Campus creek coming back to life
May 11, 2012

The Park-Branch Creek in front of Price Theater is coming back to life as an ecologically sound waterway, thanks to the continued efforts of college students and the City of LaGrange.

Randy Colvin, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology, made this a project last year for his ecology laboratory class. It went so well that he plans to have each spring’s class work on the effort.

“This is an ongoing stream restoration project,” he said. “Every spring, I have my ecology laboratory class design and implement a restoration strategy using the past year’s data, as well as collect new data to determine how to best restore the creek to a more natural state.”

Colvin said they do small sections each year because of the cost of planting trees, and the feasibility of getting results during the limited time of spring semester.

“We work closely with the City of LaGrange,” he said. “They provide workers to help plant trees and take pictures of our progress.”

Last year, students walked the 300-yard creek and picked up trash. Then they went to work pulling up plants like English ivy, kudzu and Chinese privet. Colvin said those plants have been used as landscaping, but they had escaped their bounds and were taking over the creek.

This year, the students sampled the creek for invertebrates, amphibians and frogs. They documented plant cover and compared it to a more natural creek they also sampled on the college’s property at West Point Lake.

“With that information, they devised a plan to increase the stream-side vegetation by planting 25 trees on either side of the creek,” Colvin said. “They also cleaned the creek and removed trash and debris.”

Colvin said they are planning to expand the restoration efforts for next year’s spring ecology class.

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