Missouri River Cottonwoods: A Plan for Restoration

Jan 30 by in Arbor Day, Cottonwoods, General, Missouri River, Nature, Trees tagged , , , , , , , with no comments


Employees of the Arbor Day Foundation and The Nature Conservancy were together again on the Missouri River bank last week, clipping and collecting thousands of cottonwood stem cuttings.

Gathering near Union, Nebraska, the volunteer crew set out to collect as many as 10,000 healthy donor cuttings that will be replanted in the Missouri River Valley this spring.

Tyler Janke of The Nature Conservancy explained that as much as 80% of the cottonwood forest along the river corridor has been lost to habitat change, flooding, and just old age. This concerted effort to restore the riparian forest will benefit a variety of native wildlife — from beavers to bald eagles — and will help stabilize the river bank.

This is the third time volunteer groups from these organizations have worked together specifically on cottonwood restoration along the Missouri River, with first cuttings taken in February 2012, a planting event in May 2012, and gathering last week to harvest more cuttings.

Related: Read our blog post about the May 2012 cottonwood planting north of Nebraska City, NE.

Volunteers at the Missouri River, ready to cut cottonwoods


Volunteers at work along the Missouri River


Corey and Robin cut cottonwoods


Volunteers cutting cottonwoods


Sorting cottonwood cuttings

Cottonwood cuttings are dipped in white paint, making it easier to tell top from bottom


Taking cottonwood cuttings along the Missouri River

Volunteer Group: Cottonwood Cutters

The cottonwood crew, front row from left: Sara, Tyler, Brad, Luke, Chase, Corey. Back row: Josh, Alex, Emily, Ashley, Beth, Darry, Heather, Connie, Tyler, Kate, Robin and Joe.


Photos courtesy Carrie Benes, the Arbor Day Foundation.

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