“The Nisqually Indian Tribe is helping a local landowner reclaim a stretch of Tanwax Creek for salmon.
Yelm Schools played a role in restoring the creek, volunteering student labor through mid-October.
McKenna Elementary and Fort Stevens Elementary students volunteered two hours each on Oct. 7. Prairie Elementary and Mill Pond Elementary students volunteered two hours each on Oct. 9. Mill Pond and Prairie returned Tuesday, Oct. 14. Yelm High School went out on Oct. 16.
Tribal technicians, volunteers and school groups are clearing a five-acre infestation of reed canary grass along the creek, allowing coho salmon to access important habitat on James Tuckers property.
The volunteers and school groups are organized by the tribes Stream Stewards program, the Nisqually River Education Project and the Pierce Conservation District.
The tribe is using a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation paired with funds that Tucker is receiving from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to buy and plant native plants that will eventually out-compete the invasive grass.
The lower five miles of Tanwax Creek is infested with reed canary grass that blocks salmon migration and spawning. Imported to the area as cattle feed decades ago, reed canary infestation is a common obstacle for salmon in small streams.
When Tucker bought the property four years ago, he began immediately trying to remove the reed canary grass, but was never able to get a handle on the problem. ‘I wanted to try to restore the wetlands down there,’ Tucker said…
After initial mowing, volunteers will plant a variety of native trees and shrubs that will eventually prevent the grass from growing back. Tribal employees and volunteers will periodically visit Tuckers property to check the plants and mow the area if needed.
Coho salmon will especially benefit from increased access to habitat in Tanwax Creek,” quoting the NVN.