longer have impediments after this summer.
“Operating heavy equipment in a river and placing logs are challenging as it is,” said Cosentino. “Responsively operating equipment and taking the extra time to build the best possible habitat take high amounts of technical skill, ecological knowledge and a passion to combine the two. M&M has it in spades.”
Marthoski has always wanted to do right by the water. Like many raised near the world-renowned Rogue, he’s a lifelong angler.
“Even when I used to run cattle for a job, I’d get fired up when I saw them mucking up the streamside,” he said. “I know the impact that something like that can have, and so when we started doing this kind of work, I was excited to be contributing to it and have the opportunity to see it.”
Marthoski recalled being at a TFT project site where the impact of the work was almost immediate.
“I was in the excavator after we were digging out a pool and within what felt like minutes after, fish were using it,” he said. “The water had barely cleared. It was so cool. That’s how you know that this works.”
Fish biologists for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have confirmed massive returns upon completion of these projects. In one snowmelt-fed tributary, there was a 16,000 percent increase in coho and Chinook after 47 large wood structures were built, two miles of fence were installed and 14 acres of native vegetation were planted.
“I’ve worked with a lot of different people on projects – the feds, private contractors, different watershed councils,” said Marthoski. “TFT is really among the best in terms of results.”
M&M also specializes in demolition, hazardous soil remediation, the removal of underground storage tanks, excavation and site development. But restoration is a favorite.
On the web page dedicated to these projects, M&M writes, “If it were up to us, this is all we would do – we love this stuff.”
Marthoski says he’s grateful he’s gotten to do more of it in recent years.
Over an eight-year period, TFT has implemented 27 projects on the mainstem of the Rogue River and some of the most critical tributaries in the basin, including the Applegate, Little Butte Creek and Neil Creek. More than $11 million has been invested in the basin.
“There was a lag in restoration here,” said Marthoski. “It had abruptly slowed down for several years until TFT had arrived.”
M&M has brought much more to the table than equipment. The Marthoskis are locals. They were born here themselves and have raised their kids here. They’ve been an employer in their community for two decades. That social capital is invaluable.
“M&M has personal experiences and connections across the Valley,” said Cosentino. “Todd’s relationships and reputation make working with private landowners so much easier because they are often comforted when they hear he will be the one performing the work.”
Two of the landowners involved in TFT projects this summer know him. One’s a family friend. Todd used to keep one of his horses on the other’s property.
“It can help a lot to have us as partners,” he said. “I know these people, and I’m often times out here doing little projects here and there for them, just to make sure that they feel really positive about the experience. I’m happy to use these relationships to help TFT and keep this work going.”June 25, 2020
#local business   #local partners   #partnership   #Restoration
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