League Lines: Planting To Improve Water Quality

Rob Ryan and family

About 40 volunteers – including chapter members, Girl Scouts, and students — pitched in for the Wildlife Achievement Chapter’s tree planting project in the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s (WSSC) Pig Tail Recreation Area.

The recreation area is a buffer zone WSSC acquired around one of its reservoirs. With increased development in the surrounding area, it is increasingly important to filter runoff into the reservoir to help maintain drinking water quality. Native trees help do that, plus they benefit wildlife – and wildlife watchers.

The morning started with an unpleasant surprise: A large tree was down across the access road to the planting area. And as Murphy’s Law would dictate, all the trees the chapter was planting that day were to go in on the other side of the downed tree. Volunteers began carrying the trees, tools, wire, and rebar up the hill to the planting area and were ready to start work before someone could even return with a chain saw. (They did clear the access road as well!)

Chapter members and volunteers planted native trees and shrubs, caged the new plantings to protect them from deer browse, and cleared invasive plants from prior plantings.

This was not the first time members of the Wildlife Achievement Chapter visited WSSC’s Pig Tail area. The chapter’s partnership with WSSC goes back to 1999, when chapter members installed fish cribs in the reservoir. The following year, chapter members began planting trees at the Pig Tail area.