A group of volunteers were out planting trees and shrubs along the Bell Slough in Chilliwack on Saturday.
About 30 neighbours who live along the slough gathered with volunteer from other groups including Islamic Relief Canada to plunk nearly 200 plants into the ground on Oct. 16, helping to improve the riparian zone along Bell Slough.
Bell Slough residents have been working with the City of Chilliwack to help save the slough which has been suffering from invasive plants and low water levels for years.
“Events like this are splendid to bring that riparian space back which brings the water quality back, which brings our critters back into our space,” said Steve Clegg, environmental services specialist with the city.
Earlier this week, the city used an excavator to plant 14 large trees – seven cedar and seven Douglas fir – in the area. On Saturday, about 200 smaller trees and shrubs went into the ground.
The plants were purchased thanks to a $3,000 donation by Islamic Relief Canada.
Islamic Relief Canada fundraises and takes on projects overseas to benefit others and they wanted to do the same in local places, like Chilliwack’s Bell Slough, Clegg said..
“They liked Bell Slough because it’s community-driven and they wanted to support that,” he said.
On Saturday, willows, red-osier dogwood, Garry oak, Oregon ash, pacific crabapple, hawthorn and more were planted.
The city took into consideration the power lines and roadways in the area and selected a plants that would do well in those spaces.
“We’ve ecologically engineered our riparian space for blended values; habitat values as well as the human values in our anthropogenic space where we’ve got hydro lines, driveways, etc.,” Clegg said.
The trees and shrubs were planted along a 170-metre stretch of land that the city owns which begins at Ballam Road (where it meets McDonald Road) and runs south along the east side of the slough.
The city matched the $3,000 donation by Islamic Relief Canada and paid for the 14 larger trees that were planted earlier in the week, plus the excavator rental to plant the trees, fence posts, wire fencing and staff time.
It was a true community effort on Saturday as Bell Slough neighbours, volunteers with Islamic Relief Canada, plus folks with Watershed Watch Salmon Society and the Fraser Valley Invasive Species Society helped out.
“When the community comes together, the world heals a little bit,” said Chaimae Haddioui with Islamic Relief Canada.