holyoutlaw: (me meh)

It’s coming up soon! Here are the details:

The June work party of Friends of North Beach Park will happen on Saturday, June 27, 2015. The location will be the South Plateau, at 88th St. and 27th Ave NW. The work party will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Your host will be Drexie Malone.

We’ll be providing after care to the native plants reintroduced to the South Plateau in the last couple years. This will include removing competing plants that can hinder their growth or completely choke them out.

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers than can get dirty. The temperature is currently forecast to be in the upper 80s, so please be sure to bring plenty of cold water and take frequent rest breaks. It would help to drink some extra water before heading to the park, as well as bringing extra with you. Because of the presence of stinging nettle, long-sleeved t-shirts and long pants are recommended. Having said all that, the South Plateau is very shady and the work planned is not very strenuous.

To get to the South Plateau: From the intersection of 24th Ave NW and NW 85th St., head west on 85th St (Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church will be on your right). At the intersection of 26th Ave and 85th St., turn right (North). Drive north on 26th Ave. for a long block until the intersection with 88th St., which will be on your left. Turn left onto 88th St. and look for parking. The entrance to the South Plateau is about half a block north on 27th Ave. The #48 bus line stops at 85th and 26th; the #40 bus line stops at 85th and 24th. Check http://metro.kingcounty.gov/#plan-a-trip for exact details.

If you have any questions about the work party or Friends of North Beach Park, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com for further information.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Another great work party today at North Beach Park! We were able to plant 150 wetland trees and shrubs with time to spare. The plants we installed were:

Scientific Name Common Name
Fraxinus latifolia Oregon ash
Malus fusca Pacific crab apple
Physocarpus capitatus Pacific ninebark
Salix lucida Pacific willow
Salix sitchensis Sitka willow

Five buckets of fun!
Five buckets of fun!

These are all “facultative wetland” plants, which means that 2/3ds of the time they are found growing in wetlands, and about 1/3 or so in slightly dryer areas. They were purchased from 4th Corner Nuseries as partial fulfillment of the Washington Native Plant Society Stewardship Grant that Friends of North Beach Park received last June. It’s been a very successful grant for us, and we look forward to seeing the results in the summer and the coming years.

We had eleven volunteers ranging in age from senior in high school on up to well retired. Here is a picture of two of them:

Spot the volunteers!
Spot the volunteers!

We installed the plants between the stream and the trail, in areas that were primarily salmonberry and red alder. They greatly increase the diversity of plant life in those areas; in a few years, they’ll be taller than the salmonberry and quite striking. Also, when they’re at their full height, they will increase the structural diversity (that’s good for birds as well visual aesthetics). We worked in two sections of the park, the Headwaters Bowl and the Central Valley.

I didn’t take very many pictures this time, but there are a few more on Flickr.

Our next two work parties are scheduled for March 28th and April 25th. We usually skip May, because of Memorial Day weekend, but we’re working on something special that should be a lot of fun. We’ll update with details as they become solidified.

Join us in the woods some time! It’s fun and a great way to meet your neighbors.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

One of the great things that has made the restoration of North Beach Park so successful is the fact that three forest stewards (myself, Tad, and Drexie) have gotten together most Mondays for a couple hours.

We started sometime in late 2011, probably during the research for our Master Forester project. And then we just kept going. It was never an obligation, it was always a choice. Sometimes things would come up for one or another of us, sometimes we’d decide it was too cold or rainy.

But four out of five Mondays for the last three+ years would find us in the park, 10 a.m. to noon. Sometimes there would be something I’d want to do, but as often as not we’d decide on the spot what to do. We’d explore the park, put survival rings around trees, check the progress of some plants, water if necessary, and just do whatever. We did a LOT of work party planning. That meant sometimes meeting at Carkeek to label and sort the GSP plant delivery. A couple times we had coffee meetings at Tad or Drexie’s house. Whatever we did, it was a bright point in the week for me.

You’d think that after exploring a little nine acre park just about once a week for a couple years, you’d know it pretty well. But there was always some new discovery to be made — whether something as drastic as a tree fall (this happens at the rate of three or four a year), a new plant we hadn’t seen before, or just a change in perspective from different seasons or being on a hillside and looking into the park from a new angle.

I’m feeling especially aware of this because in a couple days I start a temp assignment that will keep me from being in the park on Mondays for the next several weeks. And I hope by the time that’s over I have a full time job to step into.

I was going to sprinkle this with pictures from the various Mondays… but I don’t feel like wading through Flickr in the way it would take. Here, go browse around for yourself.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Saturday, September 27th was a beautiful day for a work party — and a good time was had by all!

