Clarks Island‎ > ‎

Tule Revegetation

Tules along shorelines play an important ecological role, helping to buffer against wind and water forces, thereby allowing the establishment of other types of plants and reducing erosion.

Tules also provide habitat for many shoreline and aquatic animals in the form of food, nesting materials and shelter.

Tules Wetlands are nature’s filter. They are the plants that grow around the lake’s shoreline having roots at or under the waterline all year round.  Wetlands filter out much of the nutrient load and other chemicals found in rain water, storm water runoff and erosion, before they get into the lake.

Why is this important? Excess nutrients can lead to nuisance algae blooms and increased aquatic weed growth.

Over 70% of the natural wetlands around Clear Lake have been eliminated over the decades, due to human encroachment and erosion.

The best way to combat this encroachment is through Tule Revegetation. We have created a series of videos with Carolyn Ruttan of the Lake County Department of Water Resources, to educated the public on tules, their value, and how to replant them. Each of these can be found below. We also have a downloadable brochure. on Tule Revegetaion. (PDF 8.5x11, 778KB)

Videos:
  • Video 1 -  "Tule" Remarkable: An overview of tules and tule revegetation..... 9 minutes.
  • Video 2 -  Tule ReVegetation Volume 1: Putting Back the Filter. Covers general tule information, tules under stress, tule replanting site assessment and the tools needed to revegetate tule wildlings. ..... 9 minutes.
  • Video 3 - Tule ReVegetation Volume 2: Digging up Tules .......13 min.
  • Video 4 - Tule ReVegetation Volume 3: Replanting Tule Wildlings ........ 9 min.

"Tule" Remarkable: An overview of tules and tule revegetation..... 9 minutes.



Tule ReVegetation Volume 1: Putting Back the Filter. Covers general tule information, tules under stress, tule replanting site assessment and the tools needed to revegetate tule wildlings. ..... 9 minutes.


Tule ReVegetation Volume 2: Digging up Tules .......13 min.


Tule ReVegetation Volume 3: Replanting Tule Wildlings ........ 9 min.



Technical Papers:
Tech Memo 13: Harvesting, Propagating and Planting Wetland Plants - USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service, Boise ID. 11 pgs. PDF 885KB.

Tech Memo 38: Users Guide to Description, Propagation and Establishment of Wetland Plant Species and Grasses for Riparian areas in the Intermountain West. - USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service, Boise ID. 46 pgs. PDF 1.1MB



What you need to know about tules:

Clear Lake is:

  • Largest lake within the borders of California – 63 square miles.

  • Oldest lake in the nation – 1.5-2 million years.

  • Average depth – 24 ft.

  • Eutrophic – rich in nutrients.

  • Health status (according to CA State Water Resources Control Board) – impaired due to mercury and nutrients.

  • Thriving fishery – large-mouthed bass, catfish, crappie, …

  • Wildlife mecca – egrets, bald-eagles, grebes, white pelicans, river otters, …

  • Geologically active - earthquake fault-lines, geothermal resource, hot springs and volcanism.

Tules - A Natural Filter

  • People have eliminated >70% of the natural wetlands around Clear Lake.

  • Wetlands are nature’s filter. They are the plants that grow around the lake’s shoreline having roots at or under the waterline all year round.

  • Our most common wetland plants are tule, Schoenoplectus acutus, and cattail, Typha latifolia.

  • Wetlands filter out much of the nutrient load and other chemicals in rain water before it flows into the lake.

  • Humans dump a whole lot of stuff on the ground that can wind up, after a rain, heading toward the lake.

  • Tules are a member of the sedge family, an important food, material and habitat source for scores of aquatic and terrestrial birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and mammals. Tule seeds are one of the more important food resources for ducks, marshbirds and shorebirds. Tule rhizomes are preferred by geese and muskrats. Tule stems are important nesting and roosting resources for wetland birds. Tule stems are used as shady safe refuge for small fish, amphibians and reptiles.

  • Native Americans use tules for food – the rhizome is sweet when eaten cooked, raw or dried; pollen is used as flour; seeds are ground into flour; and young shoots are eaten cooked or raw. Native Americans use tules for construction and craft material – dried rhizomes are used in basketry; stems are used in house and canoe construction, in mats for insulation and thatching, and in clothing such as mud-shoes, skirts and capes.

