The connection between fish and trees might not seem obvious but these organisms are mutually interdependent.
Federally endangered Steelhead Trout are disappearing from Los Angeles watersheds at a rapid rate. Just 10 years ago these watersheds held hundreds of trout; today they hold perhaps two dozen.
The Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (RCDSMM) has been working since the ‘90s to save these incredible fish and enhance streams throughout Los Angeles County for the benefit of many threatened species, including Western Pond Turtles, Red-legged Tree Frogs, CA Tree Frogs, and Pacific Tree Frogs. In the face of rising temperatures and drying creeks, the RCDSMM has been forced to get creative to protect, preserve, and eventually restore these fragile native species. One of the many ways the RCDSMM attempts to accomplish this vital restoration is by reforesting riparian wildlands.
Oak trees provide vital shade to over-heated streams, encouraging healthy development of steelhead embryos. Trees also support fragile macroinvertebrate communities through fallen leaves which are an important source of nutrients for these organisms, as well as a vital food source for juvenile steelhead. Newly planted oaks will also filter particulates from the air which can improve overall water and air quality.
On January 12, the RCDSMM, in conjunction with the Watershed Stewards Program (WSP), TreePeople of Los Angeles, and CA State Parks, will be hosting a restoration event at Trippet Ranch in Topanga State Park. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will be planting oak trees, helping to care for them, and building cages to protect young trees.
The goal of this event is to encourage reforestation of the park in areas where many trees died due to the prolonged drought. By simply planting oak trees, volunteers will help to recharge desperately dry groundwater tables and ensure that there will be oak forests long into the future.
This project is sponsored by the WSP whose mission is to conserve, restore, and enhance anadromous* watersheds for future generations by linking education with high-quality scientific practices. A program of the California Conservation Corps, WSP is one of the most productive programs for future employment in natural resources. WSP is administered by California Volunteers and sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
If you are interested in volunteering at this event, please visit the RCDSMM’s Facebook page to RSVP; e-mail Angelica Kahler at firstname.lastname@example.org; or call the RCDSMM office at (818) 597-8627, ext. 106.
* Anadromous fish, such as salmon and steelhead trout, migrate from salt water to spawn in fresh water streams and rivers.