Stewardship coordinator Nate Roberts and education/outreach associate Rian Plastow of the North Olympic Salmon Coalition lead a tree planting event near the Dungeness River in pre-pandemic February 2020. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group file photo)

Stewardship coordinator Nate Roberts and education/outreach associate Rian Plastow of the North Olympic Salmon Coalition lead a tree planting event near the Dungeness River in pre-pandemic February 2020. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group file photo)

‘Micro-plantings’ restore natural habitat

Salmon coalition adapts to COVID-19 pandemic

The program has changed for the health of the volunteers. The events themselves are continuing for the health of the planet, according to the North Olympic Salmon Coalition.

The coalition is continuing efforts to restore native habitat with a series of “micro-plantings,” with small groups joining coalition volunteers and staff in planting native trees and bushes at key areas across the North Olympic Peninsula.

Traditionally, North Olympic Salmon Coalition (NOSC) tree plantings draw about 25 people per session, stewardship coordinator Nate Roberts said, so staff decided to offer two sessions per day to meet with the interest.

“A lot of our volunteers are itching to get out any way they can,” Roberts said. “Being outside and having conversation (with someone) is kind of a revelation in this day and age. (And) a lot of new people want to volunteer for the same reason.”

The next session, set for Saturday along the Dungeness River, will follow a number of COVID-19 safety protocols NOSC staff have put in place.

Reforestation will improve water quality on the Dungeness River and create healthy habitat for the fish and wildlife that frequent the area, NOSC representatives said. Trees and shrubs provide shade for fish, restores nutrients and reduces erosion, and the large woody debris that falls into the river creates eddies — important spots for young salmon.

The micro-planting will have two sessions — the first, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the second from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. — and will be limited to eight volunteers per session, with two NOSC staffers on hand.

All volunteers RSVP and sign a COVID-19 safety agreement, and on the day of the event undergo a brief health screening.

“In the morning we do a quick screening via telephone with each volunteer to make sure their temperatures aren’t elevated,” Roberts said.

Face coverings must be worn, and social distancing must be maintained during the event.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own gloves — NOSC will have pairs available to keep — and tools, though NOSC will have tools available to use and will sterilize them before and after plantings.

At micro-plantings earlier this year, including one on the Pysht River on Jan. 16 and on Kodama Farm near Chimacum, NOSC volunteers were able to set up individual plots to help space participants apart.

Alongside NOSC staffers, volunteers contribute hundreds of hours planting thousands of native plants to restore salmon and wildlife habitat, with a variety of trees such as Oregon ash, Pacific crabapple, western red cedar, grand fir and western hemlock, to shrubs such as red osier dogwood, oceanspray, snowberry, Nootka rose, Douglas spirea and red-flowering currant.

“This is good way for (people) to get out and volunteer and improve degraded habitat across the peninsula,” Roberts said. “It’s a great way to escape all the chaos.”

The COVID-19 pandemic did shut down or stymie some NOSC volunteer opportunities, Roberts said, but the coalition adapted.

For example, NOSC kept up monitoring of spawning salmon in Chimacum Creek with a reduced-sized group of regular volunteers; the move let the coalition bypass the traditional two-hour, in-person orientation for newcomers by using veteran helpers.

“We kind of stuck with volunteers who’ve done this for years in the past,” Roberts said.

NOSC also traditionally offers educational outreach for Peninsula schools; COVID forced much of that online, so NOSC began creating videos detailing degraded habitat in the region.

“We haven’t really skipped a beat with our other projects,” he said.

For more about NOSC micro-plantings, contact Lexi at [email protected] or 360-504-5611, and visit

More in Life

Charcoal artist in spotlight at Harbor Art Gallery

Harbor Art Gallery is featuring charcoal artist Lance Snider… Continue reading

Nature photographer, Moasic members bring art to Sequim gallery

An award-winning photographer with an eye for storytelling through images… Continue reading

Photo by Dale Hackney
The two biggest things right now are planting in pruning, Here a good client has photographed me planting new beret fruit trees to fill out his orchard.
A GROWING CONCERN: Marching toward spring gardening chores

MARCH IS TOMORROW, and I know you want your to-do-list for the… Continue reading

HORSEPLAY: Arena owner’s passion includes kids, horses, dogs

HER ENTHUSIASM AND passion are catching. I’m smiling inside just thinking about… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Try to embrace the science of kindness

There is an embrace of kindness that encompasses all life, even yours.… Continue reading

Julia Cochrane helped open the Winter Welcoming Center in downtown Port Townsend's Pope Marine Building this month. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Welcoming Center gives shelter from cold

Social distancing practiced in Pope Marine Building

Claudine Sill —  left, with Rolanda —  and Deb Cox —  with Hadley —  are looking for volunteers to help raise guide dogs for the Guide Dogs for the Blind-Sequim, WA Puppy Raisers organization. Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group
Sequim group seeks help with raising puppies

Pandemic forces training creativity

Anna DeGroote receives the Soroptimist International of Port Angeles nursing scholarship
Soroptimist International of Port Angeles awards nursing scholarship

Soroptimist International of Port Angeles has awarded its annual… Continue reading

Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County to host remembrance ceremony

Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County will host a community… Continue reading

Most Read