Eroding stream banks can expose tree roots, eventually killing trees, which can fall into streams, blocking water flow and reducing precious tree canopy. But many mature trees often are lost when streams are “restored.” They cannot be replaced with like-sized trees that perform the same ecological functions, such as capturing and filtering stormwater. In addition, the soil disturbance by bulldozers can remove seed banks of native plants and invite non-native plants such as Japanese stilt grass, wavyleaf basket grass and others to invade restoration areas and outcompete the native plants that butterflies, birds and other creatures rely on for food. Anytime a stream restoration is planned, it’s a good idea to learn as much about it as possible, submit feedback and monitor the situation before, during and after. It’s a great way to stand up for trees.
Gulf Branch is the latest stream restoration project in Arlington. The introductory public meeting is Wednesday, July 17 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Gulf Branch Nature Center, 3608 N. Military Rd., Arlington. Here’s a link to the project. Tree Stewards have been asked by Arlington County to provide feedback. Please do so.