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Becca Cohoon

ESR 171
CBL Reflection

For my community based learning project I connected with SOLV to explore

environmental and ecosystem restoration. My goal was to participate in tree plantings because, it

was something I had done in the past, I enjoy being part of something more than myself and,

frankly, it was easy to connect to. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I connected with people in my

community and gained knowledge about the nuts and bolts of restoring wetlands and riparian

areas. Not to mention I was given a crash course into identifying native plants.

Dig In Community which partners with SOLV on watershed restoration has been working

on restoring part of the council creek watershed for approximately 8 years. Their goal is to

restore bio-diversity to the riparian zone that has become a reed canary monoculture. Although

there are herbicidal options to addressing the reed canary grass Dig In has chosen to plant native

species some obligate and some facultative, to shade out the grass. Weighing the options

between use of herbicides (indiscriminate eradication of all vegetation and eutrophication of

water) or shade planting (time intensity and cost) they opted for the shading strategy.

Planting shade producing plants helps not only to shade out the reed canary grass it also

helps to regulate the temperature of the creek. Keeping water temperatures at proper levels is

important as it governs the kinds of organisms that live there. Too high or too low then natural

species can cease to exist which can create a monoculture. This area of Council Creek, in

particular, is bordered by residential homes on one side and a mobile home court on the other.

The residential homes, from appearances, use fertilization in their yards. This fertilization can

leach into the ground water that lead to the creek creating higher levels of phosphorus. If the

temperature of the water gets too high then there is a potential for alga blooms, which in and of

itself is not bad, but it is not a natural of the Council Creek watershed. The canary grass does
Becca Cohoon
ESR 171
CBL Reflection

create shade for the creek but I the idea is to get rid of the canary grass then you need to replace

it with vegetation that maintains the shade. In addition to shading out the grass and helping to

maintain water temperatures the shade plants create natural habitat for our furry and feathered


Another part of my CBL was learning how to plant the vegetation, how to assist other

volunteers, preparation for upcoming plantings and native and invasive plant identification. This

was kind of a crash course but we did walk away with a good start and great tools for future use.

Plants used for planting at Council Creek include Black Cottonwood, Willow, Red Ozler

Dogwood, Douglas Spirea, Ponderosa Pine, Indian Plum, Black Hawthorne, Ninebark.

In all this was a great learning experience. I plan on participating in more Dig In

activities as well as use my new knowledge to assist in wetland management on the property of

the church that I attend. We are going to be building in the not so distance future and this course

as well as the CBL has given me connections and knowledge on getting this job done right.