Yakima Partners with Local Organizations to Revitalize River - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Partners with Local Organizations to Revitalize River

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YAKIMA, WA. -- About a dozen volunteers worked Saturday planting indigenous plants on the banks of the Yakima River. To some it is a day of community service but to one, it's a passion.

Digging through rocks is hard. Harder for some than for others.

Duward Massie is 85, going on 86, as he describes it but that doesn't slow him down.

"If a hole is difficult for oneself to dig," Duward said, "it is also difficult for my neighbors over here so we empathize with each other."

"He's out here digging holes doing just as much as everyone else," volunteer Colleen Adams-Schulppe said. "Matter of fact I think I took a break before he did."

He's worked with the Yakima Arboretum for more than half his life. Rooted with one organization.

"Except my roots move around a little bit more," Duward jokes.

Young and old joined Duward at Billy's Pond on a Saturday morning part of a $2 million effort between the city and local organizations to restore the river's banks.

"We hope to measure improved water quality and ultimately we hope to protect valuable infrastructure like the water treatment plant," City of Yakima Engineer Ryan Anderson said.

Like a tree...

"If you get one going it may last beyond your own lifetime," Duward said.

Duward hopes the legacy he's planting can last for many generations.

The Arboretum is working on a project to gather all of Duward's knowledge about trees in a video library for future generations. Talk about a deep rooted legacy.