With guidance from Dave Clough, we installed 16 pieces of 8-foot long untreated landscape ties held in place by 3-foot pieces of rebar. This steep slope has endured scouring by private landowners who toss yard waste over their fence into the riparian area. We cleared out several garbage bags full of waxy leaves (camellia?) that were not decomposing and were suffocating any native plants trying to establish on the slope. With a lot of muscle and determination we dug trenches in the bank to nest the landscape ties in, then hammered rebar through holes drilled at each end of the ties. These will provide a shelf that we can plant ferns and Oregon grape behind; the native plants will help prevent erosion and improve water quality.
Later a volunteer from the Island Waters Flyfishers (who are also part of the RDN's CWMN and are stewards of the Millstone River in Nanaimo) planted red osier dogwood cuttings right at the creek-side to further increase stability and prevent erosion. He used plastic cones to temporarily prevent the cuttings from being browsed by deer.
In this reach there are still some significant pieces of human garbage that need to be removed: a huge piece of concrete (an old piece of patio?) that is at risk of sliding down into the creek, as well as a an old wooden bridge. The property owner nearest to where the bridge is located has agreed to give us access and help remove it. The concrete could require a truck with a winch to pull it away from the edge of the slope and remove it safely. There are also several generations of Christmas trees either in or near the creek, and several wooden fence posts still attached to chunks of concrete footing. We will continue our public outreach in this area to educate all the property owners who back onto the creek about the sensitive ecosystem and it's legal protection under the Riparian Areas Act.
If you've lived in Nanaimo for a while, you'll notice that there is constant change. The desire to live in this beautiful place puts consistent development pressure on our land base. Over the last 50 years North Nanaimo has changed from the "boonies" to a sea of subdivisions. (If you want to read more about the History of Walley Creek click here.) Most urban creeks and streams have either been culverted and paved over, or treated as dumps for fill since they are less desirable areas for development. Fortunately, Walley Creek has not been paved over, but it suffers its share of degradation in areas that have not been protected as park land. Some of the factors motivating the protection of Walley Creek are - development encroaching into precious wetlands, and illegal dumping of yard waste in riparian areas. We want to protect this beautiful corridor for all the life it supports, and for the human health benefits of having access to nature.