Volunteers plant 600 trees along Allen Creek

Naomi Tuttle, of Grace Academy, fills the soil back into the hole she dug for her tree at Allen Creek on April 12. - Kirk Boxleitner
Naomi Tuttle, of Grace Academy, fills the soil back into the hole she dug for her tree at Allen Creek on April 12.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Approximately 70 volunteers descended upon the Wilcox Farm in Marysville for four hours on Saturday, April 12, for an all-ages Earth Day planting of trees and shrubs next to Allen Creek, jointly sponsored by the Allen/Quilceda Action Team, the Adopt A Stream Foundation, Sound Salmon Solutions, the Tulalip Tribes, the Marysville School District, Snohomish County Surface Water, the city of Marysville and the state Department of Ecology.

Adopt A Stream Foundation Fish and Wildlife Manager Walter Rung estimated that volunteers planted close to 600 trees at that site during the day.

“That’s the most trees we’ve ever planted during a single event at this location,” Rung said. “The Adopt A Stream Foundation provided the trees and delivered them to the site, but most of the trees were paid for by the state Department of Ecology, while a few others were paid for by the Snohomish Conservation District, and 200 bare root cedars were donated by Forterra.”

Rung deemed this tree-planting’s attendance numbers as relatively large for the site, whose previous tree-plantings have attracted as many as 150 and as few as 10 volunteers.

“The hardest part of planting a tree is digging the hole, and the easiest part is filling the hole with dirt,” Rung said. “The most difficult part of organizing an event like this is recruiting volunteers.”

Each of the groups involved in the event had their own representative educational booths on site during the tree-planting, to inform attendees not only about their respective organizations, but also about what area residents can do, on their own, to help improve the quality of water in both Allen Creek and the Puget Sound as a whole.

“One memorable aspect of this event was how long the volunteers spent on planting trees on site,” Rung said.”Usually, volunteers come to these events, plant a couple of trees and leave, but these volunteers stayed for the duration of the event, and planted several trees each.”

Historically, Allen Creek supported a great run of Coho salmon, as well as resident and sea-run cutthroat trout, but over the last several decades, new suburbs have spread throughout the watershed, many wetlands have been filled, and a lot of the streamside vegetation, that provides shade that keeps water temperature cool, has been cut down. As a result, water quality has deteriorated, and the fish runs have suffered and declined.

Last year at the Wilcox Farm, the Adopt A Stream Foundation installed a 900-foot-long fence to keep horses away from Allen Creek, so that thousands of trees and shrubs could be planted between that fence and the creek. The Adopt A Stream Foundation is also installing log fish habitat structures at several locations in Allen Creek. The Tulalip Tribes are also restoring the connection between Allen Creek and the Snohomish River that had been blocked with tide gates.

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