Kholer Creek a hidden gem

Faculty member Jonathan Long laying out rebar for measuring the progress of the renovation. Photo by Zach Tierney

Ecological groups work to preserve the nature area behind American River College

The cross-country team, the dog walkers, the neighborhood residents, the California Conservation Corps and the homeless all have something in common; a beautiful slice of land behind American River College.

Most students The Current spoke to had no clue that tucked behind the horticulture department is a nature preserve. The Arcade Creek Nature Area starts a few feet from the campus, and is a place where people can feel like they are in the woods one moment and back to the hustle and bustle of the college campus the next. Kohler Creek, a small tributary to the larger Arcade Creek, is part of the campus grounds.

“Adjacent to parking lot A is the Holyoke Nature Area, 1 ½ acre site where a pathway follows the meandering Kohler Creek,” ARC alumna and current UC Davis student Kelsey Craig wrote in an email to The Current.  “Many students and residents use this informal trail as access to the campus, which runs from the residences in the subdivision to the north of campus to Myrtle Avenue and across to the northeast edge of campus where it confluences with Arcade Creek.”

This little bit of nature enjoyed by many is eroding away. Empty containers, cigar wrappings and other trash build up litters the various paths that lead off of the main trails.

Craig, who is also an ARC instructional aid, along with members of the Ecos club and horticulture and biology students have been making a difference in the area by removing invasive species and planting native erosion-preventing plants. The Kohler Creek Ecological Restoration Project was started for this purpose. The project is adding “riffles,” small piles of round rocks and pebbles to the creek bed, and the workers are planting native basket sedge, a plant with a root system that can grow up to 4 feet, to help keep the soil on the banks.

“The riffles help to maintain the well-being of the creek,” Craig told The Current while working over a weekend.

The excitement with which Craig, the Ecos club and the other students talk about the project showed the passion they felt for the work.

They are not the only ones working in this “natural feeling” space.

“We were asked to come back here and reroute the trails because of erosion,” said Tristan Hutchinson, a supervisor for the California Conservation Corps (CCC).

The excitement for the work was shared by fellow CCC worker Raymond Rowan.

“I like to make California look better,” Rowan said. “We can’t have our capitol looking (bad).”

This concern is also shared by local Mira Loma High School students who can also be found cleaning up the trails found behind ARC. Juniors and seniors from the high school work on special projects helping with conservation efforts.

Last semester the Ecos club was awarded $1,000 by the Sacramento Urban Creeks Council to work on the Kohler Creek Ecological Restoration Project. With this money ARC students hope to improve our campus and the surrounding community.

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