  • Tules have a very aggressive root system and rhizomes (underground stems). The roots and rhizomes grow quickly, more than one foot a year. They have 10 times more roots in the same volume of soil than an upland grass plant.

  • Tule roots have to be in contact with saturated soil at all times. They breath by having special air-filled cells in their tissue. They can tolerate water up to 6 ft depth.

  • Above-ground stems grow to 9 feet. Each stem lives for approximately one year. Stems can be cut to just above water surface. They will rapidly regrow with no effect on the strength and health of the plant.

  • Stems flower close to their tips and produce a prodigious amount of seed that ripens in late August to September.

  • Wildlings (wild plants) are easily transplanted and will fill in the harvest hole rapidly.


TULE WILDLINGS


Preparing the Wildling Revegetation Site
  • Wildlings can be dug for transplanting from March to October. March-planted wildlings will have the rest of the year to establish well. October-planted wildlings will have the most carbohydrate reserve in their rhizome/root system to grow rapidly, immediately, at a time of year that can still be hot. Speed of growth is directly related to temperature.
  • Wildling plugs 6”x 6”x 6” are planted on 18” centers. Wildlings can be planted on shore in the drawdown zone and in water.
  • Survey revegetation site for size of planting area. At each 18” distance from the waterline, at the time, in both directions determine the depth of water, into the lake, and the depth to permanent moisture up the bank or beach. Draw a graph showing the slope of the terrain and the water level. Calculate the number of wildlings required at each 18” distance from the waterline. For the maximum distance from the waterline to be planted, calculate the height at which to cut the wildling stems so they remain 4-5” above the waterline or soil-line.
Preparing the Wildlings
  • Wildling collection area must be at least 4 sq. ft. Use a 2’x 2’ quadrant to identify this minimum area and separate this from the next area.

  • Drop a 1’x 1’ quadrant into the large quadrant. From each 1’x 1’ quad, four wildling plugs will be made.

  • Cut any green stems in the 1’x 1’ quad to the length described above. Remove all dead stems by cutting at soil level or pulling.

  • Using a flat-edged spade and the quad as a 1 sq. ft. measure, cut into the tule rhizome/root mat perpendicular to the soil/sediment surface. At a depth of 5-6” cut horizontally through the rhizome/root mat. This is achieved by peeling up a 5-6” depth of tule on one edge and continuing to slice through to the other edge.

  • Chop the 1’x 1’ piece into four plugs using the flat-edged spade rapidly.

  • Place plugs in a Styrofoam cooler without a lid. Cover the rhizome/root mat with lake water. Cover the cooler with a piece of light shade cloth. Keep cool  - on a hot day add ice cubes to the water.

  • Wildling plugs must be kept wet during transit and prior to planting.

  • If wildlings are to be kept for more than a 24 hr period before planting, replace lake water in the cooler with saturated, cold peatmoss. Place ice cubes on the peatmoss.

Preparing the Revegetation Site
  • The revegetation site must be free of weeds, in particular grass weeds, creeping water primrose and any member of the Polygonum family, e.g., smart weed.

  • The soil should be saturated for ease of digging. Accomplish this with buckets of lake water.

  • Work from the water up the beach/bank. This way you will not disturb what has already been planted.

  • Use a trowel or your hand to scoop out enough soil/lake sediment to accept the 6”x6”x6” plug.

  • Be gentle with the plugs, avoid losing soil from the plug. Soil in contact with tule roots already has the prerequisite microbes to assist the tule with nutrient uptake.

  • Pack the soil in around the plug with your hand so the planting feels firm.

  • On the beach/bank, the bottom of the plug must be in contact with the water saturation zone.

Monitoring the Revegetation Site
  • Weed control is important during the establishment year. Tules like growing in a monoculture. They will put up with cattail as a neighbor plant. They cannot compete with creeping water primrose or grasses like reed canary grass.

  • Monitor the site for 3 years after planting, making a judgement about the success of revegetation at different sites.

Putting Back the Filter (Tule Re-Vegetation)

  • Tules can be easily transplanted to re-vegetate parts of the shoreline that are without a wetland.

  • See the downloadable brochure. on Tule Revegetaion. (PDF 8.5x11, 778KB)

Read a blog on restoring tules to Clear Lake http://deniserushing.blogspot.com/2010/08/lake.html


Comments