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Planting trees, shrubs to help fish in Allen Creek
MARYSVILLE The rain was coming down sideways last weekend but that didnt stop the 100 volunteers who planted more than 1,400 trees and shrubs on the upper banks of Allen Creek in Jennings Nature Park.
Thanks to a $9,000 grant from REI, the Stilly Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force was able to clear out invasive weeds and blackberry bushes and plant beneficial shrubs and trees that will help the salmon-bearing creek stay clean and cool for fish. Several Boy Scouts troops were joined by members of the Marysville Marlins swim team and many others folks who just wanted to do their part to keep the environment clean and healthy.
The right kinds of vegetation near streams help regulate water temperature and the amount of soil and sediment that gets into the water. Blackberry bushes dont do a very good job of either, and the eastern slope of the creek banks were covered with years of growth. Now the area is host to hundreds of new trees and shrubs that will help the riparian zone recover.
Katy Magee and Chong Domanowski were covered with mud after a morning spading earth in a heavy downpour, but their spirits were high nonetheless. Magee is from Marysville and putting things right in the park was high on her to-do list, regardless of the cold and rain.
I run through here everyday and its always nice to see whats happening here in the community, Magee said. Its a beautiful park and our kids have used it so much growing up here, and so its nice to be here today and kind of see the things that are happening.
Domanowski lives in Arlington and was there with her 12-year-old daughter Michelle. They are swim team members and are getting to be old hands at the chore.
This is our fourth year doing this with the Marlins, said mother Domanowski. Its good for the community, to save the salmon and to give back. Thats what its really all about.
Michelle was down in a holler with her friend Hannah Peseau, a 13-year-old who was wearing a black plastic garbage bag as a makeshift poncho to guard against the rain.
We do this every year; the whole team comes out and plants trees, Peseau said.
Near the top of the hillside Eric and Mihaly Ligmond were tamping the fresh dirt around a small shrub.
This is our 11th one, Eric explained.
Good job sonny, said his father.
They were from Monroe, with Den 4, Pack 39 of the Monroe Boy Scouts.
Hes working on his forestry badge, Mihaly said.
Were helping the salmon habitat, Eric said. The trees soak up water so the soil cant be destroyed
and wash into the stream, his father continued.
The Stilly Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force is working to improve habitat for streams around Puget Sound and they provided the expertise while REI forked over the funds. For Dave Swan of the Alderwood store part of the business plan at the outdoor gear retailer is getting people off of the couch. Swan is a community outreach coordinator who wrote the grant that secured the funding.
The world has not an endless supply of space and we want to keep as much of it as green as possible to open land and get kids outdoors, Swan said. Its job security too. Get kids involved in the outdoors, teach them how to preserve and respect the outdoors and it stays around and they grow with it and it grows in on itself.
The Task Force will be working on other ways to improve the Allen Creek watershed, including eliminating invasive Canary Reed grass that chokes the waterway. The work last weekend focused on the upper banks because next summer the Tulalip Tribes plan to breach a dike and tide gate to create a tidal estuary near the Sunnyside area of town, next to Ebey Slough. Cara Ianni of the task force said that salt water making its way up the creek could kill the deleterious grass; and thats a good thing.
That salt water influence may very well take care of the invasive grass thats right along there, Ianni said. And maybe it will correct itself and then the trees will be able to seed in.
Thats why blackberries were on the list for removal, since they dont solve the soil erosion or temperature problems, she added.
They do a little bit, but not as much as a good as a canopy of trees. And thats what were planting; theyre baby trees now but they will eventually provide shade for the Coho that live in Allen Creek.
Mike Robinson of the Marysville Parks and Recreation Department was enduring the weather while marveling at the dedication of the volunteers. As rain came down sideways the workers kept at it with shovels, and dirt turned to mud, and mud covered their clothing.
We are just the grateful beneficiary of all this work, Robinson said. Later he smiled as a group of men hauled out an old relic found at the bottom on the hillside: the cab of a 1963 Ford truck, surf green and covered with dirt and mold. About eight men dragged it up the hillside and into the bed of Jim Wiltses Dodge pickup truck.
Thats a nice exclamation point to a hard day of work, Robinson said.