The Yampa Valley Fly Fishers Chapter of TU (YVFF) provided hundreds of volunteer hours to bring a portion of the tailwater renovation project to a close for the Winter of 2014/2015. Completing riparian/floodplain revegetation efforts required some real foresight and effort, long before it was time to actually do plantings. Anglers are all familiar with the idea of raising and stocking fish – but what about raising and stocking riparian plants? YVFF worked with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and their contributors to construct a nursery at the edge of the Yampa River, on State property just outside of Steamboat Springs. Its purpose is to allow the growth of selected plants in a protected and controlled environment, with the goal to have mature vegetation ready for specific projects in and around the Yampa Valley.
The 1000 square foot nursery was designed, funded and constructed by a joint collaboration between CPW and YVFF. Construction began in the Summer of 2013. The ground was prepared for proper drainage by the use and placement of special fabrics and a specific size and depth bed of crushed rock. A vinyl coated chain link fence was erected to protect the plants and trees from hungry beavers, deer, etc. Construction was completed in the Spring of 2014 with the addition of a sunscreen and manual irrigation system.
The first seedlings were delivered shortly thereafter and potted by a large volunteer group. In October, those now mature potted plants were ready for transplanting and were moved to the tailwater project. With a couple truckloads of soil amendments, digging tools, food, and beverage, more than 30 volunteers spent the weekend placing nearly 1000 new willow and alder trees along this newly renovated stretch of the Yampa River.
YVFF anticipates repeating these potting and transplanting endeavors for many years to come.