The Americorps California Conservation Corps Watershed Stewards Project in partnership with Marin Municipal Water District hosted a volunteer Lagunitas Creek habitat enhancement on Saturday, November 23, and it was a huge success! Following a large woody debris installation to improve coho salmon habitat in the creek, the disturbed bank was in need of some rehabilitation. Thirty motivated volunteers spent their Saturday planting the creek bank with native trees, shrubs and ground covers. Re-vegetating this bank will not only reduce erosion and excess sediment flow into the creek but will also provide shade and cooler water temperatures that salmon need to thrive.
The day started at the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area parking lot, where volunteers could read interpretive signs about spawning salmon and try to catch a glimpse of one in the creek while waiting for everyone to arrive. Sipping hot chocolate and tea, we huddled together in the cold morning to talk about our goals for the event.
With the volunteers, we made our way down to the site and went straight to work planting the potted plants and transplanting sword fern, redwood sorrel, blackberry, and thimbleberry. At lunch we gathered around the newly installed large woody debris structures and listened to Eric Ettlinger, an aquatic ecologist for MMWD, talk about the role of woody debris as winter habitat for salmon. Lastly, volunteers helped with trash clean up and brought in woody debris to block off footpaths down to the creek to ensure their planting efforts would remain undisturbed.
At the end of the day a total of 48 plants had transformed the formally barren creek side. It was an incredibly successful day and we are so thankful our volunteers came out to help the watershed. We look forward to watching the progress of the plants and seeing this bank returned to the healthy ecosystem it once was.