Friends of North Beach park welcomed 16 students from Seattle Pacific University as part of their Cityquest program: Incoming freshman students are sent to locations all over Seattle for a little community service.

Two forest stewards had made elaborate plans for the group, and we were able to keep them busy for all four hours of the work party (FoNBP events are usually three hours). We worked on the South Plateau, which is a great place for a larger work party and needs a lot of attention.

Our plan was to remove as much of the nipplewort (Lapsana communis) and herb robert (Geranium robertianum) as possible. It really got out of hand this year, and unfortunately, the nipplewort had already set seed. It’s normally very easy to remove — it’s a shallow-rooted annual, so just grasp at the base, lift, knock off the dirt, and drop it. But the seed set meant we had to remove it. I’m sure a lot of seeds got knocked off in the process, but it was still better than leaving it there. The herb robert is also easy to remove, but it needs constant attention. It can flower any time of the year, greatly outcompetes native groundcover, and even poisons the soil against other plants. It’s other common name is “stinky bob,” and it has a pungent smell when uprooted.

Our plan was to put down lots of burlap and mulch once the herb robert and nipplewort had been removed. To which end, we had a truck full of burlap.
Tools and burlap

And a big pile of burlap and a lotta buckets!
Assemblage

In fact, about lunchtime we went back and got more burlap. And we had a group of students moving mulch from another location, adding it to the pile above pretty much all day (okay, we fell a little short on the wheelbarrows).

Speaking of lunchtime, it gave us all a chance to sit down and for the students to get acquainted with each other a bit.
Lunch

After lunch, it was back to the work: removing nipplewort and herb robert, putting mulch around already-installed plants, and building some ivy platforms.

Here is a group of volunteers in the basin of the South Plateau. When residents of Labateyah began working in the South Plateau in 2012, this was an impenetrable mass of blackberry and ivy that one forest steward thought it would take years to clear.
The South Plateau

By the end of the day, we were definitely dragging. But we had enough energy to smile for a group photograph.
The valiant crew!
Morry (in the back left), Tad (on the right, in a white hat) and Wenny (first row right, in the fuschia hoodie) were from Friends of North Beach Park. Everyone else is form SPU!

Thank you, SPU and Cityquest! We look forward to hosting you again next year.

(As usual, there are some more photos on Flickr.)

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Sometimes, a small work party is just the thing.

Four volunteers from OneBrick Seattle joined three Friends of North Beach Park for a little mid-summer aftercare watering for plants that we’ve planted in the last couple years.

This might seem paradoxical, because aren’t “native” plants adapted to this weather, and able to survive the summer with no problem? That’s true of well-established plants, getting the care one gives a garden. However, giving a plant even a gallon a week of some water can help it survive the worst of the summer drought, and establish better in the following winter. A gallon might not seem like much, but pouring it directly onto the root crown means very little is wasted.

And summer work parties are generally pretty small — who wants to spend a wonderful morning in the city, even in a forested park, when you could get out and about? So that’s a good time to do some watering and after care.

After Care
NB: The person is watering the fern, not the ivy. Just to be clear.

Here is (most of) the crew:
The Crew
That’s Morry in the back, Nan in the front, and then Kegan, Jon, and Mai Lin left to right. Nan, Kegan, Jon, and Mai Lin signed up for the work party via OneBrick Seattle. (Not in the picture is Julie, who had done about as much watering on her own as the rest of the crew put together.)

Friends of North Beach Park will be at Art in the Garden, on Saturday, August 2nd — next week! Stop by and say hello and talk to us about North Beach Park. We’ll have information about North Beach Park, what we’re working on, and our plans for the future. We’ll also have information from some of our supporting organizations.

Stop by to say hello, stick around for the art, the garden, the silent pie auction, and the food trucks! A very pleasant little neighborhood fair.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

I am a forest steward with Green Seattle Partnership since 2011. I am also a regular voter, and have voted for everyone on the City Council.

English ivy is a serious problem in Seattle. It’s taking over our forests, preventing regeneration of seedlings and shortening the lives of our mature trees. It’s epidemic throughout our park system. With no action taken, it will seriously degrade our parks and make them not only unusable for people, but destroy their ability to provide many of the ecological services parks provide.
Unfortunately, the most effective way to remove ivy is by hand. This makes it prohibitively expensive to control – unless you have a large pool of dedicated volunteers, and a large organization that can provide city-wide logistical and material support.

