While the Spokane Parks Department mulls over how and when to develop an 8 river mile nature trail while restoring the ecology of the Hangman Creek corridor, one private property owner is moving ahead on 360 lineal feet of creek edge within the historic Vinegar Flats neighborhood. Nicoterra Trails has been hired for Design-Build to restore this edge of creek berm by softening the hard edges, applying topsoil to depleted sand gravel back berm, and removal of invasive plants.
Design work included several cross section and plan views keeping clear distinctions of riparian and upland ecology as well as Shorelines management map coding. Planning work has involved premit review, discussions about ultimate goals and what is best for this landscape given ecological considerations but also the intended commercial use of the land, and finally logistics. But nothing takes the place of sitework for visualizing what can occur here.
We have left the herbicides behind and mechanically removed invasive plants: poison hemlock, spotted knapweed, russian skeleton weed, Dalmatian toadflax, virginia creeper, and others; this was followed by 15% vinegar to leaf applications during high UV days, followed by solarizing with clear plastic for 12 weeks. The process of our weed killing is very much like how climate change caused by CO2 and acidic air pollution are effective killers working together; and yet, it has been found that beneficial fungi in the soil is not likely to suffer. Our next step will be to remove plastic and lightly scarify soils while blending in rich topsoils. This will be followed with a Drysite native grass mix, a deer habitat seed mix, and a native wildflower mix. A bed of arbor chips will be applied to the finished work. In certain places we will plant potted shrubs and trees. On the creekside bank we also will extend the remnant willow community with live willow stakes.
We have alot to accomplish this fall, but delay is not part of our plan.