On this gorgeous fall day we set out once again to prevent the bank from eroding where Walley Creek flows behind private residences between Hammond Bay Road and Ecole Hammond Bay.
We wonder if this problem was caused by the creek being moved? There is a natural seep that flows from a different direction, past the tennis courts and through the salamander meadow. The erosion is exacerbated by yard waste being thrown over the fence, though all but one neighbor has cleaned up their act.
In any case, our goal is healthy fish habitat, and keeping the creek from filling up with silt and soil if there are debris jams and high flows. This design was suggested by Lindsey Haist of Alder Environmental, and it's been very successful so far. Today we reinforced "benches" built in previous years, installed new ones, and planted sword fern and dull Oregon grape, hoping their roots will take hold.
We had a strong crew of family (Nina's husband, children and grandchildren, and Linda's husband and children), dedicated volunteers, and recent VIU grads to pull this off in a couple of hours. We were so grateful for a delivery of healthy plants from Streamside to restore the biodiversity of this area. The project was completed with support from the City of Nanaimo Community Watershed Restoration grant, project management and volunteer coordination in partnership with the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust, of which Walley Creek Streamkeepers in a committee.
There happened to be an interpretive tour of the salamander monitoring project in this area led by Elke Wind at the same time that we were working! The group found three dead naked mole rats, that could have been victims of rat poison?? We also encountered some very angry wasps, who are cranky during this fall season and took it out on a couple of volunteers, ouch!
2021 planned riparian Work (fall):
Members of the Dover Bay High School Eco-club
Can you see how steep those banks are? Plants have a hard time getting established here, and as a result rains cause erosion and sediment buildup in the creek. Our 2019 attempt at steep slope stabilization used rebar and landscape ties to create "shelves" for planting. This year we tried a new method based on suggestions from landscape designer Lindsay Haist of Alder Enviro - Restorative Landscaping. We used rubber mallets to pound 1" x 1" wooden stakes into the ground, and placed logs above the stakes to create a shelf where ferns and Oregon grape could be planted.
One of the greatest benefits of these projects is the inter-generational reciprocity. Elders bring wisdom and guidance, youth bring energy and enthusiasm. This project is a wonderful example of collaboration between our stewardship group, City staff, and community members.
We gratefully acknowledge the Pacific Salmon Foundation for supporting this project.
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.