In July last year a landscaping crew working at Corvallis High School removed plants growing along Dixon Creek in an effort to improve visibility and reduce the likelihood of illegal camping along the creek.
But the work removed both invasive and native species alike and was done without permits. The city of Corvallis required the Corvallis School District to put erosion controls in place and form a plan to restore the riparian area along the creek.
Saturday more than 75 volunteers planted around 1,000 native plants along the creek in the culmination of that restoration plan. Canon Clark, a Cheldelin Middle School eighth grader and a member of Boy Scout Troop 462, organized the volunteer effort to replant the creek as his Eagle Scout project.
Clark said the effort had around $1,600 in funding from the district and Rexius helped support the effort through delivering the plants and placing flags to show where volunteers should place plants.
Clark said organizing everything in advance was the biggest challenge. He put at least 20 hours into the project before volunteers even arrived.
To organize the volunteers, Clark had them work in 10 different zones, each with a zone captain to lead the effort.
“I learned a lot of things (from leading the event). Organization is really important,” he said.
Clark said he heard about the project from Kaliska Day, a project manager with the Wenaha Group, the firm doing project management for the Corvallis School District’s bond.
Day said she grew up in a scouting family and when she heard about the need to replant the creek, she thought it sounded like a good Eagle project.
Clark said he liked the project because it helped restore the creek and gave him a way to complete the service project requirement to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank members in the youth organization can obtain.
After all the effort of organizing the event, Clark said it was a relief to see so many people show up to help.
“I’m happy to see so many people from the community,” he said.
Dave Eckert, with the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, spoke to volunteers before the planting to tell them about the impact replanting the creek banks with native plants will have.
“What we’re trying to do is regenerate some life in it,” he said, “You need to use the native plants that have been here for thousands of years to do that.”
Eckert said native plants are food for insects, which in turn are food for fish in the creek. He said cutthroat trout, pacific lamprey and even juvenile Chinook salmon can be found in the creek.
Gabe Giordono, a CHS sophomore who worked on the project to meet his National Honors Society volunteer requirements, said he chose to help out with this project because he wants to help the environment.
He added that it will be cool to walk by the plants and know he helped put them there.
“I’ve got a few more years here so I’ll get to see (them grow),” he said.