Williams Creek Restoration Work Day

On Saturday, April 28, Ferndale community volunteers including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts joined with members of the local California Conservations Corps to help restore a section of river bank along Williams Creek.   Williams Creek is one of several tributaries that merge with the Salt River.   The Salt River, in turn, flows out to the Eel River as it empties into the Pacific Ocean.

First, a little education . . .

The day began at 10:00 am at Scouts Hall where Ryan (last name?) from the Americorps Watershed Stewards program introduced the volunteers to the greater Salt River watershed.   Ryan explained the goals of the day’s restoration project:

  1. Explain the importance of functioning riparian buffering, watershed drainage systems, and flood plains and how they relate to the Salt River. The history of the Salt River and the impact erosion has had on depositing sediment in a poorly drained system.
  2. Provide a Skill-Share opportunity for land owners to take home with them and apply to their own land.
  3. Bridge connections between landowners and local Watershed Council and the Humboldt RCD by showcasing the benefits of landowner cooperation, and how local organizations can serve as a representative to regulators.
  4. “Light the spark” for future Watershed Council-sponsored community restoration events.

And now, the REAL work begins . . .

This particular section of the creek runs along two sides of farm property owned by Dave and Leslie Carr.  The Carrs had previously worked with Ryan and the Humboldt RCD to stabilize an opposing bank along the creek.   The results had been positive and the Carrs agreed to a community work day to restore additional areas.   Joined by members of the California Conservation Corps from Fortuna lead by Ruth Goodfield of the Eel River Watershed Improvement Group (ERWIG), the volunteers learned how to perform the following restoration tasks:

    • Gather willow branches  – Cut willow branches from existing trees away from the creek bank.
    • Assemble  willow bundles – Bundle leafy branches together with twine.
    • Transport bundles and pound sprigs – Form a line of volunteers to safely transport the bundles across the creek to the restoration area.  Pound willow sprigs into the ground to anchor the willow bundles to the eroding bank.
    • Plant Redwood Saplings  Plant 4 foot tall Redwood saplings throughout the creek habitat.