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Students Plant Oaks Along Sierra Creek

2012 Antelope, California, USA

Antelope High School Student Stephani Smith was concerned about the health of a creek that ran through her suburban neighborhood. Sierra Creek, a tributary to larger Dry Creek, had very little vegetation along its banks and the water was warm, stagnant, and full of sediment. Dry Creek has historically been habitat for Steelhead Trout and Chinook Salmon, but has suffered habitat degradation. Smith wanted to address this problem in her local watershed by planting native oak trees along the banks of Sierra Creek. In her Caring for Our Watersheds proposal and presentation, she explained the many benefits of such a planting. The roots of the trees would stabilize the soil and help prevent excessive soil erosion. The trees would provide shade to the creek to lower the water temperature for fish and aquatic species while also providing habitat for the native species of birds and mammals in the area. Also, the trees would improve the appearance of the local community and increase her community’s pride and respect for nature. Smith took first place in the 2012 CFW Final Competition.

Smith, fellow Antelope High Students, and community members participated in a large planting event on November 2, 2012. CFW implementation funds helped pay for the trees and many materials needed. They also received technical support and/or funding from several environmental organizations, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dry Creek Conservancy, Center for Land-Based Learning, Sac Tree Foundation, and Sac Area Creeks Council.

Approximately 60 saplings of Valley and Interior Dry Oaks were planted, along with 56 acorns. Different methods of non-traditional irrigation were used in separate areas of the planting site, including Dri-Water and Groasis Waterboxes. Antelope students will continue to monitor and study the effectiveness of these different methods as well as continue to care for the trees in years to come.