Repairing the riparian

The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society is looking for some help to plant more than 400 native trees and shrubs along the river at Rauck Farm in Lumby.

Riparian areas are shorelines and strips of land beside streams, rivers, wetlands, lakes and other bodies of water. They support a community of moisture loving plants that are distinctly different from aquatic vegetation.

A healthy riparian area has different kinds of trees of varied ages and heights, a thick underbrush layer and other lush vegetation that work together to create an intricate web of life.

Development and channelization of water courses has resulted in a loss of at least 75 per cent of area riparian habitats.

Without healthy riparian areas, river banks and creek sides are vulnerable to flooding and erosion. Roots help to stabilize banks, decrease soil erosion, and aid in flood protection by slowing and dissipating high stream flows.

Riparian areas are crucial to some of local species at risk like Western Screech Owls and Lewis’s Woodpeckers.

Nearly 85 per cent of all Okanagan species are dependent on riparian habitats or use them regularly. They also provide much-needed winter browse and shelter for deer, elk, moose and other large mammals.

Forests along the edges of water courses and water bodies help to shade the water and keep it cooler during the hot summer months. Cool water is very important to fish like salmon that often spawn in these waters.

On Oct. 17, people are invited to head down to Freedom Flight Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and take part in planting up a riparian area along the river on Rauck Farm. 

This banks are steep with uneven footing, so proper footwear is a must.

Participants are urged to bring gardening gloves and a shovel if they have them. Snacks and light refreshments will be provided.

Volunteers must RSVP [email protected], or 250-485-7549.

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