Volunteers plant 2000 trees along salmon stream on Earth Day

Apr 19, 2019
Courtesy of: Adopt A Stream Foundation More than 2,000 volunteers turned out in Marysville on a Saturday morning last month to plant trees and shrubs along the middle fork of Quilceda Creek as part of an Earth Day celebration organized by the Adopt A Stream Foundation in McCollum Park. The plantings were designed to enhance the breeding beds for salmon and trout that use the creek to spawn.







Volunteers from the Adopt A Stream Foundation joined technicians from the foundation to plant more than 2,000 trees along the middle fork of Quilceda Creek as part of an Earth Day celebration on Saturday, March 20.

The three-hour effort was designed to preserve banks and vital salmon breeding grounds where the creek flows into Strawberry Field Park in Maryville.

Over time, these trees will provide shade to help cool the creek waters during the summer months – a major function of riparian zones, the area of vegetation next to the stream that affects its ecological health, according to Tom Murdoch, executive director of the AASF located in McCollum Park.

“This was a great family event. Kids really get a kick out of planting trees,” Murdoch said.  “They also enjoyed seeing trout and juvenile salmon in the creek via an underwater camera.”

This Earth Day event was part of AASF’s ongoing effort to restore 8-acres of Quilceda Creek riparian zone at this location with support from the Tulalip Tribes, Washington Department of Ecology, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, Snohomish Conservation District, City of Marysville and several hundred volunteers.

Quilceda Creek flows from Arlington through Marysville and the Tulalip Reservation into the Snohomish River.  Historically, Quilceda Creek was the most productive Coho salmon spawning stream in the Snohomish River Basin.

Now, due to numerous causes associated with rapid and poorly planned development in the surrounding watershed, the Coho numbers have declined significantly. The small Chinook run has virtually disappeared.

Water quality is suffering due to several factors associated with development-caused stormwater runoff and failing septic tanks: Fecal coliform bacterial levels exceed state standards as do levels of mercury, cadmium and lead.  Sediment samples show detectable levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, manganese, and zinc.

Due to clearing of riparian zones, tree canopies that once provided shade that kept water temperature low have been significantly reduced in size or eliminated, resulting in high water temperature and low water oxygen conditions that can be lethal to fish life.

According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, Quilceda Creek no longer supports the designated uses of primary (swimming) and secondary (boating and fishing) contact recreation.  Fish spawning and rearing areas have been degraded throughout the 38-square-mile watershed.


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