In spite of a forecast of impending heavy rains over 70 volunteers met at the Waterford Foundation’s Phillips Farm on November 15 and planted 300 trees and shrubs and destroyed a significant amount of invasive alien vegetation. The plantings were part of an ongoing effort to restore the riparian buffer along the South Fork Catoctin Creek. Riparian buffers are the single most effective way to protect water quality as they trap pollutants, regulate stream flow and reduce sediment and erosion, and provide excellent wildlife habitat. The volunteers who were removing invasive alien vegetation concentrated on Multiflora Rose, Japanese Barberry, and several varieties of invasive vines.
The volunteers were comprised of several Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy members, residents of Waterford and neighboring areas, a contingent from Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., several Boy Scouts and Cub scouts, and a lot of people who just wanted to make a difference. They split into several groups to plant everything from pin oaks and sycamores to winterberry and elderberry and to tear out some very aggressive alien vegetation.
And volunteers who recently adopted a new stream monitoring site did a hands-on evaluation of the stream’s health near the Mill. Notable improvements have been documented in Limestone Branch at Temple Hall Farm north of Leesburg some 2-3 years following a series of riparian tree planting projects to protect and stabilize the streambank and floodplain there. They are hopeful they will see similar improvements at the Phillips Farm over time. A lot of the volunteers, after wrapping up their planting, spent some time observing the monitoring and learning about its importance.
Special thanks needs to go to the Waterford Foundation who is dedicated to being the best steward possible of the Phillips Farm; Jeff Wolinski, consulting ecologist, whose extensive knowledge, planning, and coordination made both the project on March 1 and November 15 successes: and the many people who helped on the 15th as well as those helped with all the prep work the days and weeks before the project itself . The listing of volunteers who came out to support this effort will be published in the next issue of the Habitat Herald. Thanks to all!