Trout River Environmental Committee
Stanley Watersheds Native Plant Diversity Project
Our Stanley Watersheds Native Plant Diversity Project has given us a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits of native plants for wildlife and diversify native vegetation in riparian zones across these watersheds. The center piece of this project was the creation of a community native plant garden at our Punchbowl Community Park. The garden was planted out with a variety of native wildflowers and shrubs and two large interpretive signs have been created. Smaller wooden signs were also made to identify the various plants. While further plantings are needed to fill out the garden and continue to diversify it, the garden can now be used as a living showcase to demonstrate landscaping opportunities with native plants and their value for wildlife. This project also provided two public workshops on identifying and landscaping with native plants which were well attended by local residents. Both workshops stressed the value of native plants for wildlife. Further information on native plants is being provided through our Facebook posts, e-newsletters and an article in the County-Line Courier.
A second, but related aspect of this project was our focus on increasing native plant health and diversity in riparian areas across the Stanley River watersheds. To accomplish this, we first took time to care for 3,000 trees we have recently planted in these areas. This work involved trimming vegetation around the trees, removing vines, pruning and fixing anti-browse tree cages. We then planted 270 shrubs and over 300 trees in open riparian areas to restore and diversify native vegetation in order to improve wildlife habitat. We also built and restored 120 anti-browse tree cages to protect those species that are vulnerable to browsing. Painted wooden stakes were also installed next to plantings to ensure they can be located and cared for in the future. Where native riparian vegetation is being threatened by wild cucumber and bittersweet nightshade along the Found’s Mill river, we removed these vines with the help of volunteers. All in all, our Stanley Watersheds Native Plant Diversity Project made a valuable contribution to diversifying native riparian vegetation across our watersheds and providing information on the creation of wildlife habitat through landscaping with native plants.