Wetlands: Introduction and Headwaters Bowl

This post gives an overview of the wetlands in North Beach Park and looks specifically at the Headwaters Bowl. The next post looks at the Central Valley. The third post in this series will discuss the stewardship grant from the Washington Native Plant Society to the Friends of North Beach Park. The 92nd St. Wetlands will be discussed later, with Fletcher’s Slope.

Approximately 4.5 acres of North Beach Park are designated as wetlands. These wetlands are formed by broad, horizontal, groundwater seeps emerging from the sides of the ravine. These join to form the stream that leaves the park. The seeps are perennial, and have lasted through record droughts.

The wetlands have many areas that are permanently saturated, and walking in them quickly disrupts whatever soil structure there is. Other places are more stable.

Figure 1: Wetlands in North Beach Park. Thick green lines indicate park boundaries. Light grey lines indicate HMU boundaries. The filled blue area are the wetlands. Wetland delineation by Doug Gresham of Gresham Environmental (2012). (Map by the author.)

Figure 1: Wetlands in North Beach Park. Thick green lines indicate park boundaries. Light grey lines indicate HMU boundaries. The filled blue area is the wetlands. Wetland delineation by Doug Gresham of Gresham Environmental (2012). (Map by the author.)

Doug Gresham, of Gresham Environmental, delineated and typed the wetlands in 2012:

North Beach has both Palustrine (freshwater) and Riverine (riparian) wetlands. The plant community is scrub/shrub and the water regime ranges from saturated soil to permanently flowing streams. The groundwater seep wetlands would be called palustrine, scrub/shrub, saturated (PSSc). The stream would be called riverine, upper perennial, unconsolidated shore, permanently flooded (R3USh).

The hydrogeomorphic classification system groups wetlands based on functions and values. … The groundwater seep wetlands would be called slope wetlands and the stream is a riverine wetland.

The Washington Department of Ecology classifies wetlands into four categories based on their hydrogeomorphic class and score from a rating form. King County and City of Seattle governments rely on this classification system to create their critical area ordinances. The highest quality wetlands (Category I) are rare, while low quality wetlands (Category IV) are somewhat rare also. Most wetlands fall into the Category II and III level depending on how well they function. North Beach would probably be Category III because it is degraded. (Gresham, 2014)

In October 2005, the US Fish and Wildlife Service did a fish habitat survey of streams in the Seattle area. “Unnamed PS08 West Fork” is the stream that flows through North Beach Park (see figure 2, below). At their sample site (which would now be in the Headwaters Bowl HMU), they found the stream to have a mean wetted width of 1 meter (m); a mean depth of 0.03m with a max depth of 0.1m; and to consist of 100% riffles with no pools or glides. The substrate was 100% silt/sand. They did not catch any fish in the sample site. (Tabor 2010)

Figure 2: Location of US Fish and Wildlife 2005 survey sample in North Beach Park.

Figure 2: Location of US Fish and Wildlife 2005 survey sample in North Beach Park.

The Central Valley, at 1.97 acres, and the Headwaters Bowl, at 1.39 acres, are the two largest HMUs in North Beach Park. For restoration purposes, we have split them into four subareas each. The subdivision is based on who can do the work: all volunteers, experienced forest stewards, Parks Department Natural Area Crew, or privately-contracted restoration crew.

Headwaters’ Bowl


Figure 3: Headwaters Bowl. The Headwaters Bowl is the area in light green (planting) and blue (establishment). The blue line is the stream. North is to the top.

Figure 3: Headwaters Bowl. The Headwaters Bowl is the area in light green (planting) and blue (establishment). The blue line is the stream. North is to the top. (Source: GSP Reference Map on ArcGIS.com.)

The Headwaters Bowl (“HWB”) is the easternmost HMU of North Beach Park.

The northern boundary is the main trail of the park, the eastern boundary is 24th Ave. NW, the southern boundary is property lines and the South Slope, and the western boundary is the stream crossing and the social trail between the Headwaters Bowl and the Central Valley.

The property lines cut the bottom of the bowl and the 24th Ave. slope in half, and remove the southern slope entirely. Parks Department volunteers and Natural Area Crew are not allowed to work on private property. This complicates restoration of the HWB as discussed below in “Invasive Removal and Restoration Plan.”

At the start of restoration, nearly half the trees in the HWB had severe Hedera helix (ivy) infestations which frequently reached into the canopy. There were large pockets of ivy monoculture on the ground.

The percent cover for trees was approximately 70% deciduous, with Alnus rubra in the wetlands and Acer macrophyllum on the dryer slopes and uplands. There was 5-10% conifer cover, exclusively Thuja plicata (Western red-cedar). The remaining 15-20% cover was open gaps, either over areas too wet to sustain trees or where A. rubra had fallen. The percent cover of the regenerative trees (tall enough to be above the shrub layer) was less than 5% for deciduous and less than 1% for coniferous trees.

Ilex aquifolium (English holly) and Prunus laurocerasus (English laurel) formed occasional dense thickets. Most of these have been removed, either by uprooting or cutting and painting with herbicide.

