Winter is a busy time on Rogue

What's new with the effort to plant trees and shrubs along the Rogue River where Gold Ray Dam was removed? It seems they had a tree-planting party or two in the fall, but are they doing anything there during the winter?

— Carly C., e-mail submission

Winter is actually a busy time for rehabilitation work on the banks of the Rogue River and lower Bear Creek.

The Rogue Valley Council of Governments is overseeing the restoration effort, and the RVCOG's Craig Tuss has overseen two tree-planting parties each in January and February. Two more are planned for March, with green-thumbed volunteers handling much of the work.

On March 5, volunteers will plant more native trees in the Kelly Slough area drained by the dam's removal, Tuss says. That effort will be followed up by a March 19 visit to Tolo Slough along the river's southern bank, Tuss says.

The most recent planting occurred Feb. 19, when 27 volunteers planted all sorts of pines, alders, cottonwoods and dogwoods, Tuss says.

The idea is that these plants will take root and help stabilize the exposed banks, which are unstable and prone to erosion.

So far, close to 3,000 trees have been planted in the drained area — and that's not counting the thousands of willow stakes stuck into the mud so far, Tuss says.

Most of the plants have been paid for through a NOAA-Fisheries restoration grant, along with some donations, Tuss says.

The Seven Basins Watershed Council donated 500 pine trees for the project, and the Ashland-based Lomakatsi Restoration Project donated 60 pine trees, Tuss says.

If you're interested in helping at the March 19 outing, Carly, you can call 541-664-6674 for details.

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