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Volunteers help repair habitat along Sellars Gulch in Castle Rock

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As an early way to celebrate Earth Day,Castle Rock town staff, with the help of nearly 70 volunteers, took to Memmen Ridge Open Space on April 8 to harvest nearly 1,000 willow stakes to help restore an area at Philip S. Miller Park.

The stakes, taken from a drainage area, were transplanted to a drainage section with little shrub coverage at the park. The cuttings are expected to show signs of growth within two months.

Earth Day this year falls on April 22.

The Parks and Recreation Department has worked for several years to improve the habitat along Sellars Gulch, said Lisa Sorbo, volunteer coordinator for Castle Rock’s Parks, Open Space and Trails program. A lack of shrubbery can lead to a loss of wildlife and bird habitats, lower natural sound reduction and reduce soil stability. Sandbar willow shrubs, commonly found throughout Castle Rock, can be used to restore areas needing more coverage.

On April 8, the restoration project also offered learning opportunities for volunteers transplanting the willow cuttings, who learned how to properly cut them. They also listened to a presentation on the importance of healthy habitats.

“With enough volunteers,” Sorbo said, “harvesting and transplanting native willow plants can be an inexpensive but reliable restoration technique to benefit our local waterways.”

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