Willow Creek Restoration Project Underway
Megan Bruce, staff writer
A wide floodplain of Willow Creek running
westward from 143rd through a portion of the Oak Hills subdivision
is the focus of a Stream Enhancement Project undertaken by Clean
Water Services. Much of the preliminary work has been completed. The project
will enhance over 67,000 square feet of emergent and forested wetlands.
330-foot-long berm (pile of dirt) has been removed from the floodplain.
The berm had been constricting
the floodplain and blocking the connection
between 9,000 square feet of wetlands and Willow Creek. The removal
of over 3,000 square feet of material from the floodplain will restore
meander and improve the floodplain’s ability to store water.
much of the non-native plant life in the area has been removed and
herbicides have been applied to prevent their return. The remaining
invasive species, including Himalayan blackberry, English Ivy, Reed canary
grass and more will be removed shortly and seeding of native species in the
area will begin in spring 2006.
Thousands of native plants will be planted.
Sometime between December 2005 and February 2006 approximately 5,000
native trees and shrubs will be planted in the areas currently covered by
blackberries. This is expected to take about a week. Roughly 5.000 more native
plants will go in during February or March 2006. It’s likely there will be
an opportunity for volunteer planting parties, which will be announced
in the News.
Maintenance of the area will include about four mowing events during
the spring, summer, and fall. The cutting will be done by lawnmowers
or chainsaws and is intended to protect the new plants from meadow
voles. The cuttings will be scheduled carefully to minimize the effect
on the areas nesting birds. The maintenance will continue for three
to five years depending on need and will reduce annually until the
area is returned to self-sufficiency as a wetland with a functioning native