By: Sarah Meadows
Believe it or not, the top pollutant in Hamilton County streams is sediment. One way to reduce the sediment load in our streams is to prevent erosion, which can sometimes be easier said than done. So why not take a lesson from nature? Roots from vegetation naturally hold soil in place, but digging into an eroding streambank to plant trees could cause more problems. Enter the ‘live stake’!
Live stakes are cut branches of dormant, living riparian trees. Water loving species such as willow are the best candidates, and naturally have the best root structure for hanging on to streambanks. Start by clipping a dormant branch about as long as your arm and a big as your finger. Then, simply shove your stake most of the way into the eroded bank. The buds underground will grow into roots, the buds above ground will grow into shoots, and you’ve planted a brand new tree that will naturally stabilize that eroding streambank!
This year, we collected and installed more than 2,000 live stakes into streambanks around Hamilton County. Special thanks to our partners and the many volunteers who made it happen – Mill Creek Alliance, Mill Creek Yacht Club, Rivers Unlimited, Ohio Valley Forestry Fellowship, GE Young Professionals, Isaac M. Wise Temple, Rhinegeist Brewery, and Paul Brown Stadium. We hope to continue forging new partnerships and getting more trees (live stakes) installed next year. For more information about live staking and how to get involved, visit our website or contact Public Involvement Coordinator Sarah Meadows at 513-772-7645, firstname.lastname@example.org.