Nicoterra Trails teamed up with the Middle Green River Coalition this summer and autumn to suppress invasive plants and plant trees along the eastern slopes of Beaver Lake which is part and parcel to the Bass-Beaver Lake Conservation Futures lands under King Conservation District. Basically, the way it works, individual parcels in target watersheds are acquired by King County. Stewards through King Conservation District are then sought to restore and enhance these “ecologically sensitive” lands. Middle Green River Coalition (MGRC) are experts in this and in community building; music and art play a role here.
This particular site was graded 5 plus years ago and plantings occured shortly thereafter. Some spots were tarped for later plantings. The tarped lands were the target for 2014. These site held undesireable plants back…to a degree and gave us a chance to learn from earlier work. Several work parties were staged to plant this second crop of conifers and in addition to community members we had a strong showing of students from Green River Community College – Bravo!
What is unique about the MGRC approach to restoration is – No use of herbicides – instead we cut and remove invasives and plant densely a grass and forbs seed mix “Feathered Friends” Rainier Seeds of Davenport, Washington to outcompete the trouble-makers. We mulch in the new evergreens and enjoy returning to see their growth successes. While not 100%, this slower phased approach will see recurring Himalyan Blackberry but it’s vitality becomes reduced and conifers will slowly shade the new sprouts till they become insignificant. This is akin to organic farming in that more labor is required but…if restoration is carefully planned and performed, this system is effective; and one could argue the plants within are in better health than on a site sprayed with herbicides.
The timing of plantings is essential with 1 year saplings. They go through a stress as transplants – this we know. If planted in late spring they are likely to experience added stress of an oncoming 3 month drought; so it’s best to plant in fall during the rains. Since Evergreen conifers do not go into dormancy in winter here, planting in autumn affords them a stockpile of resources before the hot dry days of spring summer.
This 5 acre parcel is advancing toward maturity as forest: some of the trees from the first cycle of planting have reached sexual maturity; Western Red Cedar displays this clearly.