Students Work on River Restoration

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March is a great time to start gardening and clean up efforts, but along the Price River?

That’s what happened on March 11 when students from the Lighthouse High School joined with others to help on the restoration project that is happening along the Price River in Helper.

“There was a lot of noxious plants and we saw a lot of pollution there,” said Clayton Graham, one of the students who helped and intends on a future working in the outdoors as a law enforcement conservation officer. “I was interested in getting hands-on experience.”

Representatives from River Restoration and Trout Unlimited approached Lighthouse High Principal Karlene Bianco about having the kids work with them. She was all for it.

“We are partners in education with them,” she said. “While our students are helping out the groups running the project, they in turn will teach the students about river environments.”

The students not only cleaned up junk along the river but also cut out noxious plants and did some replanting of willows.

“We are helping the environment along the river,” said Steven Butkovich, another Lighthouse student. “We could do a lot more things to help the environment.”

Butkovich is another student who is interested in working in conservation. He wants to eventually work with the Division of Natural Resources. He also said that he was interested in seeing that the wildlife along the river is maintained and wants to see the river saved for his “children and grandchildren.”
Another bonus for Butkovich is that one of the goals is to turn the river into a great trout fishery. He loves fishing. The Division of Wildlife Resources plants trout in the river already, but by doing the work that is being accomplished, it will make it that much better.

Another student, Kesler Church, said his interest in working on the project had to do with the living things along and in the river.

“I am thinking about being a marine biologist,” he said. “They had us replant willows by the banks. They also had us filter and clean the water in some areas.”

All three said it was a great fun, even though it was work.

Other volunteers, who are working to restore the river, including personnel from the DNR and BLM, accompanied the group of students.

The project is a Helper City project that began in 2011. The willows that were transplanted came from a part of the river near Price. The idea is to help reduce erosion and to also make it so the river carries sediment properly.

In all, seven students from Lighthouse High School participated, but Bianco said that more will be going to help out later.

As for the students they said that they were excited about going back again and learning more about the habitat and what can be done to preserve it.

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