Green Seattle Partnership forest stewards are that pool of volunteers. They provide hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of volunteer labor annually. The Green Seattle Partnership is that organization. It provides tools, training, resources, outreach assistance, and coordination of logistics. It helps avoid duplication of effort, and makes sure we’re all working towards the same goal with the same tools and techniques.

My work is concentrated in North Beach Park, a 9-acre ravine park in Northwest Seattle. Green Seattle Partnership was there from the start. We’re now entering our fourth year of restoration. More than 20% of the park has been cleared of invasive plants, and a couple thousand trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants have been planted. North Beach Park has become an education resource for everyone from elementary students in the school across the street to UW students in the Master of Environmental Horticulture program. It has become a source of community and friendship to the regular volunteers and those who drop in just once or twice. These work parties provide an important contact to local nature, and help to instill and improve our sense of place.

Multiply this across the city, from the largest to the smallest natural area, and you can see the tremendous impact that the Green Seattle Partnership has on Seattle.

As we remove invasive monocultures and restore native diversity, we’re doing more than making the parks prettier for the human users. We’re providing resources for all wild life, from larvae through adult insects and the birds that eat them. We’re improving the ecological services that the urban forest provides: the stormwater retention, the erosion control, and the water purification. We’re bringing back iconic plants, such as the Western Red Cedar, the Douglas-fir (and the more humble but no less iconic low Oregon-grape and Western skunk cabbage) – plants that say “this is the Pacific Northwest.”

To pay for all this work directly would cost many times the request of Green Seattle Partnership in the proposed Parks budget. This is why I say that the Green Seattle Partnership is not a luxury but a necessity, not a liability but a valid and rewarding investment.

Please restore the Green Seattle Partnership funding to the proposed parks budget.

Thank you for your time. I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

March work party crew
The valiant crew: Loren, Drexie, Morrie, Ryan, and Tasha (left to right).

The day was cloudy, but dry; the temperature cool enough to get us moving, but not warm enough to make us uncomfortable. The ground was wet from the March rains and we were all eager to get some work in. All in all, this made for a very productive work party.

TIdying the mulch pile
Loren tidies the mulch pile.

We started by tidying up the mulch pile. We’d ordered it last summer for a big project that cooler heads decided should be done by people experienced with steep slope work but have been nibbling at it ever since. This has allowed us to do some low-priority but still important mulching — such as along the 90th St. edge.

90th St.
Drexie, Ryan, and Tasha spread the mulch.

This doesn’t get much run off, but it’s a visible little slice of the park — not only the people who live up on 25th Ave. drive past it, but the moms’n'dads picking up their children from North Beach Elementary park along the other side of the street.

The mulching didn’t take long at all, which allowed us to go to the newly cleared area at 850 feet. We started working in this area in February, and we’ll work our way upstream until we meet where EarthCorps left off last year. In the fall and winter, we’ll plant it up.

We picked this area because it’s fairly dry and stable, and so overgrown with blackberry it’s a monoculture.

Cleared area
Everything at Loren’s feet is blackberry cane; rising up behind him are the brambles.

One nice side effect of the clearing was that it made more of the park that’s across the stream visible, such as this grove of skunk cabbage.

Skunk cabbage grove

Before we cleared the blackberry, it was completely obscured. The area we’re working in is also a big gap in the canopy, so it will be a good place to prioritize conifer reintroduction.

In April, we’ll continue working here. We have to balance where we work against a couple logistics: Don’t want to work too close to the stream bank until the summer, when it’s dryer; and don’t want to work in areas with a lot of piggyback or Pacific waterleaf until those have bloomed and died back. One lesson (among many) I’ve learned repeatedly is that a gradual approach is best, to take some time and learn the lay of the land and get to know the processes of the forest better.

Our next work party is April 26th, 9 a.m. to noon. As ever, we’ll meet at the main entrance to the park, at 90th St. and 24th Ave. All ages and skill sets are welcome.

If you can’t join us for a work party, you can support our work by making a donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation and earmarking it for North Beach Park. All proceeds donated will go to support the Friends of North Beach Park in our restoration efforts.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Saturday, March 22, 9 a.m.: Spring is busting out all over in North Beach Park. Skunk Cabbage is coming up in the wetlands, Pacific water leaf up in the trailsides, red flowering currant and Indian plum are blooming on the slopes, and everything is leafing and budding and getting ready to pop. Please sign up in advance on Cedar so we can make our plans.

