A new rounding of funding has allowed A Rocha Buck Creek Canfor hatchery in Houston to plant several trees in and around the community.
A Rocha’s Northern BC Project Coordinator Cindy Verbeek said that while the organization has been doing small plantings over the years depending on how many trees they get, this year they are doing a lot more planting because of a grant that they received from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
The Pacific Salmon Foundation grant, which was for $3,000 will help the organization to put the funds towards trees to plant or equipment for planting that they can use in the future.
This year, students from the Houston Christian School as well as a couple of community volunteers have been the ones participating in the tree planting. The organization even had Natalie Newman from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans come and talk about why this is important for salmon. Also, Sue Jones from Tutshi Ventures Corp., a local tree planting company, came and talked to the kids about tree planting as a summer job and the best way to plant to ensure higher survival rates.
A total of 550 trees were planted at three different locations. At Roger Groot’s property in collaboration with the willow planting project the grade 11 class from Houston Christian school planted 415 spruce, red-osier dogwood, western larch, and rooted willows in amongst the willow stakes that had been put in by Morice Watershed Monitoring Trust (MWMT). Along the river where the old fish fence used to be, the Grade 6’s planted 125 of the same variety of trees and 10 trees were planted at the nature centre.
The organization recently was part of a willow planting drive as part of the Bulkley-Morice Watershed Sustainability Initiative, spearheaded by the MWMT who are working collaboratively with A Rocha Canada (ARC), the Office of the Wet’suwet’en (OW), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and individual landowners along the upper Bulkley river.
“This is separate from the willow planting. A Rocha received this funding before we knew about the willow planting so it is much smaller in scope (something me and a few volunteers could handle) but we are piggy backing on the willow plantings so that we get a bigger bang for our buck,” said Verbeek.
“We are partnering with the District of Houston on the second site (since it is their land) and they will be maintaining the area in a way that promotes growth for the riparian vegetation. The trees are from Woodmere Nursery who grew special, larger trees for us and who donated many more than we purchased.”
With how successful the project has been this year, Verbeek is now thinking of applying again for the grant next year to get more people involved.