Tough crews work hard to restore water quality, one project at a time

 

Washington Conservation Corps creates an outdoor classroom at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver
Washington Conservation Corps creates an outdoor classroom at the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver. Photo by Janet Pearce

Washington Conservation Corps and Puget SoundCorps crews are making great strides in restoring urban forests to improve water quality in the Lower Columbia River and the Puget Sound.

First, the Washington Conservation Corps is working with the Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver to create an outdoor learning classroom. The crew is creating the classroom in an area that was once made up of dirt, sand, and grass. They are enhancing the area with trees and vegetation that will include stations for kids to learn about their natural environment. They also will learn about the important benefits that trees and plants offer to our communities. See how the crew worked with volunteers on Martin Luther King Day to clean up Columbia River beaches and improve native forests through planting.

In Pierce County, the Puget SoundCorps is working along the Duwamish River and the Green River Trail in the City of Tukwila. The crew installed 8000 feet of erosion and sediment control in preparation for restoration activities in the riparian zone. They then cleared 32,000 square feet of Himalayan blackberry infestation and planted live stakes in the cleared space. In total, 650 whips of two willow species and 250 red osier dogwood were planted over an 8000 square foot area. 

WCC crew is creating an outdoor classroom for kids to learn about the natural world around them
WCC crew is creating an outdoor classroom for kids to learn about the natural world around them. Photo by Janet Pearce

The SoundCorps also is working in King County to rejuvenate rain gardens in the Bridle Trails neighborhood in the City of Kirkland. After clearing 4000 square feet of invasive, non-native plants, debris, and sediment from the existing rain gardens, they installed a wide variety of native plants, approximately 650 in all. Thirty-five cubic yards of mulch were spread and the swales of the rain gardens were reinforced with 12 tons of river rock, all laid by hand.

Both crews are working through the Urban Forestry Restoration Project that helps local governments improve the health and stormwater management capacity of their urban forests (parks, rights-of-way, open space, watersheds, etc.).

The project is funded through the 2012 Jobs Now Bill (Engrossed Senate Bill 5127) and is administered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ Urban and Community Forestry Program.

For more information, visit the Urban Forestry Restoration Project online, or send an email to Micki McNaughton or call her at (360) 902-1637.

 

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