ASPEN – Pitkin County Open Space and Trails staff has been busy at work at North Star Nature Preserve in preparation for a hands-on volunteer project to restore two sections of eroded riverbank on the 245-acre open space near Aspen.
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers will lead the all-day project on Saturday, Sept. 19, and is currently signing up participants. Age-appropriate activities for kids, age 7 and up, makes the project ideal for the whole family. Dinner will be provided at the conclusion of the work day. Go to www.rfov.org to sign up, or call 970-927-8241.
The bank stabilization along the Roaring Fork River is intended to protect mature cottonwood trees in an area currently used in the spring and early summer by nesting herons. Currently, there is little to no native vegetation along the damaged banks to naturally slow down erosion. Restoring native vegetation using plant material grown from cuttings on North Star will help protect the cottonwood stand and provide more nesting and forage habitat for wildlife. This project is among the first initiatives to follow this summer’s adoption of an updated management plan for North Star.
Volunteers will plant containerized willows and cottonwoods, willow and cottonwood cuttings, and willow wattles (bundles) to help stabilize the sandy bank.
“There aren’t a lot of large cottonwood stands left on North Star, so protecting this area is important to the nearby heron colony,” said Gary Tennenbaum, assistant director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails. “This also happens to be a great chance to experience the nature preserve while helping restore areas impacted by past human activities.”
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, and the Healthy Rivers and Streams program, along with the City of Aspen, are funding this project. Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen Valley Land Trust and Roaring Fork Conservancy are also partners, providing technical and educational expertise. The number of partners is testament to how special North Star Nature Preserve is to the community, Tennenbaum noted.
Also in the works this fall at North Star are plans to install a remote-controlled camera among the heron nests in order to monitor the birds and provide an educational tool. The public will be able to log on and watch the action in the nests next spring, if all goes according to plan.
More on the North Star Management Plan can be found at www.pitkinostprojects.com.
Contact: Gary TennenbaumPitkin County Open Space and Trails Assistant Directorgary.firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-920-5355