Live Stakes

Vampires and streambank erosion have a lot in common. Both pose threats to human well-being. Both extract substances vital to life. And both can be stopped with stakes. Thankfully, only one of them is real.

New shrubs grow along a streambank
Live stakes will protect this previously barren streambank from erosion

Streambank erosion occurs when wind, water, or other natural processes wash or carry away soil from along stream edges. Erosion occurs naturally over time, but human activity, land-use changes, and climate change can hasten and intensify this process.
 
Streambanks with few trees, shrubs, or other plants (also known as a vegetative buffer) experience higher rates of erosion. A vegetative buffer protects against erosion by shielding the streambank from the elements and holding soil in place with a maze of living roots. Live staking is a simple and effective way to restore a vegetative buffer along a streambank to reduce erosion.

CVC workers stand in a stream planting live shrub branches along the streambank
Live staking along a streambank
A shrub branch planted in the ground is growing new shoots
New growth on a staked branch

Live staking is far easier and less dangerous than fighting off vampires. It involves cutting live branches from native shrubs, like willows and dogwoods, and staking them into the ground along a bare streambank. These living branches will send roots into the ground and slowly grow into full-sized shrubs.
 
Watch how live staking can help prevent your streambank from erosion. Contact a stewardship coordinator to learn more or help you get started. Happy Hallowe’en! 

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