We meet, rain or shine, at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW. Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and sturdy shoes or mud boots. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack as you need them but there are no facilities at the park. All ages and skill levels are welcome, but children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Parking is on 90th St., east of 24th Ave. The #61 bus stops across the street from the park, and the #40 and #48 stop at 85th and 24th; check Metro for details.

After the workparty, starting about 12:30, join us for a Washington Native Plant Society field trip and restoration seminar. Here are the details:

Restoration Seminar of North Beach Natural Area, Saturday, March 22, 12:30 – 2:30
North Beach Park is a 9 acre ravine park in NW Seattle that has been under restoration since 2011. The bottomland is a permanently saturated wetland, yet there are also dry upland slopes, providing a variety of microenvironments in a small area. We’ll talk about some of the issues and opportunities facing restoration in small urban forests. We’ll also talk about the different forest types and what they mean to restoration efforts. We’d like this to be a seminar on restoration, and welcome any and all input.

Trail description: The trail has some moderate elevation changes, and is occasionally narrow and slippery. There are two log stream crossings.

Contact: Luke McGuff, 206-715-9135, lukemcguff@yahoo.com (email preferred).

Save the date for upcoming workparties: April 26th, June 28th, and July 26th. They’re also 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and meet at the main entrance to the park.

Can’t join us for a work party? Donate to the Seattle Parks Foundation to support restoration efforts at North Beach Park. Visit their website and click on the “Donate” button. Your donation is tax-deductible. Money will be used for tools, materials, and supplies. Donating is an important and appreciated expression of community support.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

The day started out cool and foggy, as a couple early arrivals helped us unload some late-season wetland plants.

Unloading the plants.
Drexie, Julie, Damore’ea, and Keishawn finish up unloading.

The Plants
The plants came to us in early December, and had been stored through the cold snap in the Carkeek nursery. Hopefully they’ve survived our benign neglect.

Sometimes we get ESRM 100 students at a work party. This is a class on the environment that everyone at the UW has to take. One of the assignments is to attend a 3 hour restoration work party and write a brief paper. I knew Damore’ea and Keishawn were from the UW from their address on the sign-up form, but I had no idea they were stars of the football team. Tad did, though, and was very impressed.

Football stars
John, Keishawn, Tad, Damore’ea.

Once we got all that sorted out, we set to work. First the ESRM students transported a few cubic yards of mulch into the forest, then Tad worked with them to clear some ivy and plant. As frequently happens, I didn’t get a picture of everyone working.

But here are three volunteers.
Headwaters Bowl
That’s Julie, Wenny, and Drexie (left to right) planting wetland plants into the bottom of the Headwaters Bowl. This is a permanently saturated area and everything we plant does well. So we’ll keep planting away as long as we’re able.

There were also some signs of spring in the park:

Siberian miner’s lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) is starting to sprout.
Sign of Spring
This is a very tasty little plant that goes well in salad mixes.

SIgn of Spring
The Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes) is also starting to come back. This sprouts in the spring (I think this is a little early, because we’ve had such a relatively warm winter), blooms in early summer, and then dies back completely by August. The blooms are nothing to write home about, but the pollinators love them. I remember one summer the Waterleaf patches were humming with bees.

In addition to the planting that other people were doing, a high school student and I did some mulching.

Before
Before the mulching.

After mulching
After mulching — much better. This strip along 90th St. gets some street run off, so the mulch there will help slow it down and infiltrate the soil, rather than just run off onto the slope.

After that, it was mostly wrapping up. The last few plants were planted, Tad took the ESRM 100 students on a tour of the park, and we had time for a last group shot:

"After" group picture
Back row: John (left), Damore’ea (right). Middle, left to right: Morry, Tad, Julie. Front, left to right: Keishawn, Drexie, Wenny.

Our next work party will be February 22nd. All the usual details apply. We hope you can join us, the park should be much greener then!

There are a few more pictures on flickr.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Saturday, January 25, 9 a.m.: Work off some of that holiday “celebration” and meet new friends with the Friends of North Beach Park. Join us to begin a year of after care for all the tremendous plants North Beach Park received in 2013. We also have some wetland plants to install (this work will be muddy). Sign up in advance so we can make our plans.

We meet, rain or shine, at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW. Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and sturdy shoes or mud boots. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack as you need them but there are no facilities at the park. All ages and skill levels are welcome, but children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Parking is on 90th St., east of 24th Ave. The #61 bus stops across the street from the park, and the #40 and #48 stop at 85th and 24th; check Metro for details.

