|5/7/2013 12:31:00 PM|
Volunteers aid Metolius River
The Metolius River got a whole lot of loving care last week.
|Phil Chang and his son, Max, replanting native shrubs in the riparian zone on the banks of the Metolius River. photo by Jim Anderson|
|Outward Bound volunteers, Tanner Albore from Vermont and Kelsey Willbur from Tennessee, placing a log on the bank of the Metolius to discourage access to the river to halt soil erosion. photo by Jim Anderson|
Darek Staab, project manager with Trout Unlimited, gathered up a whole bunch of people: young kids, old kids, and complete strangers from all over the country, and put them to work repairing the banks of river.
Trout Unlimited, with the help of Nate Dachtler, fishery biologist, and Maret Pajutee, both of the Sisters Ranger District, identified several places on the banks of the Metolius River where people had put too much pressure on the riparian areas and were causing serious bank erosion.
When campers want to shoot a photo, or fishermen see a spot in the river where they want to cast a fly, in they go. All that foot traffic eventually breaks down the bank and raw soil starts dribbling into the river.
Fishery biologists and fishermen themselves noticed this overuse and put together a plan to solve the problem. Landscape architects came up with a clever and attractive way to place native lava rock "stairs" at the edge of the water that provide a non-erosive means for fishermen and campers to enter and leave the water without causing further damage that contaminates the areas that native fish and reintroduced salmon rely upon.
On Thursday and Friday, students showed up to start the repair project by planting and doing a lot of clean-up.
Last Saturday saw the completion of the recovery work at Gorge Campground when 12 stalwart members of an Outward Bound group joined Trout Unlimited and placed old limbs for barriers to keep people from walking into the river in just any old place and replanted hundreds of shrubs and trees along the banks of the river.
The 12-member Outward Bound group, ages 19 to 41, were on a 50-day leadership program, and dropped everything to help with the Trout Unlimited recovery project. They come from all over the U.S., and several of them wanted to express their feelings about what they were doing to help heal the human-caused damage to the river:
Billy Phillips, from Weston, Connecticut, a mechanical engineering student attending Union College in New York, needed to take what he calls a "mini gap year," to find his path for the future. He was loving the recovery work, collecting and distributing bucket after bucket of pine needles and other woody material to heal the trails.
Kelsey Willbur, from Maryville, Tennessee said, "I couldn't imagine a better way to spend a Saturday morning. I absolutely love the work we are doing."
Tanner Abare, from Vermont, reflected, "I found it interesting to place something that looks so natural along the banks, but yet it was hauled here from what seemed like a half-mile away."
Ryan Bessey from Fairfield, California, was struck by the beauty of the river: "When I got out of the van and saw the beautiful sight, it was a pleasure to help out the river to keep its beauty."
Conner Manning, who hailed from Littleton, Colorado, was working on his outdoor leadership skills, and said, "I'm learning so many life skills as well as preparing for a career in the outdoors."
"I'm here to reconnect with wild places and with myself," said Katy Medley, from Santa Fe, New Mexico. "This service day was really satisfying; to stop and give something back to the land, and to help Trout Unlimited doing such important stewardship projects."
Phil Chang and his 5-and-a-half-year-old son, Max, worked hard at replanting the native shrubs and trees along the banks of the Metolius, and from the enthusiasm that Max demonstrated all day long, they had a great time bonding while doing their part in stewardship of nature.
Phil said, "Max and I have been talking about how much we love the river. A lot of people love it, but without our help restoring these plants all those people might push a lot of soil into the river."
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