A TRU research project looking at how trees can augment or replace storm water systems for heavy rains took a hit this week after being struck by vandals.
Sections of hose that was meticulously wound around the trunk of three trees at McArthur Island were torn off. There are 24 trees from a number of varieties being studied by Julie Taylor Schooling, a master’s student in Thompson Rivers University’s environmental science program.
Taylor Schooling said the vandalism will require extra work and there are concerns about placing more staples in trees.
“Sadly we’re going to have to put in a surveillance program for these trees so we can keep an eye on stuff.”
That will be backed up by signs informing park users of the project and the need to respect the work done in preparation. The project is being done in co-operation with the City.
The study is intended to test how well trees intercept heavy spring rains in the local climate. Its findings could help the City determine if trees can play a part in storm water management, replacing expensive curb and gutter, for example.
The master’s degree student has a group of a dozen volunteers, many from the Kamloops Naturalists Club, in place to undertake the work. Once a forecast of a severe rain comes, the crew will quickly go to the park to place a series of 400 buckets under selected trees.
But the hose to collect runoff down the trunk is an important part of the study and must be in place beforehand. The hose is stapled but the final 15 centimeters is free, so it can pour into a bucket.
That free 15 centimetres of hose proved to be the handle for vandals who tugged at the material and ripped it off.
Taylor Schooling also fears the unstapled hose could be a safety hazard to children in a nearby daycare.
Despite the setback, the science student expects everything to be ready by the first week of June, during a month that is the rainiest in Kamloops.