REI volunteers to tackle Medford stream restoration Sunday

As part of a week of grand-opening activities in Medford, 50 employees of the new REI store will volunteer Sunday afternoon to help with a stream restoration project along Bear Creek.

Working with the Ashland-based Lomakatsi Restoration Project, the REI volunteers will help restore a 1,700-foot section of the stream in downtown Medford.

REI has given a $10,000 grant to Lomakatsi, a nonprofit group dedicated to ecological restoration projects, to support the group's efforts to restore the stream near Spencer Street.

The 1,700-foot stretch of stream is located on Medford Parks and Recreation Department land. Last year, Lomakatsi launched the effort by teaming up with the Rogue Valley Audubon Society. It received a $35,000 TogetherGreen Innovation Grant funded by the National Audubon Society and Toyota.

Combined with the REI grant and a Carpenter Foundation grant, funds have been used to implement riparian restoration while providing community education in aquatic and stream-side ecology.

Restoration activities include removing invasive blackberries, teasel and hemlock. Nearly 600 native trees and shrubs have been planted and maintained.

Since the fall of 2011, Lomakatsi has hosted more than 26 public events along the stream. Roughly 800 students and community members have contributed more than 2,200 volunteer hours, while simultaneously learning about stream ecology, botany, fish and wildlife biology, water quality, macro-invertebrates, soils and hydrology.

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