Over fifty volunteers from across the state of Oregon converged on the Upper Sucker Creek Restoration Project site on Saturday, March 31st to assist with tree planting. The event, organized by the US Forest Service and the Illinois Valley Watershed Council, attracted individual volunteers, as well as groups from the Middle Rogue Steelheaders, Rogue Flyfishers, the Nature Conservancy, and Oregon’s AmeriCorps programs.
With the help of enthusiastic laborers, many hundred trees were planted along the banks of Sucker Creek’s newly re-aligned stream channel. As part of an ongoing restoration effort, more meanders have been restored to Sucker Creek and a more natural flow pattern has been returned to the stream. Sucker Creek has been affected by historic landuse patterns and mining activities in the area.
Volunteers were involved in planting native trees and shrubs, including disease-resistant Port Orford Cedar, in the stream’s riparian zones and floodplains. These efforts will help to shade the water and provide cooler temperatures to the native salmon that have returned to the restored stream reaches. Additionally, riparian trees help to limit erosion and control runoff during heavy winter rains.
“We so very much appreciate all the hard work volunteers did, digging holes and planting trees on Sucker Creek,” says IVSWCD Special Projects Coordinator Nancy Smebak, reflecting on the work day. “The entire Sucker Creek project would never have been possible without the numerous project partners, and volunteers are another essential part of our team.”