The Clallam Conservation District is teaming up with several partners to host free educational programs and volunteer catering opportunities across the Northern Olympic Peninsula from October 5-9.
The events, dubbed Orca Recovery Week, are designed to raise awareness of the plight of the Southern Resident Killer Whale and aid in salmon recovery efforts, as the killer whale’s diet consists largely of salmon, said organizers.
Partners include the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Quileute Tribe, Clallam County Environmental Health, Dungeness River Nature Center, and the State Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
Educational events begin Tuesday, with a guided walk through the ancient bed of Lake Aldwell to the Elwha River to learn how various restoration efforts, including the removal of dams, have returned the river to its natural state. and helped native fish populations. recover.
Later in the evening, a webinar is scheduled on the health of Sutherland Lake and Indian Creek, with an overview of past, present and future restoration activities of streams that provide fish habitat and contribute to populations of fish from the Elwha River.
On Wednesday, event organizers will offer a guided walk along the Dungeness River to explain the many challenges the river has faced over the past century, including winter flooding, low flows during the summer months and impacts on riparian habitat. The walk is followed by a briefing on the projects that have been implemented to help restore the watershed.
Volunteers are needed starting Thursday, with a planting event that morning off Cooper Ranch Road near Forks. Help is needed to plant hundreds of conifer seedlings along the Sol Duc River and a tributary.
Over time, organizers say, these trees will maintain cooler water temperatures during the summer months and provide a future source of woody debris important for fish habitat.
On October 8, volunteers are needed to help clean up debris from Indian Creek as it drains from Sutherland Lake and heads toward the Elwha River.
In August, volunteers removed more than two tonnes of garbage and 30 tires, but there is still more to be collected. Removing debris is important because it displaces habitat, pollutes water and harms aquatic life, event organizers said.
The final event will take place on October 9 with a large-scale plantation on the Elwha River. Volunteers are needed to plant 2,000 conifers along the Elwha River that runs through the old reservoir of Lake Aldwell.
Removal of the dam left around 700 acres of old lake beds to return to native forests, and difficult growing conditions such as lack of topsoil and direct exposure to wind, rain and sun made it difficult to establish conifers in old lake beds.
All events are free and designed with COVID-19 security protocols in mind.
For more information or to register, visit the Clallam Conservation District website.