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Events and News
14th Jan

2015

A 2015 Plan for Stage Two of Re-naturalization is In Place

With timelines fast approaching for the submission of grant applications to support the next 2015 phase of the mega-project to re-naturalize the open spaces of Riverlot 56, details have been pretty much worked out on a basic plan.

Ten ‘planting islands’ will focus our efforts to re-establish conifer habitat using white spruce. These are the historically-significant conifers of this area. Some 500 or more small spruce will be planted in semi-random fashion in the designated ‘island’ sites. Care will be taken to allow space for mowing and control of competitive weeds and grasses within the ‘islands’. At least one new trail extension will wind through these planting ‘islands’ allowing room for the passage of ski trail-setting equipment in the winter and mowers in the summer. The first plantings of spruce will occur in late May.

Depending on the grant support obtained, as many as 45 large spruce and 10 large trembling aspen will be used to demark the new trail much as for the new trail created in the ‘lower riverlot’ in 2014. A new twist to the placement of large trees is the chance to choose between nursery stock or actual trees planted in Riverlot 56 more than 20 years ago. Transplanting of spruce trees, which are competing for space and sunlight along the edge of the 2015 site, may not only reduce costs but could allow for even more demarkating trees within the new re-naturalization area. The time to attempt large tree planting or transplanting will either be late May or more likely, early, mid or late September.

Using Google Earth photos, a working site plan has been created to give guidance to the planning effort. The location of four deer exclosures has been established. These spots are where numerous deciduous shrubs will be reintroduced free of the problem of browsing herbivores. In time, perhaps five to seven years, these shrubs will have the temporary fencing removed but only after they have had time to get established. They will then join the other dietary items that deer make use of in the area but with the chance to remain viable with the hope of spreading in some cases by suckering.

Once again, the Riverlot 56 Natural Area Society will be partnering with the St. Albert Nordic Ski Club (STANSKI), the City of St. Albert and the County of Sturgeon with additional advisory support from the NAIT Biological Sciences Technology staff.

As was the case last year, volunteers will be needed on numerous occasions to assist in the project. The application of water, especially if we suffer any summer drought periods, is key to success. Many hours will be devoted to hand watering individual plants. Significant expense goes towards the purchase and hauling of water to the site to give the saplings and larger trees a chance to establish their roots in these uplands soils.

The illustrations that follow show the working site plan for 2015:
 

Riverlot 56 Total Area

Riverlot 56 Total Area

 

Riverlot Stage Two Focus

Riverlot Stage Two Focus

 

County Mowing at Riverlot 56

County Mowing at Riverlot 56