Restoring our urban forests, one at a time

The City of Lacey works toward improving the health and functionality of their trees in urban settings. Photo: City of Lacey
The City of Lacey works toward improving the health and functionality of their trees in urban settings. Photo: City of Lacey

It starts in Lacey, Washington. This city is enhancing their urban forests by managing stormwater and improving air and water quality. They are doing this by improving the health and functionality of their trees and forested sites in urban settings.

Recently, the Lake Lois Habitat Reserve received a facelift. With the help of a Puget SoundCorps team and other volunteers, English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, spurge laurel, Scotch broom and Robert’s geranium were removed. These invasive non-native plants prevent forested areas from providing our community the full benefits and services of healthy forests by competing for water and nutrients, and in some cases even killing trees. Many undesirable plants that grow in dense thickets also harbor rats and other vermin, creating a public safety hazard as well. Now that the unwelcomed plants are gone, native vegetation will be planted in its place.

The Lacey Board of Park Commissioners approved the Forest Management Plan for Lake Lois Park and Lake Lois Habitat Reserve in September of 2012. Volunteers have been removing invasive plants and replanting those areas with native trees to implement the recommendations in the plan. Paul Royer, Chair of the Park Board states, “Many people are not aware of Lake Lois Habitat Reserve, but once they have been out to volunteer, they realize the importance of what they are doing and the difference it makes in the health of the forest.”

This project is an Urban Forestry Restoration Project, administered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Urban and Community Forestry Program. For more information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, visit the project online or contact Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps program, administered by Washington Dept. of Ecology. Puget SoundCorps crews work on projects that help restore and protect water quality in Puget Sound. The Washington Conservation Corps is supported through grant funding and education awards provided by AmeriCorps.

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