Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Willows and Sedges and Spruce Oh My, or, Planting the Circle Creek Off Channel Wetland Complex Text and Photos by Michael Ellis

The Crew, from the left: Mike Gentry, Regina Southworth, Jeff Roehm, Jon Pampush, Austin Tomlinson, Casey Corkrey, Alan Moore, Andy Andrews, Doug Ray, Rod, Lundberg, Michael Ellis
On November 2nd, 2013, 7 stalwart TVTU members and 4 North Coast Land Conservancy members braved the predicted weather (high winds, steady rain) to assemble at the North Coast Land Conservancy’s Circle Creek site to plant native vegetation in and around the new Off Channel Wetland Complex (OCWC).

The site before planting

 In attendance were TVTU members Jon Pampush, Mike Gentry, Andy Andrews, Rod Lundberg, Alan Moore, Michael Ellis and Doug Ray. We were joined by North Coast Land Conservancy members Regina Southworth, Austin Tomlinson, Casey Corkrey and Jeff Roehm.
Spruce trees laid out for planting
Despite the dire weather prediction we experienced a mostly dry and wind free day. Doug and Austin had gathered and staged plant material for planting and Casey was already busy auguring holes for the spruce trees.

Carex ready for planting

Scirpus staged to plant

Doug immediately put together a hot shot wetland crew consisting of Mike Gentry, Andy Andrews and Jon Pampush, who were tasked with planting Bull Rush plugs (Scirpus validus) in the wettest parts of the complex. The Scirpus adds a lot of organic matter to the soil as it decays and is essential in producing a richer environment from the freshly excavated site.

Doug instructs the bull rush crew on planting. from left: Doug Ray, Mike Gentry, Jon Pampush, Andy Andrews, Rod Lundberg

Jon and Mike haul Scirpus as Andy gets busy planting

Rod Lundberg and I were given the job of planting all the Slough Sedge (Carex obnupta) that had been collected. These plants were planted a bit higher on the banks of the complex. Jeff Roehm was busy planting Hooker Willow cuttings both in and out of the water and Regina Southworth got to work planting all the Spruce trees. As the Scirpus and Carex planting got finished we all helped to plant the last of the Spruce and Willows. 

Doug and Rod discuss the Carex specimens

By the time we were finished the site had changed from bare mud to a much more vegetated look.It was rewarding to plant such large plant material as you could really see the results immediately. This area is well on its way to being a forested wetland now. By next summer these plants will have really taken off.

Jeff Roehm (l), Doug Ray and Rod Lundberg among the plantings

Rod surveys the work so far

The bull rush planting

After the work was done we take a little time to survey the fruits of our labor

The lower banks of the OCWC

 fm. left: Andy Andrews, Jeff Roehm and Mike Gentry finish planting willows

finished plantings on the lower banks of the OCWC

At Stanley Marsh, the beaver dam is to the lower left

After we finished we went to the North Coast Land Conservancy's Stanley Marsh property to see what the beavers have been up to. They have been busy damming up Ditch Creek and making wetlands. We then retired to Doug’s house on the banks of the Necanicum to enjoy a beer or cup of tea and to warm up around the woodstove. All in all this was a productive and enjoyable day and it hardly rained at all!

Thanks to all our TVTU volunteers and a big thank you to Doug Ray for all his hard work setting this up and for his wonderful hospitality.