Riparian Restoration

In anticipation of the Area J tree planting project on Saturday, our speaker on April 19 was Jason Anderson with the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians.
Riparian Biologist Jason Anderson
Jason is with the Natural Resources Department of the Stillaguamish Tribe.  it is the mission of the department to manage, protect and conserve those natural resources that are required to sustain healthy populations of fish, shellfish, and wildlife within the Stillaguamish River watershed.  In particular, the focus is on the area between the river, its tributaries and wetlands, and the upland.  The area is known as the riparian area.
Development, including farms along the river, has caused much of the vegetation to keep stream temperature suitable for fish to be diminished.  Restoration of the riparian area involves enhancing the native plant population over time.  This is done with weed control and the planting of native plants.
Once an area for restoration is delineated, there is a vegetation assessment including weeds to be targeted, and the native plants which are to be established once the weeds are controlled.  Targeted weeds include blackberry, English ivy, thistles, tansy ragwort, reed canary grass, knotweed and Scotch broom.  Native plants include cedar, spruce, fir, hemlock, maple, alder, cottonwood, willow, birch, filbert, ash and hawthorn, along with shrubs, grasses, rushes, flowers and ferns.
The desired outcome is improved habitat for wildlife and fish, while improving ecological conditions such as stabilizing river banks, filtering contaminants, and shading the water to keep it cool and oxygen rich.  The same plants provide habitat for birds, deer, and other animals.  Many also provide healthy, delicious food and medicine for people.
On Saturday, we will find a well delineated area with weeds already controlled.  The tribe will be providing the native plants for volunteers to plant.  Tubes are placed around the trunk of the new plants to protect the same from rodents and animals that can do damage to the young plants.  We will be, in some cases, replacing previously planted vegetation that did not survive earlier plantings.  There will also be a large area that has never been planted.  
The natural resources department has about 25 permanent workers.  They will have the plants placed where they are to be planted.  There will be an instruction on how to properly do the planting.
Jason was quick to point out that if you like doing riparian restoration, the Stillaguamish Tribe is only 1 of several organizations that are always looking for volunteers.  Just click on the organization for its website:
Watch for a story on the tree planting project.