On Sunday (Sept. 25, 2011), World Rivers Day events were held all over the world and I was happy to take part in some of the events held at the birthplace of WRD at BCIT in Burnaby.
I participate in many of the Meetup group events organized by the Lower Mainland Green Team and we had volunteered to help remove some invasive species of plants which threaten to life of Guichon Creek: Policeman’s Helmet (Impatiens glandulifera) Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) and English Ivy (Hedera helix), to name a few.
We successfully removed Policeman’s Helmet from a spot beside a bridge, then went for the Japanese Knotweed. Efforts to eradicate the Japanese Knotweed have been less successful and yesterday, we basically only tried to hack it down to the ground. The plan is then to try to bury it under thick cardboard and a heavy mulch. Unfortunately, it had grown back in an area where reparative planting had already taken place. It will be interesting to see how things progress.
Then we moved on to some Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus discolor) and the English Ivy.
We always try to have some fun as well. Even though the day started off grey and drizzly, then progressing to a veritable downpour, we were undaunted.
Some even took advantage of the horse-drawn wagon rides to travel upstream to an area readied for restorative planting of natives.
(I’m sorry to say “riparian restoration” keeps reminding me of an episode from the British tv show, “Keeping Up Appearances,” in which the hapless Violet plans some “riparian entertainments”. But I digress.)
The highlights of the day for me were the release of cutthroat trout into the stream, the farmer’s market where I bought some wonderful fresh, organic produce including some wild chanterelle mushrooms, and sampling some bannock with jam and salmon cooked over an open fire.
Guichon Creek and the BCIT campus is on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish nations of Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, Squamish, Sto:lo, and Tsawwassen. Guichon Creek is doubtless nothing like the beautiful, wild stream it was once, but it is on its way to being restored. Many volunteers have worked hard to give this waterway a second chance. Perhaps someday soon, the salmon will return here to spawn as well.