A few weeks ago, myself, along with a crew from Native Plant Solutions (a huge thank you to Melissa, Jade, Zoë and team), worked with a crew from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation (a huge thank you to Carl, Brendan, Kendra, Ashley, Jeremy and Jeremy) for three days along the Brokenhead River to stabilize a severely eroded shoreline. The shoreline is situated near a road within the reserve and is an important fishing area for the community. Over the past two years, the erosion area has nearly doubled in size.
As funding has been the primary challenge, the project team has had to adapt the project approach and timelines to ensure we achieve our overarching goals. The Brokenhead Ojibway Nation and the staff at Native Plant Solutions have been instrumental in this innovation. As we didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars for heavy machinery to reconfigure the landscape, they recommended to use a ‘soil bioengineering approach’ (i.e. the use of living plant materials). So with the use of some rebar, shovels, and a solid team of incredibly hard workers, we built willow wattle fences, which are essentially short retaining walls constructed of live cuttings. For more information about the soil bioengineering method, please visit: http://chapter.ser.org/westerncanada/files/2015/01/2002-polster.pdf. The idea is that the terraced steps of willow will create a much more stable shoreline as willows have extensive root systems. We will be monitoring the area over the next year to see how the structures hold up against the thaw up, and throughout the summer.
If you have any questions about the project, please contact Jessie DeGrave at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please enjoy our photo collection below by clicking on the side arrows to scroll through the photos.
We would like to express our gratitude to the variety of project funders and partners that have helped us on this journey: Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. Native Plant Solutions, Government of Canada, Sitka Foundation, Thomas Sill Foundation, Sitka Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment, Patagonia, South Beach Casino, Patvin Foundation, Lake Winnipeg Foundation, and LUSH.