TWU teams with Langley community to restore Salmon River

Langley, British Columbia—They were on the banks of Langley’s Salmon River, but they weren’t there to relax. Rather, Trinity Western University students and staff, along with members of the Langley Environmental Partners Society and volunteers, spent March 29th working to improve one of Langley’s most significant streams. The group, who hopes to restore vegetation along the Salmon River, planted approximately 500 trees along areas of the stream that run through Trinity Western’s Glover Road property.

“The different plants and vegetation that grow along a stream have a lot to do with the health of the stream,” says Chris Hall, ecosystem study area manager for Trinity Western’s Department of Environmental Studies. “The health of the Salmon River is something that people are concerned about because it’s considered to be one of the best coho salmon producing streams in the Lower Mainland, and perhaps, even in all of the Pacific Northwest.”

Hall organized and led Trinity Western’s tree day, the second to take place over the past two years. “We have one of the highest densities of fish in the Lower Mainland right here on our campus,” says Hall. “A lot of people see those streams and don’t really think about them, but it’s a very sensitive and important habitat.”

The rare and delicate habitat prompted the Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) to invest their time and resources in TWU’s tree-planting project. LEPS, led by Trinity Western alumnus Paul Graham, donated 300 willow trees. “It’s part of LEPS’ mandate to restore these zones on the Salmon River and all the creeks within the Langley township,” says Hall. “LEPS helped bring the plants, helped to plant them and shared their expertise and equipment with us. It was a combined effort.”

The plants, which range from alder and spruce to hawthorn and crab apple, will help prevent soil erosion to keep the stream clean, and provide shade to keep the water temperature stable and its oxygen level high. Though the trees are planted, the work is not finished for Hall and his environmental studies team.

“The follow-up is going to be quite extensive,” says Hall. “It’s probably going to take a good ten years before we can leave them on their own. They’ve all been tagged, and now we will catalogue and monitor them and do follow-up from there.”

While the Salmon River’s abundance of coho salmon continues to interest environmentalists from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Ministry of Environment and other organizations, Hall will do his part, with the help of local groups, to ensure that TWU’s haven for coho is restored and preserved.

“I expect we’ll be doing this, in cooperation with LEPS, for a long time to come,” says Hall. “It’s a huge responsibility, but also a blessing to be able to study and see such a fascinating life cycle of salmon so close to us.”

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling 2,850 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2012-08-21
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