More work to protect West Seattle forest land: Seattle Parks plant ecologist Michael Yadrick sent word of a new round of greenbelt restoration happening now – nine acres in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, the city’s largest contiguous forest, some of which is shown in our photo above, looking at the greenbelt behind the Parks facility on West Marginal Way SW.
These are what we call “new acres,” an area that hasn’t been touched for restoration before. This zone is very visible from the West Seattle Bridge. If you ever cruise westbound and look south at the hillside above the river, we are getting into the steep slopes above W Marginal Way. This Andover tract has some of the forests most heavily impacted by invasion of non-native plants, over 80% cover of ivy on the ground (and it was thigh-high when we first went in to survey for the work) and every single tree had ivy climbing up the trunk. The crew removed ivy from over 800 trees! A month or so after the crew completed the “survival rings,” I could actually see the texture of the forest canopy change. Much of that green, pillowy look that you see from the bridge is from ivy foliage that was hanging in the trees, which ultimately contributes to their decline over time. By removing it, we allow more light on the forest floor, which creates conditions more amenable to a healthy, mixed conifer forest.
(As far as we could tell from below, the brown areas in our photo are dead invasives. Yadrick’s explanation continues after the jump, if you’re reading this from the home page:)
This is work that is completed by contractors and Parks staff due to the safety of working in steep areas as well as the level of work needed to remove the invasive weeds and replant heavily. Nine acres is a good amount to cover in one season. This work on steep slopes and wetlands is what I consider the “dirty work” that many people won’t see at other GSP volunteer events. We want to let the public know about it.
Green Seattle Partnership’s goal is to restore 2500 acres of forested parkland by 2025, and we are halfway to that goal. For the next 10 years of the program, by our calculations, we have 500+ acres of steep slope work left to do in the city, and over 200 acres of that is in West Seattle (primarily in the W Duwamish and Duwamish Head). With restoration, comes the benefits of slope stability, habitat enhancement, and more pleasant recreational opportunities.
We have a new map where you can view the areas in restoration and places we have yet to work.
Read more about the Green Seattle Partnership here.