Have you ever wondered what happens to Christmas trees once they are put out on the curb? You may be surprised to learn, that some are used in stream restoration projects in the Credit River. Since 2008, CVC staff in partnership with the Region of Peel have collected Christmas trees curb-side.
As rivers flow, they naturally erode and deposit sediment creating a meandering path. Sensitive fish species like brook trout depend on cold, clean water. This occurs in well vegetated, stable streams where natural erosion processes have created calm, deep pools separated by faster moving currents in rapids. Some land practices such as the removal of plants and shrubs along river banks change these dynamics. That’s where the old Christmas trees come in. CVC has been working on a stretch of river at Upper Credit Conservation Area in partnership with local stewardship organizations to narrow the shoreline that had been damaged by cattle. Using natural forces, trees are strategically positioned on the side of the river where sediments would naturally deposit. The many branches act like a net catching sediment. As a result the meandering path and natural width of the river are restored at a faster rate. The success of this project can be seen from the bridge at Upper Credit (pictured here). In some areas, the river was 20 meters wide and has been narrowed by half.
Landowners with streams running through their property can affect water quality on site and downstream. Planting native plants and shrubs such as red-osier dogwood, white cedar and willow shrubs and maintaining an unmown strip of vegetation shades water keeping it cool and improves fish habitat. To learn more about caring for your land and water and projects such as stream restoration, attend an upcoming workshop.
If you want to learn more about the project at Upper Credit, visit the Countryside Stewardship Connection and click on the Trees for Streams topic.