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Local Rotary Clubs help restore habitat near Stillaguamish River


April 25, 2018 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Arlington Rotary member Jeff Huleatt digs a hole on Stillaguamish Tribe property near the Stillaguamish River to help with a tree planting project on April 21.

Rotary Club members from around the area helped the Stillaguamish Tribe restore an area near the south fork of the Stillaguamish River on April 21.

Members of five clubs in the local Rotary area (Arlington, Marysville, Marysville Sunrise, Stanwood-Camano and Lake Stevens) took part in a joint project to plant trees during that day.

"This year we had a challenge from the president of Rotary International to all Rotarians to go out and plant a tree," said Arlington Rotary member Dave Duskin.

About 90 people registered for the event, said Duskin. In addition to the five participating Rotary Clubs, students came out from two local Interact clubs, which are Rotary's high school clubs.

Duskin said that the local Arlington clubs likes to take on practical projects.

"We like to get our hands dirty. Some clubs just raise money and give away money, our club, at least in Arlington, tries to have hands-on projects," he said.

Tree planting projects are also good because they "help the environment and are a good opportunity for camaraderie," said Duskin.

The project was part of a "riparian restoration" meant to improve the habitat of fish in the Stillaguamish River.

"To improve habitat in both the fish in the river and the animal life around here," said Duskin.

The property, at the end of Moran Road in Arlington, is owned by the Stillaguamish Tribe.

"The purpose of them buying this property next to the south fork of the Stillaguamish River is that they want to have property in open space for conservation purposes," said Jason Anderson, a riparian ecologist with the Stillaguamish Tribe's Natural Resources Department.

Tribal leaders hope to preserve some of the areas around the river in their natural state, said Anderson.

"They don't want to see the entire valley locked up as private property," Anderson said. "We're trying to turn this back into open space with more of a natural look."

The Tribe removed the buildings that were previously on the land after they purchased it, and last year worked with local non-profit organization Sound Salmon Solutions with planting hundreds of trees at the property.

This year they wanted to return to the property to make sure the trees were continuing to grow.

"We know we have to take care of them in the future and make sure we help them get established," said Anderson.

The main purpose of this year's Rotary project was to have volunteers remove saplings that had died, usually because of small field rodents eating at the bark, and put in new trees.


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