Fall Planting in the East Gallatin Corridor
GVLT staff partnered with several landowners last week to plant 65 containerized native willows along the East Gallatin River and Cowan Spring Creek. A fall dormant planting can be a very successful way to get a head start on vegetation restoration along streams that lack adequate woody plants. When planting dormant willows and other woody vegetation, the individual plant has the opportunity to slowly adjust to the new site, thus giving it an advantage when it slowly wakes up next spring. By reducing the amount of shock that the plant experiences, there is much higher chance of survival and rapid establishment.
The two conservation easement properties that were chosen for planting this fall have been historically managed in a manner that reduced or eliminated the woody vegetation that protects the small stream from excessive sun exposure and nutrient loading from the surrounding environment. By reducing these inputs to the stream with beneficial vegetation, the result will be cleaner and cooler water; which are the ingredients that promote healthy populations of fish and other living organisms. One site burned recently in a wildfire and the other site was plowed and planted with crops for 90+ years. Both landowners have voluntarily chosen to take these acres out of production and re-establish a riparian vegetation buffer around the stream.
GVLT looks forward to many other planting projects in the coming years. This partnership with conservation easement donors will result in a cleaner and healthier natural water system one plant at a time. Protecting and enhancing the natural function of streams in our watersheds is especially important in a time when drought conditions are becoming more common. When a stream is stressed in a drought period it can be susceptible to low flow and high water temperature impacts like what the Yellowstone River experienced in the summer of 2016. We hope that our work in partnership with private landowners will leave natural ecosystems in better condition and functioning at a higher level.
GVLT staff members Dan Center, Lucas Cain and ranch manger, Lane Quandt, plant native willows on Cowan Spring Creek on the Crawford CE.