The Alta sixth graders were invited to celebrate Earth Day 2006 by planting 240 trees and shrubs on the Steve Turnquist riparian site north of Alta. Sponsors of the event were Buena Vista Soil and Water Conservation District, Trees Forever and the Watershed Improvement Review Board grant. Mulch was donated by Jerry's Tree Service, Storm Lake, and drinks were donated by Hardee's, Storm Lake.
In addition, each student was given a red rubrum maple to plant in their own back yards. The students played a trivia game about trees and Earth Day, and then competed in teams to plant the most trees correctly.
The riparian is a conservation practice the Turnquist family planted almost 10 years ago. It consists of numerous rows of trees, shrubs, and grasses that buffer Powell Creek. Within the last few years a beaver has clear cut a 400-foot section of the riparian. There was a need to replace these trees and shrubs to continue the wildlife and water quality benefits it provides to Storm Lake. With the help of the sponsors and the Alta sixth grade, the area will be back to high quality habitat.
The Turnquist family was awarded the Trees Forever Buffers and Beyond Award in 2005. Through this they have been awarded cost-share to replant trees, improve grasses, and complete needed maintenance on the trees. Kimberly Proctor, the Storm Lake Water Quality Coordinator, has helped organize the maintenance of the riparian and tree planting to improve the quality of the Turnquist riparian. Trees Forever, BVSWCD, and the water quality project are planning a field day June 14, at 5 p.m. to demonstrate tree maintenance and highlight the new practice installed, boulder weirs.
Within the last month a series of boulder weirs have been installed at this section of the creek. Boulder weirs are used for stream bank restoration when there is evidence of headcuts, nickpoints (downcutting of the stream) and channel widening. By installing the boulder weirs at this location, the sediment loading has been reduced by 116 tons per year. Please plan to attend the field day to get a look at this new practice.
"A big thank you to the Alta sixth graders for your hard work, and our local sponsors - Jerry's Tree Service, Hardee's, and BVSWCD commissioners," said Proctor. Cost-share was provided by Trees Forever, Watershed Improvement Review Board, and the EPA 319 Grant.
For more information on trees, conservation practices, or the Storm Lake Water Quality Project, please contact Kimberly Proctor at 732-3096 or at her office located at 1617 N Lake Ave., Storm Lake.