After a morning of planting with many local volunteers, Washington Conservation Corps workers put up protection from nibbling deer along Ten Mile Creek on Saturday. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

EVERSON ­— With Earth Day approaching Monday, more than 180 volunteers pitched in to help plant 560 native-species specimens along a prime stretch of Ten Mile Creek near Irene Reither Elementary School on Saturday.

Together with ongoing tree plantings of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in the area, there is hope of successfully restoring Ten Mile to greater health for fish and wildlife habitat and overall water quality, said Aneka Sweeney of the Whatcom Conservation District.

The district partners with Washington Conservation Corps crews, the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association and plenty of volunteers to do these Saturday streamside planting projects, nine in all this spring. They are close to wrapping up.

The species of choice are often Western Red Cedar, black twinberry and Pacific nine bark. 

In this particular 2-acre site, the stream had already been fenced off from pasturing cattle by WCD with the support of the property owner, setting up this project in the 30-40 feet from the creek. 

Coho and chum salmon, and even some chinook, have been identified as using Ten Mile for spawning, Sweeney said.

The Conservation District will continue to be active further upstream and in wetlands that flank either side of Hemmi Road in the area. Perhaps a similar project as this can take place on Ten Mile again next year.

“We’re just piecing them together one parcel at a time,” Sweeney said.

Under the CREP program, improvements made must be protected and maintained as well, giving force to the natural vegetation restoration.