By Natasha Kacoroski
First, a correction to the March article “Growing Green – Habitat Restoration at Marymoor Park”. It stated that we had a total of 470 volunteer hours for 2018. We actually had a total of 234 volunteers for a total of 691 hours. That’s a ton of people!
For both February and March, we were hard at work in the meadow, since we need to be finished there before the nesting birds arrive. In February, we had 15 volunteers for a total of 47.5 volunteer hours. In March, we had 29 volunteers for a total of 89.5 volunteer hours. Teams split up to pull scotch broom, transplant shrubs, mulch trees, and trim blackberries. Over the course of both events, we moved 6 cubic yards of mulch, mulched 125 plants, transplanted 20 plants, and removed 8 cubic yards of invasive species.
The hard work of volunteers for the last 13 years has paid off. The scotch broom in the meadow is now so small that it can be pulled out with a small weed wrench. We have eliminated all the older, large plants and are now pulling out the new shoots that sprout each year. Unfortunately, scotch broom has a big seed bank that stays viable for a long time; each plant can produce over 10,000 seeds which may remain in the soil for 60 years before sprouting (see citation below).
We also transplanted some shrubs out of the meadow and away from the dog park gate. The meadow shrubs were moved to keep it a grassland environment. The shrubs near the dog park gate were moved because, given time to grow, we might not be able to get through the gate! In our enthusiasm of planting last winter, some of them ended up too close. Not everything goes according to plan, but it’s important to be transparent about these “learning opportunities” so we can do better next time.
Next, we mulched all the transplanted shrubs and some trees in the meadow and alder grove. Since work in the alder grove is not time sensitive like the meadow, we prioritized trimming meadow blackberries over mulching alders. Why only trim? Anecdotal evidence from past restoration efforts showed that pulling blackberries causes so much soil disturbance that just as many new invasive plants sprout as were pulled. We are looking into better removal methods, but in the meantime, trimming the blackberries prevents them from taking over the meadow.
Lastly, there is some exciting news! I’m thrilled to announce that Eastside Audubon has won the King County Green Globe Award for Environmental Stewardship for our work at Marymoor Park! The Green Globe awards are the County’s highest honor to recognize local environmental efforts. Thank you to Lina Rose, King County Parks Volunteer Manager, and Norah Robinson, the Marymoor Park Customer Service Administrator, for nominating us. And thank you to all the volunteers who have joined us at habitat restoration events – it’s your hard work and dedication that makes all this possible.
Citation: Green City Partnerships. (n.d.) Steward Plant Guide [PDF file]. Retrieved March 10, 2019, from https://forterra.org/subpage/green-cities-toolbox-invasive-species