Volunteer willow harvest event

The WRP is seeking volunteers to harvest live willow stakes on Saturday, March 12 from 9-11am. The event is at Hurricane Flats Farm in South Royalton (975 South Windsor Street).

Volunteers should dress to work in wet and muddy conditions. The WRP will provide gloves, a few loppers, and light snacks – feel free to bring your own loppers if you have them.WRP_willow-harvest_Mar15(2)

Willows are native shrubs that grow along Vermont’s rivers. Live, dormant willow stakes that are 18-20” long and ½-1” in diameter can be pounded into the face of riverbanks where they will set roots and grow quickly. WRP volunteers will plant the willow stakes harvested on Saturday along the White River in Bethel and Granville this spring.

The WRP plants willows in the face of riverbanks and other native trees along the top of riverbanks to increase benefits to both the river and also to property owners. In the short-term fast-growing willows planted on riverbanks help stabilize soils while other vegetation takes hold. Over time the willow roots intertwine with roots of native trees planted along the top of the riverbanks, creating a dense underground network that makes the riverbank more resistant to erosion. Above ground the willows and other native trees improve water quality by filtering pollutants out of water running through the vegetation; improve habitat by providing food and cover for fish and wildlife; and reduce flood damages by slowing flood waters and capturing debris.Hurricane Flats spring 2013 (2)Hurricane Flats1 7-2-13

The WRP depends on volunteers to help us plant willows and other native trees along the river each spring. Stay tuned for opportunities to help plant 5,000 stems along the White River in late-April and early-May!

Photo caption: The photos were taken 2 months apart at the WRP’s Hurricane Flats Farm streambank restoration project: in May 2013 (after planting willows) and in July 2013 (after the willows set roots and sprouted).