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Work party plants native trees, shrubs along Tickle Creek

Despite muddy conditions, volunteers improve Tickle Creek wetlands
by: contributed photo Clackamas River Basin Council riparian program assistants Greg Benge, left, and Greer Ramsey plant native species along Tickle Creek.

Thanks to the volunteer efforts of a diverse group of students, residents and members of the Clackamas River Basin Council on March 5, more than 100 native trees and shrubs were planted on local wetlands owned by the City of Sandy, located on Tickle Creek.

'We had kind of a dual purpose,' Clackamas River Basin Council Education and Outreach Coordinator Becki Walker said. 'We were there to remove invasive species of plants from the wetlands. There were a lot of Himalayan blackberries, creeping buttercup and a couple of holly trees.'

A second group of volunteers followed the first and replanted over 100 native plants that Walker said will act as a filter for dirty water running off of streets and land as well as help keep the temperature of the stream cool to promote more salmon returning to the creek.

Nearly 30 volunteers, including students from Timber Lake Job Corps, members of Clackamas Fly Fishers and several Sandy High Students, weren't afraid of the muddy conditions and dug right in, removing invasive plant species and replacing them with natives.

'The native plants we put in should provide shade as well as filter whatever might come into the wetlands,' she said. 'The wetlands act like a sponge. They slow water down and filter the water through plants' roots. It helps take out some of the things we don't want getting into the water.'

This restoration site, which is located just east of Jacoby Road and south of Dubarko Road, is also a model for how improvements to streamside habitat can offer great rewards to landowners as well. In addition to improved fish habitat and water quality, native streamside plantings can increase natural beauty, provide bird and wildlife habitat, and can even increase property values.

The volunteer event also served as a platform for Sandy High School senior Aaron Scobert to work help organize and work out the logistics of the event for his senior project.

'He was interested in having a leadership role in this,' Walker said. 'In the morning we talked about doing a safety talk for volunteers and explain to them what they are doing and why it matters.

'Overall, it was a great day and we had a great turnout.'

The Clackamas River Basin Council is a nonprofit organization committed to fostering

partnerships for clean water and to improve fish and wildlife habitat and quality of life for all those who live, work, and recreate in the basin.

To find out more about native streamside tree plantings and volunteer opportunities, contact the Clackamas River Basin Council. Improvements made at the wetlands are funded by the Oregon Department of State Lands.