Another event of interest is the Project Heronwatch Open House sponsored by Heron Habitat Helpers. Saturday, January 18th, Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Learn about Heron Habitat Helpers and their proposed live streaming cameras. There will also be representatives of Green Seattle Partnership, Seattle Parks & Recreation, The Burke Museum, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Chris Anderson, biologist with the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, will give a speech at noon. We’ll be sharing a table with Groundswell NW.

Save the date for upcoming workparties: February 22nd, March 22nd, and April 26th. They’re all 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and meet at the main entrance to the park.

Can’t join us for a work party? Donate to the Seattle Parks Foundation to support restoration efforts at North Beach Park. Visit their website and click on the “Donate” button. Your donation is tax-deductible and all of the proceeds will be used to fund the restoration efforts.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

This year, on the spur of the moment, I decided to “borrow” one of the trees to be planted in North Beach Park for a Christmas tree. This is neither strictly forbidden nor an accepted practice. Most people buy cut trees, after all, and the trees for planting are only a foot or so tall. I picked a hemlock and decided I would plant it on January 6th.

Which I then immediately realized would have been my mother’s 100th birthday. So it had to be. Further reinforcing this idea was that the 6th was a Monday, the day three of us usually work in the park.

The Hemlock
Here it is on the kitchen table. We didn’t really decorate it, just a couple strands of LED lights.

Planting
Here is Tad, planting the tree. I’d picked a magnificent cedar stump that is one of a pair I call the Grandfathers because they’re so large. They’re upended in the stream, and must have fallen there after a landslide.

Nurse Log Garden
Fallen trees or stumps become nurse logs for the next generation. They will be nurse logs as long as they were alive, and contain more living matter as a nurse log than they did as a “living” tree.

This picture shows how complex a nurse log garden can be; there is red huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium), salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), sword and wood ferns, and several mosses and lichens. Red huckleberry and hemlocks are known for growing in cedar nurse logs and stumps. Another plant that grows well on cedar and conifer nurse logs is bunchberry (Corylus canadensis), a dwarf shrub in the dogwood family. We’re going to introduce that to the park soon.

A sense of scale
To give you an idea of the size of this stump, this picture was taken at my eye height, about five and a half feet. It reaches well over my head.

Hemlock I
Here it is, all mulched in place and with its happy flagging tape. This lets us know it was planted in the 2013-14 planting season.

As we walked away, I thought a little bit about calling the stumps the Grandfathers. Both my grandfathers were dead before I was born, and one grandmother died within a few months of my birth. The remaining grandmother was stern and not very warm. She lived down the street from us in a small apartment, then with an uncle, then with an aunt on the other side of the country. So I never really had the experience of grandparents.

My nieces and nephews, however, had a great experience of grandma in my mother. She had 30 years as a grandmother, and loved every minute of it. Everyone called her Honey, all her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and so on.

My father, on the other hand, had very little experience as a grandfather, dying about two years after my first nephew was born. I felt that my parents were reunited now, and Honey could tell Daddy all her stories of being a grandmother.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Two of the other forest stewards and I were planning 2014 (the planning was fun and we’re looking forward to the activities), and the question of plant diversity came up. How much had we increased native plant diversity in North Beach Park? We had a couple plant lists handy, and were quickly able to come up with a pretty good idea. Other than the first order (made in 2011, before I barely knew anything), we’ve concentrated on ordering plants we knew to be under- or unrepresented in the park. Once I got home, I looked through previous lists and came up with a pretty definite figure.

But first, why does increased native plant diversity matter? It’s such a mantra for forest stewards the question deserves to be asked.

  • It provides more food sources for the creatures that eat plants. That’s, basically, everything else. If a creature doesn’t eat plants directly, it eats things that eat plants. More insects eating plants means (we hope) more birds eating insects. Invasive plants don’t provide food for insects that eat plants, which is why native diversity is important.
  • It also increases the length of the bloom season. Particularly helpful are plants that bloom early in spring or late in summer.
  • The greater variety of food sources and extended bloom time are examples of functional redundancy. There isn’t just one plant blooming, but several, which serve different pollinators. And there isn’t just one genus of wetland plant filtering the water, but three or four.
  • It improves the soil structure with a diversity of roots. Plants taking water from the soil and releasing it through their leaves (evapotranspiration) is important to soil stabilization. And a variety of root structures will make the soil more lively, which will feedback and make the soil better for the root structures.
  • The Pacific Northwest forests need plants at every canopy level — from ground covering forbs and ferns up to the tallest Douglas fir trees. Because (see first item) there are things that eat plants at every level.
  • Many of the forest types we target in our restoration have similar plant communities and associations, with the main difference being proportions between the plants. Planting with as wide a palette as possible provides the opportunity for the plants to sort themselves out a bit.
  • Plant diversity also builds in resilience to disturbances, whether fire, flood, famine, or climate change. And given that we work in a ravine, we could well be creating a refuge for many plants to escape the worst effects of climate change.

