Chuck DeSourcy shows volunteers at this week’s Kingfisher Creek restoration work what they are looking for and how to harvest the willow on the shore of the Campbell River along Myrt Thompson Trail before heading up the road to transplant it on the banks of the Kingfisher. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Shading Kingfisher Creek with willow from the Campbell River

Volunteers perform some salmon habitat restoration on Sunday

A group of dedicated volunteers were working away with pruning shears, clipping willow trees along the Myrt Thompson Trail Sunday.

They aren’t arborists and they weren’t doing it for the good of the trees themselves – though they weren’t hurting them. They were streamkeepers and they were working on a completely different waterway over a kilometre away.

Sunday’s operation was a restoration effort for Kingfisher Creek, which runs through the Haig Brown Heritage House property on Highway 28.

“What ends up happening in a lot of cases with our urban streams is that the riparian vegetation is destroyed,” says Chuck DeSourcy with the Willow Creek Watershed Society, who was directing the operation on Sunday, “either by beavers taking it away or by people clearing it where they really shouldn’t be at all.”

DeSourcy started by giving the volunteers a rundown of what willow looks like, how to clip sections off of it so as not to damage the plant and to make the stalks easy to pound into the streambed down the road about an hour later.

“We’ve been working on Kingfisher Creek for probably the last four or five years to repair the riparian habitat, and one of the best ways to do that is to help cover it so that in the summer, you don’t cook all your fish,” DeSourcy says.

“This willow was planted by the Department of Fisheries maybe 20 years ago as a restoration project for the Campbell,” he says, pointing along the trail at the volunteers at work. They can take clippings of it – as long as they do it properly and don’t take too many – without impacting what the willow does for the shore of the Campbell but still use some of it to help the Kingfisher by driving the stalks into the creekbed, where they will take root and grow, shading the salmon habitat.

While they perform various restoration efforts throughout the year, DeSourcy says, willow transplantation is only done “in the early spring or late winter, because you don’t want them starting to grow until they’re in the stream and settled, so it’s best to get them before the growth has started.”

This year, however, they were a bit late in getting to them, and they are starting to bud already.

“This is about the latest we want to be doing harvesting them, because they’re starting to bud out,” he admits. “We’d really like them in the creek a little better established before those pussy willows suck all the energy out of the stem, but I think we’ll be okay. We’re not too, too late, and we’re going right from here and right into the stream, so that’s a real big plus.”

DeSourcy says while they were focused on Kingfisher Creek on Sunday, there are many needs in the community in terms of streamkeeping efforts.

“Kingfisher’s not having any more of an issue than any of our other urban streams,” he says, “but there are only so many people out here doing this and we can only do so many streams at a time, so Kingfisher, right now, is the one we’re focusing on.”

He does hope, however, that the volunteers who came out Sunday can use what they’ve learned and take part in other restoration or mitigation efforts.

“There are five or six streams in the Campbell River area that are looked after by different streamkeeper groups, so this is a demonstration that any of these guys, if they want, can take that knowledge with them to work on any of the other streams working with those other streamkeeper groups.”

The work was being done in partnership with Greenways Land Trust. Anyone interested in future restoration or educational opportunities can get on their email newsletter by signing up at greenwaystrust.ca or by following them on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

B.C. village’s local government sees four mayoral changes within three months

Resignations and appointments happened in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic

Indigenous B.C. tour operator keeps culture alive through virtual journeys in COVID-19 era

Campbell River based Homalco Tours is also in the process of setting up live cameras for bear viewing in Orford

Planning a beach fire? Bring a bucket

“Summer is here and as people gear up for beach and campfires,… Continue reading

Campbell River RCMP outline their approach to mental health calls

Recent events have spurred discussion of police interactions with people suffering from mental health concerns

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read