Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Greening" our Creeks on St. Patties Day

Looking for something “Green” to do on St. Patrick’s Day this year?  If so, you are in luck!   Watauga County Cooperative Extension is hosting a native plant demonstration and give-away for residents in the High Country.   All are welcome, but must register in order to receive free plants and lunch.   In partnership with a grant from NC A&T State University, and local lunch sponsorship from BB&T Bank, workshop participants can walk away with tips on how to care for their stream/river, free native vegetation (live stakes), and a happy belly. 

Ninebark flower - Physocarpus opulifolius
Across Western North Carolina, streambank erosion—and the resulting build-up of sediment in stream channels—is having negative impacts on water quality and habitat for “critters”, including trout that live in the streams.   Live stakes are an effective way to reduce streambank erosion.   At this point you may be wondering, “What is a live stake?”  It is a long hardwood cutting from a native shrub, adapted to moist conditions, planted outdoors without rooting hormones.   In this area, we use silky dogwood, elderberry, ninebark, silky willow, and buttonbush. 

These woody plants have extensive root systems that stabilize the soil on stream banks during rainfall and high water flow.  The shade produced by the shrubs help maintain the cooler temperatures that our mountain fish and aquatic life need to survive, while the leaves help provide habitat and food for insects and fish. (Leaves fall into the stream, aquatic insects eat and live in the leaves, trout eat the insects) “Greening our Creeks” with vegetation is really important because it acts as a filter to prevent sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria, pathogens, and heavy metals from entering our rivers.

The event will be held at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center where experts from the National Committee from the New River and the Watauga River Partners will share tips on stream care and available programs that can help landowners.  If you are unfamiliar with how to install livestakes, we will demonstrate by planting a 20ft section of Kraut Creek during the day. 

Interested in participating and receiving free plants for your creek bank?  Please call the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center at (828) 264-3061, or email  The workshop will begin at 10:30 am at 252 Poplar Grove Rd in Boone. 

No comments:

Post a Comment