I’m sure there are more reasons, but this is what I can think of off the top of my head.

Oh, the statistics. We — the people engaged in restoration in North Beach Park, whether EarthCorps, a crew contracted by the Parks Department, or people working with Friends of North Beach Park — have planted 63 different species of plant in the park. Of these, 39, or 62%, were unrepresented in the park. Note that these aren’t necessarily rare plants, they’re just unrepresented in North Beach Park. And I’m not saying we’ve increased the diversity by that much. That would need a complete survey of all the plants in the park, native and invasive. But it’s still a fairly good number.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

2013 was a really great year for North Beach Park. The previous two years of restoration were starting to have visible effect, and the work of EarthCorps and the contract crew really made a great deal of progress.

In all, we had 17 work parties this year. Six were run by EarthCorps and 11 by the Friends of North Beach Park. In all there were 160 adult and 16 youth volunteers for a total of just over 530 hours. Three volunteers had more than 20 hours, five volunteers had between 10 and 20, and five volunteers had between 5 and 10 hours. Thank you all!

We estimate that 1751 plants were installed in the park. This includes plants from the Seattle Parks Department, EarthCorps, Carbon Capturing Companies, and Green Seattle Partnership. These plants were installed all over the park, from the highest slopes to the bottoms of the wetlands.

The EarthCorps volunteers and crews cleared about 10,000 square feet of the park, between the trail and the stream. They also engaged in a big bucket brigade for some mulching needed deep in the park. They replanted both sides of the trail. Masha (from Russia) was the EarthCorps lead for all the work.

The Seattle Parks Department brought in a contract crew to work in areas where volunteers can’t, specifically the slopes of the Headwaters Bowl and just below 90th St. and 25th Ave. They cleared invasive plants, put down erosion controls, and installed plants. They worked at the South Plateau as well (entrance at 88th St. and 27th Ave.), installing a great number of plants and doing some much-needed erosion control work.

The outreach highlights included tabling at Art in the Garden in August (always a treat) and participating in our first “Give Big” in May. This raised more than $1,000 for North Beach Park, and we’d like to give a special shout out to Doris Katagiri and Julie Fretzin for their very generosity.

For 2014, we’re going to make sure the plants installed this year get some good aftercare. This won’t be “taking it easy,” but will make sure that more of them get established well and be able to live on their own. Our first work party of the year will be January 25, at 9 a.m. Hope to see you there!

If you can’t make it to a work party, a big way to help North Beach Park is by making a donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation. Even a small donation will make a big difference. We use this money for materials and tools, outreach assistance, and coffee’n’pastries for volunteers.

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holyoutlaw: (me meh)

The November work party was a fine end to a great year for North Beach Park. We had 12 volunteers who got more than 150 plants into various places through out the park, including some wetlands. It was great to emerge from the cool park into an atypically warm, dry, sunny November day.

2013 Plant Order
Here’s what we had to work with — 200 trees, shrubs, and ground cover. The order was placed in June and delivered in late October. By fortunate coincidence, it did not duplicate too much the plants installed by EarthCorps and the contract crew.

Signing in
These guys signed up in advance and when asked what brought them to North Beach Park, just said it was “their philanthropy.” Everyone who worked with them enjoyed the experience.

Spot the volunteers!
Later that same day: The volunteers shown signing in above are now hard at work.

Slough Sedge (Carex obnupta)
More slough sedge
There’s a naturally-occurring stand of slough sedge in another part of the park that works with salmonberry to hold a good toe of a slope against erosion. This is planted in a bottom area that is very wet. If it establishes, it will help hold the slope and even push back the ivy.

Julie, Wenny, and Drexie did a lot of planting in the Headwaters Bowl.
Headwaters bowl
Julie shows their handiwork: more slough sedge, Dewey’s sedge, and some rushes.

As usual, there are more pictures on flickr.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

Saturday, November 23, 9 a.m. to Noon: Join us for the last work party of 2013 and a planting celebration. We have 200 trees, shrubs, ferns, and ground cover, including many plants being reintroduced to the park. These plants will provide food for insects and birds, and the different bloom times give the park a long-lasting visual texture. So come on down to build up your appetite for Thanksgiving with some green calories!

