Volunteers add native species along Labish Ditch in Claggett Creek Park. (Submitted photo)

Several donors have stepped up to replace – and then some – two recently-planted trees stolen from Claggett Creek Park.

The trees were planted as part of an Earth Day project coordinated by the Claggett Creek Watershed Council and the City of Keizer. Volunteers planted three Oregon ash trees Saturday, April 16, only to learn two were reported stolen Tuesday, May 3.

However, donations from the West Salem Kiwanis Club and an Aumsville resident mean the city’s getting “numerous trees,” said Elizabeth Sagmiller, the city’s environmental coordinator.

“Some of the trees will be used to replace those at Claggett Creek Park, some will be used at the Claggett Creek Middle School restoration sites and a couple may even be planted at the Keizer Civic Center,” Sagmiller said.

The trees were four to five feet tall and planted to stabilize the bank and provide shade to keep water temperatures down. Sagmiller said it looks like someone tried to steal the third tree, and has no idea who might have stolen the two or why. They were valued at $30 to $40. Public works employees spotted the missing trees.

The larger project included adding native species along the riparian corridor of Labish Ditch at Country Glen Park and trees at a wetland mitigation site at the same park. Twenty six volunteers planted a total of 65 trees and shrubs.

“The new plants will help to shade the stream, abate erosion, provide habitat for wildlife, and help to crowd out invasive weeds,” Sagmiller said. “Projects such as these are a requirement of state and federally mandated stormwater programs.”

Volunteers included West Keizer Neighborhood Association members, a biology class from Chemeketa Community College, local Boy Scouts and interested Salem and Kezier residents.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Sagmiller said. “The stream benefits from the activity, and the volunteers get to be a part of creating something worthwhile in their own area. From a personal standpoint, it’s nice to know that the volunteers involved in the original planting got a bit more recognition for their efforts through the kindness of others in the community.  I can’t say enough about the volunteer efforts.  Planting trees in wet spring weather is muddy business.  Our volunteers were cheerful, enthusiastic, and energetic.