Willow Stakes & Fence Posts : Backcountry Restoration Event 2016

Editor's Note: Here's a little update and some super photos from OWC's Program Assistant Rob Taylor & Education Program Manager Sofie Forsstrom on our big volunteer event of the year - restoration work in the backcountry!
Thank you to all who helped make this happen - and to all who are giving the Oldman a voice in the backcountry! 

What does it look like when a community rallies together  - to protect drinking water and fish habitat, forging first-hand connections with the source of our river - while simultaneously making new friends? Broad smiles, muddy boots, and a gratifying sense of accomplishment, that's what!

On October 22, the OWC, together with Cows and Fish, returned to the Dutch Creek area for the second annual backcountry restoration event. This year’s event was even larger in scale than previous events, and resulted in the protection and restoration of 1900 square meters along Dutch Creek!  This work helps to protect critical habitat for our threatened native salmonoids such as West Slope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout.

 WLP Program Manager Cody Spencer (L) and volunteer Dylan Brassard put up one of 4 signs installed near the site. 2 are 'Steer Clear' signs and 2 explain the restoration activities.

WLP Program Manager Cody Spencer (L) and volunteer Dylan Brassard put up one of 4 signs installed near the site. 2 are 'Steer Clear' signs and 2 explain the restoration activities.

The site we selected was near the popular random camping spot known locally as 'Caesars Flats'. Due to the popularity of this area, and lack of public awareness around where our drinking water comes from, there has been a great deal of degradation along Dutch Creek over the years. Given the success of last year’s event, we wanted to give community members another opportunity to help repair this beautiful place in our headwaters.

We asked, and you all responded - we worked with 30 volunteers, including 5 youth. 
Together, we planted over 600 willow stakes and put up 113 fence posts!

 It can be hard work pounding in the pilot hole for a willow stake, as one of our hard-working volunteers, Danielle Crawford, from Lethbridge College, demonstrates.

It can be hard work pounding in the pilot hole for a willow stake, as one of our hard-working volunteers, Danielle Crawford, from Lethbridge College, demonstrates.

This work is vitally important and not only will the willows we planted help to stabilize the soil, but the newly installed fence posts provide a visual barrier that will allow the area to recover while the willows grow. We all need to pull together to help preserve the integrity of our headwaters, and it was wonderful to see so many people show up and work so hard to help out.

 A gas auger was required to drill the holes for many of the fence posts 

A gas auger was required to drill the holes for many of the fence posts 

Events like this would not be possible without the support of all our hardworking volunteers, and the numerous hours put in behind the scenes by staff from Cows and Fish as well as the OWC. We hope that you will all come back next year to help us restore another location!

But don't stop reading yet!
There's more here about our 2016 Donor Tour after the infographic about the NUMBERS :-)

 Thanks for all your hard work!

Thanks for all your hard work!

 The 2016 Restoration Event in numbers

The 2016 Restoration Event in numbers

Funding support for this project was provided in part by Alberta Conservation AssociationAlberta GovernmentAlberta Ecotrust Foundation, and the Calgary Foundation. As part of the National Conservation Plan, this project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada.  Thanks to our partners for their support and assistance: Cows and Fish for helping to organize, Spray Lake Sawmills and Rugged Tanks for installation assistance, Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad for promoting and volunteering at the event, and Trout Unlimited Canada

This work cannot continue without your support. Please consider making a donation today. 

2016 Donor Tour

The Restoration Event was followed with a Donor Tour on November 1, giving our funders the opportunity to see the results of their support first-hand. 

Click here for more photos from the Donor Tour