Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Take Willow Cuttings Now to Plant in Spring and Help Restore a River

Over the next few days and weeks Goldstrike Adventures will be taking a variety of state of Colorado, National Forest Service and other marine, wildlife and riparian biologists down to the stream to... learn all about recreational gold prospecting from a to z, while we learn from them how we can better do what we do (digging) while improving habitat for other living things in the process on behalf of Gold Unlimited.
In addition, Colorado state and local chapter directors with Trout Unlimited will also be digging, classifying, sluicing and maybe even dredging as we work to develop a plan for dredgers and other prospectors to use as a guide to clean, save and restore existing waterways here in Colorado.
As a result, I will focus on activities and methods recommended by said biologists in upcoming posts.
Here is one sneak peek preview of some of the types of things we will be talking about for specific locations where the bank is undercut or eroding or otherwise needs protection-
Tips on Willow Planting to Restore Stream Banks
"Riparian vegetation growing along the edges of streams, creeks, and rivers is critical for controlling erosion and providing
wildlife habitat. This vegetation includes grasses, fortes, and woody plants such as willows and aspen. Willows are among
the most common woody plants found in riparian areas. They are an important source of food and cover for wildlife. Their
roots hold the stream banks in place and provide a place for fish to hide. They also provide shade to help reduce stream
Many riparian areas would benefit from more willows. Improving management practices such as grazing often results in
more willows but on some riparian areas willows must be planted. Planting willows can be an effective technique to
quickly reestablish new populations. However, it requires a lot of hand labor which can be expensive. Consequently,
volunteers are often used to assist in willow planting projects. Volunteers, however, are normally available for a limited
time and are oftentimes inexperienced. This fact sheet provides some tips which are proven to increase the chances of
successfully collecting and planting willows."

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