September 27, 2013
The riparian forest project was conducted on Green Day; a designated day when businesses in Swift Current volunteer for an array of events to better the environment. Volunteers helped from a variety of businesses, including City of Swift Current, Stark & Marsh, Matrix Solutions, Innovation Credit Union, and Cypress Health Region as some examples.

The process to complete the forest included; pre-staking a determined site along the Swift Current Creek that was overrun with field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis). The area covered about 25 m˛ and included native vegetation as well. These species included Snowberry or Buckbrush (Symphoricarpos albus),Wild Rose (Rosa sp.) and Wild licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota). The banks of the riparian zone were steep with bare soil under the vegetation.
To begin the project it was decided to clear out the majority of all the vegetation with the use of brush saws and weed trimmers.

Any vegetation found with field bindweed was also removed. Patches of vegetation were left in random areas to help prevent erosion and to maintain bank stability. To further aid in erosion prevention bioengineering techniques were used. This included constructing barriers made of the cut woody debris made into bundles and weaved into woody stakes inserted into the ground. This method of “basket-weaving” the bundles along the slope will help in holding back sediments washing down from heavy rainfall and winter melt waters.

The area was then covered by the rest of the vegetation cut and more seeds were distributed. All materials were re-used in the project and there was no waste of natural materials.

To finish the area, coconut mulch was rolled over and staked down with biodegradable plastic stakes. Holes were cut in the mulch sheet to allow for the remaining vegetation to come through. The mulch will serve a few purposes; to attempt to eliminate the majority of the field bindweed, to create new soil, to protect the new seeds and allow them to germinate, and to help prevent erosion.

The final stage will be conducted in the spring of 2014 with the planting of native tree species. These trees were the final nursery trees to be obtained from PFRA Shelterbelt program. Signage will be placed at the site showing the process used and highlighting the fact that the trees were in fact the last trees ever to come from the PFRA tree nursery.

On May 30, 2014 the SCCWS team along with members of the City of Swift Current staff went to the site to plant the trees obtained from the PFRA Shelterbelt. Some of the trees planted were: chokecherry, red osier dogwood (below), willows (below), snowberry and cinquefoil. Over time, these shrubs will grow into a diverse forest of riparian vegetation, which will work to clean and conserve water as it enters the creek, protect the creek banks and provide habitat for birds and wildlife.
After the trees and shrubs were planted, the entire area was mulched with wood chips.
Once all the mulch was in place the entire area was given a good soaking to promote root establishment.
This is a photo of the finished site. Evergreen boughs and tree stumps were put in place to create areas that had increased moisture and shade as well as create habitat for bugs and frogs.
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