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Campbell River conservationists to hold info session on Willow Creek restoration

Greenways Land Trust plans to chat with trail users on Oct.2 and Oct. 6 about upcoming work
Greenwys Land Trust’s Callie Bouchard, and Melody Fraser happily remove garbage from a local river. Greenways Land Trust photo

Greenways Land Trust is hoping to chat with Willow Creek Conservation area trail users about some efforts to rehabilitate the area.

The project will involve replanting trees and shrubs, as well as laying bark mulch and logs in an area near the Martin Road entrance that has experienced significant soil erosion and impacts to fish habitat.

The restoration efforts will reduce sedimentation into Willow Creek which can otherwise suffocate juvenile salmon and salmon eggs.

Information sessions providing more detail will take place in front of the Martin Road entrance to WCCA on Saturday, Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Wednesday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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Those familiar with the area will know it has seen a lot of use by mountain bikers, who enjoy going off-trail, and have excavated some parts to make jumps.

The goal of the restoration would be to restore the fringe areas that are not on the actual trails, but that are most valuable to have as natural forest due to their steep nature and close proximity to the creek.

Greenways Land Trust is counting on public education being beneficial to increasing support for continuing its restoration efforts in areas that have been most impacted by trail users, which will hopefully ensure the work is respected in the future.

Off-trail public use can have negative impacts on fish and wildlife.

Building trails and creek crossings can lead to erosion and sedimentation into the creek, which can cause juvenile salmon and salmon eggs to suffocate due to lack of oxygen.

Soil compaction from off-trail use can cause mature trees to die – which has already happened near the Martin Road entrance. Maintaining and restoring conifer cover is essential for keeping the creek temperature cool enough for salmon, as well as providing habitat for many different species.

Dumping yard waste and hanging baskets can lead to the introduction of invasive species, which out-compete the native species that provide much better habitat for local wildlife.

Visitors to the information sessions will have an opportunity to walk and talk with volunteers, Project Lead Camille Andrews, and WCCA landowners, the Nature Trust, about the upcoming work. Greenways will be handing out brochures on how trail users and neighbours of WCCA can do their part to protect the valuable fish and wildlife habitat. The ‘Good Creek Neighbour Guide’ can also be downloaded from the resources page of Greenways website, .

No registration is required to attend an information session, but those attending are requested to bring a mask and ensure social distancing. If you have questions or are interested in getting involved with the restoration, contact Greenways’ Habitat Restoration Coordinator, Camille Andrews, email or call (250) 287-3785.

This project was supported through the Healthy Watersheds Initiative, which is delivered by the Real Estate Foundation of BC and Watersheds BC, with financial support from the Province of British Columbia as part of its $10-billion COVID-19 response.

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