LINKS
2018-11-07 / Outdoor Life

Protecting and Improving Habitat

Trees for Trout Planting
By Catherine Skalda


Taking a well-deserved break from planting native trees and shrubs. Pictured left to right (from Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed TU Chapter) Jody Hoyt, Dana Hensley, Chris Hensley, Lenny Millen, Peter Marx, George Markos, Tony Cocozza. Contributed Photo Taking a well-deserved break from planting native trees and shrubs. Pictured left to right (from Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed TU Chapter) Jody Hoyt, Dana Hensley, Chris Hensley, Lenny Millen, Peter Marx, George Markos, Tony Cocozza. Contributed Photo Neither cold nor rain, nor gloom of day stayed these brave protectors of our wild trout from completing their appointed tasks. Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation District’s (DCSWCD) Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative (CSBI) and a handful of members from the Ashokan Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited braved the elements and the mud Oct. 29 in Halcottsville, to help improve and protect some of the most important and beautiful habitat for our New York State wild trout population. In just over three hours in the rain - and sometimes snow - they installed live willow stakes along the stream and planted native trees and shrubs in the adjacent floodplain. The live willow stakes will grow roots and stems that will help stabilize the streambank, reduce erosion, protect water quality, and eventually shade the stream to improve the habitat for fish and other wildlife as well as for our own uses. The trees and shrubs that were installed in the floodplain (the low-lying area adjacent to the stream that may experience flooding during high flows) will help to slow and filter overland flows. These plants also help to provide habitat and food for our many wildlife species as well as support our many pollinators.

This is not the first time that this brave group of “Salvelinus saviors” (Salvelinus is the scientific name for our wild brown and brook trout) has joined forces for such an event. Over the past few years, this group has planted close to 800 trees and shrubs along almost 4,000 feet of the East Branch Delaware River - nearly one full mile of plantings. This effort by this small crew of dedicated volunteers will go a long way in protecting our ecological heritage in order to improve and protect our lands. CSBI works with landowners and organizations, municipalities, local agencies, as well as academic institutions, in order to increase their understanding of the vital importance of riparian systems to the overall health of streams and the community as a whole. The volunteer plantings will continue to benefit our environment by demonstrating how native plants, water resources, and the natural environment are critical to sustaining a healthy community.

This native streamside planting was sponsored by the Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation District / Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and NYS DEC Trees for Tribs Program and the Arbor Day Foundation.

Catherine H. Skalda is the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative Coordinator at Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District, 44 West Street, Suite 1, Walton, NY 13856; 607-865-5223; Catherine skalda@dcswcd.org.

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