There are a lot of ways to help your local creek system: cleaning up trash from the banks of a stream, addressing Superfund sites, or even changing your car washing habits. All of these actions will improve watershed health. However, an aspect that can be overlooked is the natural habitat around a creek itself, namely its plants. Humans didn’t put those there directly, so we forget to think about them.

Crowdfund to buy native plants on Creeklife.

Photo by evil-goma (deviantART).

That’s what South Coast Habitat Restoration and Channel Islands Restoration are addressing in Refugio Creek, California. These two groups and their numerous volunteers have removed weeds and overrunning plants that were suffocating the Refugio, and replanted the area with native species. Best of all, the removed invasive plants were recycled as mulch!

The results of this project will be a healthier creek, with a habitat suitable for native animals and birds. Because these plants are acclimated to the area’s specific climate, they require less water, reducing stress on the creek’s resources.

Watershed Forestry~Earth Day 2011

Photo via Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay.

You can use Creeklife as a platform to encourage your community to help restore a local creek with a planting day or weekend. Creeklife allows you to share an environmental project with people you know, and seek volunteers or funding through the website. With photos and descriptions, you can alert community members about the dire situation a local creek is facing, and how it affects the overall health of the environment. You can seek donations for gardening tools, gloves, snacks, or even create an “adopt-a-plant” program for supporters to sponsor the cost of one plant.

A creek restoration project through replanting requires help and support from your community, local organizations, and your local government. Many organizations or local environmental agencies, such as Channel Islands Restoration, can identify which creeks or rivers are threatened by invasive plants and river erosion. Working with these organizations can bolster support in the event that permission has to be sought from a local council. In the beginning, your action on Creeklife can document the process and update supporters about important steps made to replanting around the creek. Organizations can share resources and promote the Creeklife page, which can quickly increase a volunteer pool for this type of effort. As more results grow, the project will! Through sharing your efforts offline and online, your replanting program can take off.

Continue browsing our blog for more examples of how to restore the health of creeks and watersheds, and create a better environment in your neck of the woods.

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Posted by Mark Contorno.

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