Sunday, August 19, 2012
FVWC helps restore Stewart Creek at Ecovillage
Released by Tamara Bonnamaison, FVWC Director
Yarrow Ecovillage residents work as a community to maintain and restore the Stewart Creek waterway.
ince 2010, The Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition has been helping to restore a portion of Stewart Creek running through the Yarrow Ecovillage and Cohousing property, located in Yarrow.
The FVWC has been instrumental in securing funding for this project, and has organized work parties, helped with weed control, vetted plant lists, and contributed in many other ways.
Stewart Creek is a salmon bearing stream, and although it is in fairly good ecological condition, most of its riparian vegetation has been removed, and reed canary grass grows rampant. Every five or so years, the City of Chilliwack dredges the creek to remove the build-up of canary grass.
When the FVWC first became involved, most of the riparian zone was dominated by an impenetrable stand of blackberry, so the first task was removing these using a backhoe. The cleared area was then mulched, seeded with rye, covered with woody debris, and planted with over 1000 native trees and shrubs such as Red alder, Western hemlock, Salmonberry and Black hawthorn.
In order to out-compete the reed canary grass and shade the stream, willow plants and stakes have been planted close to the water’s edge, and these are growing quickly. Last spring, a bio-engineering workshop was held at the site, and participants used willow and red osier dogwood whips to build a wattle fence to protect a section of the stream bank that was eroding, and this is also doing incredibly well.
The residents of the Yarrow Ecovillage are excited about caring for their portion of Stewart Creek. The Yarrow Ecovillage is a resident-designed neighborhood, and restoring Stewart Creek has been an important feature of the design since the Ecovillage’s inception 10 years ago.
Residents often walk along the creek’s edge, children splash there in a small swimming hole during the summer months, and the restoration area serves as an exciting site for their yearly Easter egg hunt. Residents have been involved in all stages of this project, and continue to weed blackberries and other weeds.
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