Register for this work party at the Green Seattle Partnership Cedar website. Please register in advance so we know how many shovels and buckets to provide.

We’ll meet at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW. Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and sturdy shoes or mud boots. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack as you need them but there are no facilities at the park. All ages and skill levels are welcome, but children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Events happen rain or shine, but if it’s VERY windy, we might cancel at the last minute.

There is parking on 90th St., east of 24th Ave. The #61 bus stops across the street from the park, and the 40 and 48 stop at 85th and 24th; check Metro for details.

Can’t join us for a work party? Make a year-end donation to Seattle Parks Foundation to support restoration efforts at North Beach Park. Visit their website and click on the “Donate” button. Your tax-deductible donation will be used for tools, materials, and outreach.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

As I study North Beach Park, I learn more and more how dynamic it is, and how much of an effect water flow has on it.

We’ve noticed a rill forming on a steep hillside. I think it might have started when some mountain beaver tunnels collapsed, but my theories usually only have a passing relationship to reality.

Here is a picture of the rill. The area of concern starts in the center of the picture and slants down to the left.
The rill
This was taken Saturday (9th), after Drexie and I had installed a few nootka rose live stakes. Nootka rose is supposed to live stake pretty well, and this area is too dry overall for salmonberry.

This is Drexie, in the process of putting the nootka rose into the ground.
Live staking Nootka Rose
The area we were working in was very steep and soft, in that the ground moved under our feet.

On Monday (11th) Tad and I went back to the rill and did some more work. We added a fence or dike made of branches from a fallen alder (there are enough of those around).
Erosion Control Structure

We staked the dike on both sides, then wedged some rolled-up burlap sacks at the base.
Burlap wattles
The burlap provides a finer barricade to the dirt than just the stakes and branches would, yet will still allow water to flow through if necessary. The branches were pushed back over the burlap. Just for belts and braces’ sake, we added some regular stakes on the uphill side of the entire structure.

Last but not least, we added some wood chips to the whole thing.
Mulch
We could have added another couple buckets of wood chips, but it was time to go.

Still to come: More wood chips and a tree below the structure to buttress the whole thing.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

EarthCorps coordinated five work parties in North Beach Park, starting in April and ending last Saturday, November 9th. They accomplished a tremendous amount of work, clearing more than 10,000 square feet of space and more than 240 plants, ranging from ground cover up to conifer and deciduous trees.

The day started earlier than usual, with some volunteers arriving a little before 9 a.m. to stage and place plants.
Early Morning Workers
Yep, the weather was gorgeous and stayed that way throughout the work party.

Here are two of the 24 or so volunteers that were there.
Volunteers
I think they were UW students, but I’m not sure.

Here is a family group (well, the kids are from different families) from Meridian School.
Family group
I really like family groups at work parties. I think (hope) it gives the kids the idea that nature is not something that we just visit, but that we have to take care of as well. And the work is fun and invigorating. Well, that’s a lot to ask, so if the kids just have fun playing in the woods, that’s great.

Some empty buckets:
That's a lotta plants!
This was taken just before the lunch break, which means there were plenty more buckets added to the stack by the end of the work party. (Also, just noticed I forgot to “fall back” on the camera timestamp.)

It was a great experience having EarthCorps at North Beach Park. We’d love to have them back another time.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

The other day, Tad, Drexie, and I built what I hope will be an erosion control structure.

There’s been a seep eroding a section of one of the social trails for a couple years now. It’s been getting wider and taking a greater divot out of the trail.

Notch in trail
This photo is from September, 2011, almost exactly two years ago. The notch is wider now, but as usual I forgot to take a picture before we started working.

The structure we built is a cross between a live crib wall and a soft gabion, although nowhere near the scale of either of those links. We had a small failure, less than five feet wide at the base, and eight feet at its widest.

First, Tad cut points into the 2x4s that would become the uprights. We had eight 2x4s, four for uprights and four for braces.
Seep Structure
(Quite the sawhorse there, eh?)

On site, we cleared the seep and slope wall of ivy.
The work area

The soil in North Beach Park is very sandy. It’s slippery when wet and very friable when dry. It sits on glayed soil, which is compacted anaerobic sand. Water seeps through the sandy soil and then travels horizontally when it reaches the glayed soil. The water then acts as a lubricant between the two surfaces, gradually carrying away the soil above. The more I learn about the hydrology of North Beach Park, the more I realize that working with the hydrology will be an important part of the restoration. But I’m glad it’s been a gradual process; I still feel like I could be rushing in too fast.

