This September Arlington Rotary volunteers assembled on the bank of Portage Creek, one of two main fish bearing creeks passing through the Old Town Arlington area, and completed stream restoration projects along a 165-foot reach of the creek. Eleven Rotarians and guest volunteers showed up for this service project and worked for approximately four hours. The restoration work along this reach of Portage Creek entailed removal of non-native vegetation, litter clean up, and removal of two encampments.
It was a typical Northwest fall day mixed with some rain and overcast skies, however, neither the rain nor overcast skies deterred the Rotarians. Though the event was not scheduled to start until 10 a.m., several Rotarians showed up early, set up tents and cooked bacon and egg sandwiches as an energy source before starting the day’s work. After removing approximately 8,025 pounds of debris and vegetation, Rotarians showed back up to the tents a bit wet and cold to find grilled cheese sandwiches and hot tomato soup.
The Rotarians removal of non-native plants didn’t just include cutting down the plants, the root system was dug out and removed. Non-native plants, or Invasive species, are defined as species that are alien or exotic to a particular ecosystem and whose introduction causes harm to the environment. Native plants are the plants that existed in this area of Washington before 1860, the year of the arrival of the settlers in Washington. Along a stream corridor such as Portage Creek, non-native vegetation will push out native vegetation that provides shade and cooling, clog stream channels, and does not provide a home for other native birds and insects. By removing invasive vegetation Arlington Rotarians are helping native vegetation to survive and eventually overtake the invasive plants, this has a long term health benefit to Portage Creek.
Another great community service project completed by the Arlington Rotary.