Willows planted to stabilize riverbank | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Willows planted to stabilize riverbank

Rick Dustman / Special to the Tribune

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune Volunteers plant green willow cuttings along the bank of the West Fork of the Carson River on Saturday during the Friends of Hope Valley annual work day. Volunteers planted nearly 3,000 willow cuttings for erosion control and wildlife habitat.

It was a gray Saturday morning in Hope Valley, accented with an occasional flurry of snow. But the weather didn’t deter the nine volunteers who gathered for the Memorial Day Willow Planting event.

Judy Wickwire has coordinated the willow-planting project for 18 years for Friends of Hope Valley, each year targeting a different stretch of Carson River streambed that is threatened by erosion.

“Our ranchers were excellent stewards of the land, but over 100 years of cattle grazing has left many sections of the riverbank unprotected,” Wickwire explained. “Native willows help to stabilize the banks and maintain the streambeds.”

Willow sprouts readily from small cuttings, and Wickwire and her husband provided buckets full of pre-cut willow shoots from a mature plant.

By noon, the volunteers had planted about 3,000 willow cuttings, about 40 percent of which are expected to survive.

The volunteers finished their day with a picnic lunch provided by Sorensen’s Resort.

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For more information about Friends of Hope Valley volunteer activities, write to FoHV, P.O. Box 431, Markleeville, CA 96120.