Forests and Lakes – For People – Forever ®

Trees for Trout

August 7, 2014

Intern Deb Gorman

Intern Deb Gorman

Campers and counselors from Greenland Point Center took part in a Downeast Lakes Land Trust re-vegetation program.  Participants learned about trees and their often-overlooked importance to aquatic ecosystems.  As providers of shade, trees help stream water stay cool and well-oxygenated for trout, salmon, and other coldwater fishes. 

As part of an ongoing project to restore brook trout habitat in Rolfe Brook, a tributary of the Little River, DLLT plans to re-vegetate portions of the brook’s riparian buffer that have been disturbed by beaver activity.  Following the removal of abandoned beaver dams, portions of the riparian buffer of Rolfe Brook that were once covered by water are now grassy wetlands braided with meandering channels exposed to direct sunlight.  These grassy openings will provide excellent habitat for many species of birds and invertebrates as the forest regenerates over the next few decades.

Over time, erosion during high-water events will consolidate the many channels into a single streambed.  However, providing tree canopy directly over the brook will help to maintain cool water temperatures for trout while also protecting fish from some avian predators and stabilizing the banks along the primary water channel.

The group from Greenland Point took a stroll around Grand Lake Stream with DLLT Education Director Tanya Rucosky, who taught the campers about the diverse species of trees found in Washington County.  By touching, sniffing, and even tasting the fragrant needles and twigs, the campers learned to identify 11 different tree species including ash, white pine, and red oak.

Armed with their new tree identification skills, the group headed into the Farm Cove Community Forest with DLLT interns Deb Gorman and David Montague.  Along the margins of an old log landing, the campers first identified and then dug up seedlings of white cedar, black spruce, and eastern hemlock.  Potted in a mix of native soil and rich loam, the trees will be planted next spring along the banks of Rolfe Brook.

In all, ninety tree seedlings were potted by nine enthusiastic campers in under forty-five minutes!  Reflecting on the afternoon, one camper exclaimed “I didn’t realize how many different trees were out there or how much fun transplanting them could be!”

The Downeast Lakes Land Trust regularly hosts speakers, work parties, and workshops, and leads outdoor adventures that highlight the natural and cultural history of the Maine woods and waters.  These programs support the DLLT’s commitment to protecting both the environmental and economic health of the Downeast Lakes region. Visit our website to discover what is happening next!