Willow "Wattling and Live Staking" in the Courtland-Hastings Flats of Saanich hand in water' The Veins of Life
Watershed Society

Email: volws@salishsea.ca

What is Wattling and Live Staking?
Wattling and live staking are both bioengineering techniques used for bank stabilization, streamside cover and also for filtration and absorption of agricultural runoff. Pacific Willow (Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra) is a preffered species due to its fast growing nature, ability to thrive at high nutrient levels and tolerance to seasonal flooding. The willow is also ideal because once established, it quickly shades out and out-competes invasive species such as canary grasses which proliferate in open areas. 

E-Team members ready to clear banks of invasive canary grasses.

What Has Been Achieved?
The Veins of Life Watershed Society E-Team Crews were involved in wattling and live staking the banks of a branch of Durrell Creek in Saanich, whick flows into the Colquitz Creek. These bare and open channels boarder the Courtland Hastings flats in Saanich. The organic soils in the Courtland Hastings flats produce high yields of crops such as potatoes, carrots, corn and pumpkins. In 1997, there were crop losses of $160,000 in these flats due to flooding. These channels must be cleared of invasive species such as canary grass every two years in order to allow water flows at all times of the year.

During the September to November 2000 phase of the project, VOLWS has planted over 100 meters of willow wattles in the Courtland Hastings Flats and will contine to plant another 100 meters before the new year. 



E-Team crew members with constructed willow wattle. This wattle was soaked in a local stream for 24 hours before being planted.

With the need to improve drainage for agriculture, there is also a desire to protect fish habitat as both share a common resource; water. This means there is a need for environmental restoration projects to improve water quality, fish habitat, and to address the immediate drainage requirements for the agricultural operations of the Courtland Hastings flats.

E-Team members trimming willow cuttings before constructing a new wattle.

Once a trench has been dug into the side of the channel bank, a completed wattle can be placed in the trench and covered lightly with soil. The wattle is then staked into the ground at regular intervals with a large diameter cutting of willow which has been trimmed and soaked for a minimum of 24 hours. In the spring, the willow should be able to shoot leaves and establish a root system for healthy growth. 

For more information on this stream enhancement technique, click here 


Email: volws@salishsea.ca

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