West Linn High School students came out to Abernethy Creek last week to try their hand at bioengineering to help stabilize the eroding banks of the waterway. Due to invasive plant species, a lack of deeply rooted native trees and shrubs and high water levels, the banks of Abernethy Creek and many other waterways in the area have been eroding quickly. This introduces sediment into the water, which attracts more sunlight, clogs fish gills and makes it difficult for visibility of predator and prey.
Students arranged willow stakes and whips, harvested from native willows, into bundles tied with biodegradable twine. These bundles were placed into trenches dug in the eroding bank and staked in with live willow stakes. These bundles, while placed horizontally, will grow vertically and create an extensive network of roots to hold onto the soil of the banks. This method will also provide shade and stop pollution from entering the waterway.