Volunteers plant 500 trees along Salmon Creek

Participants dig through mud to improve habitat

Posted 1/16/19

Boots on, shovels in hand, a group of about 35 volunteers trudged along the muddy banks of Salmon Creek on the brisk morning of Jan. 12 to plant Sitka spruce trees and snowberry shrubs.

During one of five winter tree plantings hosted by the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, the volunteers chose a good morning to get their hands dirty. Despite the cold and mud, the sun shone in a bright blue sky.

But even in rain, volunteers are needed to plant trees to improve the salmon habitat along Siebert Creek, Salmon Creek and the Dungeness River, said North Olympic Salmon Coalition project manager Kevin Long.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Volunteers plant 500 trees along Salmon Creek

Participants dig through mud to improve habitat

Posted

Boots on, shovels in hand, a group of about 35 volunteers trudged along the muddy banks of Salmon Creek on the brisk morning of Jan. 12 to plant Sitka spruce trees and snowberry shrubs.

During one of five winter tree plantings hosted by the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, the volunteers chose a good morning to get their hands dirty. Despite the cold and mud, the sun shone in a bright blue sky.

But even in rain, volunteers are needed to plant trees to improve the salmon habitat along Siebert Creek, Salmon Creek and the Dungeness River, said North Olympic Salmon Coalition project manager Kevin Long.

“Winter is when the plants are dormant,” Long said. “These trees come from the conservation district’s nursery, so they’re dug up, transported and then replanted, which can be stressful on the plant. This way, they will be planted when they’re dormant in wet soil.”

Although digging through the roots of invasive reed canary grass wasn’t easy — and getting a little muddy was inevitable — the volunteers planted more than 500 native trees and shrubs.

“I’ve been anxiously waiting for an opportunity like this,” said Tarynn Kettel, who was attending her first planting event. “It’s good to get outside and get to know others in our community, while also helping the salmon habitat.”

NOSC will host winter tree plantings on Jan. 26 along Siebert Creek, Feb. 2 and March 2 along Salmon Creek, and Feb. 23 along the Dungeness River.

“Salmon need cold, clean and clear water,” said Hannah Seligmann, volunteer and education program manager at the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. “Planting trees provides shade to cool the creek. Their fallen leaves provide habitat for macroinvertebrates — tiny bugs in the creek — which serve as food for the juveniles. Trees can help bind soil to prevent bankside erosion and filter pollutants from roadways and other human activity.”

Fallen trees are equally as important because they create large wood debris in rivers that provide salmon shelter from predators, food to forage, and places to rest by creating scour pools and hosting congregations of insects, Seligmann said.

Depending on the location, a variety of native trees will be planted, including Western red cedar, snowberry, ocean spray, Sitka spruce, Douglas spirea, Nootka rose, Douglas fir and Western hemlock.

The plantings will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The North Olympic Salmon Coalition will provide light refreshments and hot drinks, and recommends volunteers wear warm clothes and be prepared to get muddy.

The coalition’s goal is to plant about 15,000 trees per year.

“This is part of a much larger initiative occurring all over Washington and several other states to recover wild salmon populations,” Seligmann said.

To learn more about volunteering at the tree plantings, visit the North Olympic Salmon Coalition website. Each event can accept about 50 volunteers, except for the Feb. 2 event, which can only take 15.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment