A Pend Oreille County site where a dam was removed last fall will be replanted with trees and shrubs for Arbor Day, with help from the 66th Training Squadron (TRS) at the Fairchild Air Force Base (FAFB) Survival School and the Colville National Forest’s Curlew Job Corps.
Up to 3,500 plants are scheduled to be planted around Cedar Creek April 10-12. The creek, a major tributary of the Pend Oreille River, is located west of the town of Ione, where a 19-foot-high concrete dam was removed for safety and to aid fish passage.
“The dam removal process left the streamside area pretty bare,” explained
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Watershed Stewardship Team Biologist Sandy Dotts, who is coordinating the planting project. “This will boost the vegetation recovery, and stabilize stream bank soils so the water will again be shaded and cool for fish.”
Staff Sgt. Matthew Sidell, 66th TRS spokesman, said the squadron wanted to contribute to the public lands where Fairchild’s Survival School trains students.
Western hemlock, Washington’s state tree, will be among the species planted, which also include wild rose, snowberry, cottonwood, cedar, larch, elderberry, Douglas fir, Rocky Mountain maple, alder, Oregon grape, willow and dogwood. Native grasses will also be seeded. The plant material, valued at $4,200, was purchased with a Washington Department of Ecology grant for the dam removal project.
Dotts said other costs of the planting project, such as equipment and food for volunteers, are covered by the town of Ione’s dam removal project grant from the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB). Bull trout, a salmonid species listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, occurs in the Cedar Creek watershed.
ON SITE COVERAGE: If snow cover remains the second week of April, this planting project may be postponed a week or more; check with WDFW’s Sandy Dotts at 509-684-2031 for updates and travel directions to the site. Planting is scheduled to begin about 9 a.m. and continue to 5 p.m. each day, with a lunch break at noon.