Catoctin Creek Tree Planting & Habitat Restoration Project
Purpose: The riparian, tree planting event was the first of two events targeting the Waterford and Taylorstown communities. The purpose was to provide a stewardship event in the Waterford area to help celebrate the importance of Catoctin Creek to the community and raise awareness regarding water quality problems impacting the watershed. Tree seedlings and shrubs were to be planted along the banks of the South Fork Catoctin Creek as an example of how to create a new streamside forest that will help protect water quality and provide natural habitat for wildlife for years to come
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Loudoun Watershed Watch, Friends of Catoctin Creek, Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital , Potomac Conservancy, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Forestry, Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District.
Event Coordinators: Mark Moszak and Darrell Schwalm
Background: Originally, the tree planting was to be a small activity conducted in concert with the stream clean-up event in Taylorstown. However, after a public planning meeting and discussions with Girl Scout advisors, it was decided to make this a separate event in the Waterford area. Contacts were made with the Waterford Community Association and the Waterford Foundation, but they were not able to conduct a riparian buffer project at this time. They are working on a conservation plan for their streamside property, and it is hoped that a riparian tree planting can be planned in 2006. As an alternative, the LSWCD suggested David and Carol Ward property downstream from Waterford. The Wards have already installed fencing and an alternative water supply to keep horses back from the stream. The tree planting would help make this a model farm for good agriculture BMPs.
David and Carol Ward Property, 15042 Milltown Rd., Waterford, VA
Trees, Trees, and More Trees — It’s not often that you can get over 50 people out on a Sunday afternoon to plant trees. But when you have an enthusiastic coordinator like Mark Moszak, a supportive landowner like David and Carol Ward, a tree planting expert like Forester Carol Evans, and a number of Girl Scout troops to plant, it can all come together. That is exactly what happened on April 17 when about 500 trees and shrubs were planted in a pasture floodplain along the South Fork Catoctin Creek downstream from Waterford. The purpose of the planting was to create the type of natural forested riparian buffer that existed before the trees were cut long ago to create the pasture.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy was able to organize and hold the riparian tree plant activity thanks to a grant we received from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
The grant money is being used to help educate and involve the community in solving serious water quality problems in Catoctin Creek.
Well, community involvement was what we sought, and community involvement is what we got!
The Ward property was well suited for the event. It was large enough to provide ample room for parking, the tree planting, and other activities. It also provided a safe location for youth activities.
Planning the event based on participation by the Girl Scouts worked well. They provided a core group of participants. A cub scout troop also participated. It also worked well having the youth work in teams with adults. There were two other hands-on activities for girl scouts after they planted trees. The 4-H provided an educational activity about trees. A Senior Girl Scouts troop provided an activity about stream water quality activity that included an opportunity for some of the youth to explore the stream. This provide a variety of activities for the scouts.
Displays by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Virginia Department of Forestry, Potomac Conservancy, and Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District provided good handout information on stewardship practices. Having the water and snacks available near exhibits helped draw attention to these exhibits.
Trees and shrubs planted were: Sycamore — 50 (tree), Willow Oak — 50 (tree), Hazelnut — 100 (shrub), Winterberry — 50 (shrub), Silky Dogwood — 50 (shrub), Buttonbush — 50 (shrub), American Beautyberry — 50 (shrub), Slender Lespedeza — 100 (legume)