EnviroStars shining bright in Poulsbo

"POULSBO - Blue flags dotted the landscape at the Don Baskins' place on Little Valley Road Sunday morning. At each flag, a hole was to be dug. And in each hole, a tree or shrub was to be planted. There were 840 flags in all, but the 40 or so volunteers that had arrived on the scene were definitely up to the task. Wearing gardening clothes, gloves and bearing shovels of all varieties, men, women and children representing numerous civic groups and local EnviroStars businesses set out to improve the habitat surrounding Dogfish Creek. Aging Red Alders on the property are nearing the end of their life cycle, explained Rachel Maggi, a biologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Maggi pointed out that shady areas and improved habitat - provided by new trees - were essential to increasing salmon stocks at Dogfish Creek. In addition to Chinook and Coho, the creek also has Chum and Cutthroat Trout spawning in its shallow waters. This particular portion of the stream has a lot of runs, she added. This is the third or fourth phase of the restoration project here, Maggi told the large group before the work got underway. Eagle and Girl Scouts and staff from Auto Body Experts of Poulsbo, Hansville Repair, Enviro Print Shop and B&B Auto Repair of Bremerton, Photo Dynamics of Silverdale, Suquamish Auto Repair, Twiss Analytical and DME Auto Service in Poulsbo participated in the half-day of labor. Businesses involved are also part of the Bremerton-Kitsap County Health District's EnviroStars program, which encourages environmentally-friendly policies and practices in the workplace. Jim Kurle of Auto Body Experts provided the main push behind getting the group involved in the year-old improvement project on Dogfish Creek. Work at the site actually started last spring when local Eagle Scouts planted trees and shrubs on the other side of the creek at the Baskins' property. The survival rate of last spring's effort, according to Maggi, has been an astounding 98 percent. With this in mind, she explained the daunting task facing the eager volunteers. What we have today is 840 plants that need to go in the ground, she said, noting that both shade and sun species would be used at the site. Elizabeth McCloskey of the Bremerton-Kitsap County Health District said she felt the group represented a great partnership in the community. One of the things I'm liking about today is that the government is working with the private sector and families side by side, she said, crediting Kurle with his efforts to get all the parties involved. It's been such a pleasure to work on this project. Maggi echoed this idea. Everybody who said they'd be here is here and they brought their families too - it's great, she said. "

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