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Shade Your Stream on First Day of Spring, Extension Workshop Saturday, March 21

A prior tree planting for stream restoration in Boone.
A prior tree planting for stream restoration in Boone.

Looking for something “green” to do on the first day of spring this year? If so, you are in luck!

On March 21, 2015 from 10:30 to 2 p.m., the Watauga County Cooperative Extension is hosting a native plant demonstration and give-away for residents in the High Country.   All are welcome, but must register in order to receive free plants and lunch.

In partnership with the Watauga River Partners and the Appalachian Water Project, a joint venture between Wine to Water and Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB), workshop participants can walk away with tips on how to care for their stream/river, free native vegetation (live stakes), and a happy belly.

Across Western North Carolina, streambank erosion—and the resulting build-up of sediment in stream channels—is having negative impacts on water quality and habitat for “critters”, including trout that live in the streams.

Live stakes are an effective way to reduce streambank erosion.  At this point you may be wondering, “What is a live stake?” It is a long hardwood cutting from a native shrub, adapted to moist conditions, planted outdoors without rooting hormones.   In this area, we use silky dogwood, elderberry, ninebark, silky willow, and buttonbush.

These woody plants have extensive root systems that stabilize the soil on stream banks during rainfall and high water flow. The shade produced by the shrubs help maintain the cooler temperatures that our mountain fish and aquatic life need to survive, while the leaves help provide habitat and food for insects and fish. (Leaves fall into the stream, aquatic insects eat and live in the leaves, trout eat the insects) “Shading Your Stream” with vegetation is really important because it acts as a filter to prevent sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria, pathogens, and heavy metals from entering our rivers.

The event will be held at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center where experts from the New River Conservancy, the Watauga River Partners, and Watauga County Cooperative Extension will share tips on stream care and available programs that can help landowners. If you are unfamiliar with how to install livestakes, we will demonstrate by planting a 20-foot section of Kraut Creek during the day.

Interested in participating and receiving free plants for your creek bank?

To register, please call the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center at 828-264-3061, or email Wendy_Patoprsty@ncsu.edu.

The workshop will begin at 10:30 am at 252 Poplar Grove Rd in Boone.