We drove in the four stakes to be uprights. Then, in the tradition of all DIY projects everywhere, we immediately saw how we should have done it differently. For the braces, we measured the available space, then Tad (most often) cut a piece to length.

Starting the nails
Tad and Drexie would start the nails, then hand down the brace to me. Sometimes I drove the nails, sometimes Drexie.

Once we had the cross braces nailed in, we began to fill the gap between the structure and seep with brush, using mostly downed branches broken or cut to fit. Finally, we cut salmonberry branches from elsewhere in the park and live staked them into the soil around the structure.

Here is a top view.
Looking down
You can see both the brush used to fill and the live stakes.

We hope that the organic material and soil will be trapped by the brush, but the water will still be able to move through. The structure will stabilize the soil around it well enough for the live stakes to establish. Since live stakes, even with salmonberry, have a low establishment rate, we used a LOT (and could probably have used more). In November, we’ll install native wetland plants and shrubs around the seep and the wall.

Here is a front view, from down in the seep.
The structure

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

October and November are going to be busy months in North Beach Park, as we finish up clearing invasives and head into planting season.

October 12th (Saturday) and 23rd (Wednesday): EarthCorps will remove invasive plants in preparation for November planting. EarthCorps work parties are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the EarthCorps website to sign up.

October 26th (Saturday): The Friends of North Beach Park welcome Nordstrom employees for a day of planting Douglas Fir and Hemlock trees to start the planting season. The Nordstrom employees should fill out our roster. We look forward to seeing you in November.

November’s events feature planting, the reward for the invasive removal we’ve done the rest of the year.

November kicks off with GREEN SEATTLE DAY, November 2nd, a city-wide celebration at 17 parks, including Carkeek and Golden Gardens. To find out more and to sign up, visit the Green Seattle Day website.

On November 9th, EarthCorps returns to North Beach Park for their planting party. They’ve cleared quite a bit of area, help them meet their fall planting challenge and bring native plants back to North Beach Park. Again, EarthCorps events are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

November 23rd will be the big Friends of North Beach Park planting party. We have plants to go into different environments all over the park. This will be the time to join us if you haven’t for a while. Build up that appetite for Thanksgiving! We’ll go from 9 a.m. to Noon. To sign up, visit the Green Seattle Partnership website.

All North Beach Park work parties meet at the main entrance to the park at 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW in Ballard. They also happen rain or shine, so wear weather appropriate layers that can get dirty. And wear mud boots as the park is very muddy during the fall and winter. Bring snacks and water as appropriate, but there are no facilities at the park. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Parking is available on 90th St., east of 24th. The #61 bus stops across the street from the park, and the 40 and 48 stop at 85th and 24th; check Metro for details.

Can’t join us for a work party? Make a year-end donation to Seattle Parks Foundation to support restoration efforts at North Beach Park and click on the “Donate” button. We use these proceeds for tools, materials, and outreach.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

holyoutlaw: (me meh)

It was pretty darn wet this morning, but at least it wasn’t cold. Five of us set out to do some survival rings on trees that desperately needed some help. As we walked down the trail, I tried what I remembered of the St. Crispin’s Day Speech. The bit about “those who lay warm in their beds” sounded entirely too tempting, so I stopped quickly.

Our goal was simple: put survival rings on some trail side trees on the south slope. The trees here desperately need it. There were four trees easily accessible, and we got them cleaned up in almost record time. Many of the trees that need work are in places inaccessible to volunteers — in some cases, just plain inaccessible. But these trees were very handy, with only a little brushing needed to get to work.

Here’s new volunteer Steve, posing beside a tree he cleared in record time.
Steve

Some of the ivy had been on the trees so long the roots had formed mats that came away in big sheets. Other roots had made furrows in the tree as they inhibited its growth.

Here’s Tad at the tree he cleared.
Tad

The stuff hanging down behind him is ivy that had reached the ground and rerooted. It would have broken off the branch it was dangling from in short order.

One of the last (“but not least”) things we did was get a tire in which a laurel tree had grown.
Laurel tree surrounding a tire

I’ve found this amusing since my early days exploring North Beach Park in 2008-9. I didn’t mourn its passing, though.

Usually work parties run for three hours, but since it was raining heavier by the minute, we were all bespattered, and had done the work we’d set out to do, we called it a day and headed out of the park. On our way out we found some more bottles’n'cans and took the opportunity to remove another tire.

All in all, a good, solid little work party.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.

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