Shaganappi Creek Park is a parcel of land that has unique features and many different users. From tennis and basketball courts, a children’s playground, community association, off-leash dog area, picnic tables, a paved pathway for bike users and commuters, it also has a natural area with a ground water spring that is a treasured area right in the heart of the park. With so many users of this small but significant area it is important that we are all know how to use the space properly and to be aware of the habitat restoration that is taking place.
If you have ever strolled along the trails adjacent to the ground water stream in the ravine you have likely noticed that there are what appears to be a bunch of sticks coming up out of the ground. Now they may not appear to be doing much but they are all a part of the plan to restore the habitat in the ravine. These are called willow stakes.
Willows are deciduous woody plants that commonly grow in wet areas such as rivers, creeks and wetlands. Willows can grow quickly and provide soil stabilization along stream banks and areas with high erosion. There have been many willow, red osier dog wood and balsam poplar stakes planted along the ground water creek in Shaganappi Creek Park with the intent that they will stabilize the banks and prevent the soil from eroding into the creek and creating a big mud pit. These species of shrub will also grow and create a diverse habitat for a variety of birds and other wildlife.
Here are a few things you can do to help out.
- Please keep your dog on a leash. There are specific areas where you can walk your dog down to the creek for a drink but if they are off-leash and run through the stakes they can end up damaging the stakes and undoing a lot of hard work.
- If you are on a bike – please follow the trails and don’t ride along the banks of the creek. Bike tires over a period of time, can cause areas of higher erosion. Also, when riding through please go slow to avoid collisions with other citizens and dogs on the trail and also to keep the trail from widening.
- Don’t allow kids to walk through the stakes to get to the stream. Use the designated access points.
- Volunteer for any future plantings.
When we all work together to protect the habitat restoration that is happening within the ravine at Shaganappi Creek Park we can all see this habitat flourish and be around for many years to come.
For more information on habitat restoration please visit: Naturalization Initiative