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Elderberry Mitigation at the Correll-Rodgers Restoration Site

The Conservancy is getting a new building to house its offices and the Visitor Center! It shouldn’t be too much longer; we still have some electric and permitting tasks to finish.

One important task we’ve now finished is to mitigate for the Elderberry plant that had to be removed for the new building. The Elderberry (Sambucus spp.) is the only place one can find the threatened insect called the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (VELB).

Red and black Valley Elderberry Longhorned Beetle on Elderberry branch.

“The Valley Elderberry Longhorned beetle, an endangered species, spend most of their lives as larvae inside the stems of the bushes, emerging as adults between March and June to lay their eggs on nearby elderberries. The insects eat elderberry nectar, flowers and leaves.”

~ US Forest and Wildlife Service

Photo by Jon Katz, USFWS, Public Domain

On Thursday, November 16, our new Biologist, Ivy Liu, worked with Yolo County Resource Conservation District (RCD) to lead a team of interns and volunteers to plant and irrigate fifty-four Elderberry seedlings and thirty native associate plants on a nearby conservation easement.

The easement was formed from two former gravel mine pits on the Correll and Rodgers properties. The Correll/Rodgers Conservation Easement has been actively and passively restored by multiple organizations over several years, including Cache Creek Conservancy. The easement is held by the Yolo Habitat Conservancy and the RCD created a planting plan for it.

The Work

The Conservancy staff were up early to load up equipment. They met up with RCD staff and volunteers at the site.

A group of volunteers, staff and interns in a circle on a rural road with native trees in the background

RCD’s Amy Williams led a kick-off introduction circle where staff and volunteers from Cache Creek Conservancy and RCD shared their backgrounds and career journeys.

Felicia Wang, Restoration Biologist with Cache Creek Conservancy, is selecting various seedlings to take down to the work areas.

Felicia Wang, in a gray sweatshirt and cap crouching over a group of nursery pots with seedlings
One volunteer is digging a hole with a shovel while another is carrying the supplies needed for the seedling

The process for plantings begins by digging a hole and protecting the small seedlings with the green hard-foam tubes held in place with a bamboo stick.

When they grow out of the tubes, the seedlings will be protected, largely from deer, by a cage held together with a metal stake. The CCC crew has been building cages and green tubes for the project.

One of the staging areas where cage cylinders, irrigation tubing, metal stakes and other supplies are available to the workers
Two young men returning to the site on a path coming downhill from a levee

Chris Carter, Groundskeeper at the Nature Preserve (foreground) returning from one of his many trips to pound the metal stakes into the ground. Fifty-five stakes were pounded into the ground by CCC staff, Jolene and Chris. Hard work!

Lines of irrigation were installed by volunteers from CCC and RCD. Different colored flags indicate different plants. Blue was for Blue Elderberry. You can see the terrain was irregular and difficult to move around on.

Irrigation tubing laid out on rough, brown, fall grasses following the location of seedling pots, flags and stakes
A half dozen volunteers in the distance spreading out irrigation tubing

Planting areas were in a couple different spots. These volunteers are working on the irrigation for a second area.

RCD had another crew working in the distance to plant and irrigate Elderberries, too.

Another planting crew working off in the distance on a dry, grassy hill

The video above shows the work done about one third way through the project. You can see the terrain is a bit irregular to walk around on. This kind of work is hard and the day was getting hotter!

Short, green, hard-foam cylinder protecting a newly planted elderberry seedling

Success! You can see the soil around the newly planted seedling got wet when the irrigation was turned on! Yolo RCD folks will come weekly to turn on/off the irrigation moving forward!

The project took a few more days to complete. Ivy Liu and TGG Specialist, Jolene Jindrich worked to finish through the weekend.


A view of another portion of the Correll/Rodgers Conservation Easement

Posted on November 27th, 2023 by Cache Creek Conservancy

Posted in: Restoration
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