The HWB native plant communities at the start of restoration were very similar to the Alnus rubra/Rubus spectabilis (Red alder/Salmonberry; ALRU/RUSP) and Alnus rubra/Lysichitum americanum (Red alder/skunk cabbage; ALRU/LYAM) communities described by Kunze (1994). The differences were largely that the communities in the park lacked herbaceous diversity compared to the reference communities.

These communities are dominated by an Alnus rubra (red alder) canopy, with either Rubus spectabilis (salmonberry) or Lysichitum americanum (skunk cabbage) as the undercanopy. Kunze describes the ALRU/LYAM community as being wetter than ALRU/RUSP, and that is the case in NBP. (Plant communities are discussed in more detail in “Target Forest Types”).

There is a canopy gap over the most saturated, eastern part of the HWB. This area is dominated by skunk cabbage and horsetail, with some Salix sitchensis (Sitka willow) shrub. The invasive plants here include Rubus armeniacus (blackberry) and Calystegia sepium (bindweed). Numerous A. rubra lean over this part of the HWB from the slopes. As they die and fall, the gap will enlarge. This will also increase the amount of coarse woody debris in the wetland and the number of rootballs on the slope walls.

Progressing to the west, the topography and soils become more complicated. Some areas are more stable, and some are seeps that have reached down to the gleyed soils. As the ravine narrows, Acer macrophyllum (Big leaf maple) on the south slope add their shade.

The majority of the HWB is in phase two, “planting,” of restoration. A section of Subarea C is considered to be in “establishment,” phase 3. For a discussion of the phases, please see “Monitoring Protocols and Success Metrics.”

Water Flow

Groundwater emerges from several places at the base of the 24th Ave. slope. One of these areas has a number of displaced conduits. During heavy rainfall, water emerges from a conduit in the southeastern corner of the hillside.

Through the rest of the Headwaters Bowl, the water emerges as seeps or occasionally channels from the south slope of the ravine. In many places the seeps have carried away most of the soils.

These seeps join the stream, which runs along the northern edge of the headwaters bowl. Water flow in North Beach Park, in general, needs a lot more research and observation.


As discussed above, the plant communities in the HWB are currently a mixture of ALRU/LYAM (to the east) and ALRU/RUSP (to the west).

The reference ecosystem for the Headwaters Bowl is “riparian forest and shrubland.” The target forest type is ALRU/RUSP/CAOB-LYAM (Red alder/salmonberry/slough sedge – skunk cabbage) as described by Chappell (2006).

There has been one circular, 1/10th-acre, monitoring plot established in the Headwaters Bowl. Baseline monitoring was taken in August 2012, with a follow-up in August 2013. See “Green City Monitoring Protocol” in “Monitoring” for a discussion of this protocol. This monitoring plot was established in the middle of the most saturated section of the Headwaters Bowl.
The following table presents the vegetation findings from the 2012 and the 2013 monitoring and the change. Native plants listed as 0 in the “2012 % Cover” column were planted in autumn 2012. Percent cover was determined by consensus of the people doing the monitoring plot, and is reported in broad categories to enable the data to be consistent across the city.

Table 1: Forest Monitoring Plot report, Headwaters Bowl.

Scientific Name Common Name 2012 % Cover 2013 % Cover Change
Athyrium filix-femina Lady fern 1-5% 1-5% None
Cardamine hirsuta Shotweed 0 <1% Increase
Carex obnupta Slough sedge 0 <1% Increase
Convulvus arvensis Field bindweed <1% 6-15% Increase
Crataegus douglasii Black hawthorne 0 <1% Increase
Epilobium ciliatum Willowherb <1% <1% None
Equisetum arvense Horsetail 26-50% 26-50% None
Fraxinus latifolia Oregon ash 0 <1% Increase
Glyceria elata Tall mannagrass <1% <1% None
Hedera helix English Ivy 26-50% 26-50% None
Lonicera ciliosa Orange honeysuckle 1-5% 1-5% None
Lysichiton americanum Skunk cabbage 1-5% 6-15% Increase
Malus fusca Pacific crab apple 0 <1% Increase
Oenanthe sarmentosa Water parsley <1% <1% None
Polystichum munitum Sword fern <1% <1% None
Ranunculus repens Creeping buttercup 6-15% 6-15% None
Rubus armeniacus Himalayan blackberry 26-50% 16-25% Decrease
Rubus spectabilis Salmonberry 26-50% 26-50% None
Rumex crispis Curly dock <1% <1% None
Salix sitchensis Sitka willow 1-5% 1-5% None
Scirpus microcarpus Small-fruited bulrush 0 <1% Increase
Solanum dulcamara Bittersweet nightshade <1% <1% None
Spiraea douglasii Hard hack 0 <1% Increase

Only one invasive plant decreased in cover, Rubus armeniacus (blackberry). This was the plant we most vigorously removed. The native plants that went from 0 to <1% cover had been planted in the fall of 2012. Lysichiton americanum (Skunk cabbage) increased from the seed bank. Calystegia sepium increased noticeably all over the park in 2013.

Although this gives a good representation of the most-saturated areas of the HWB, it does not give a good representation of the HWB as a whole. A couple dozen feet to the west of this monitoring plot, there is a stand of A. rubra that indicates dryer conditions. This allows greater shrub establishment.

Invasive Removal and Restoration Plan

I have divided the Headwaters Bowl into four subareas, based on who can perform the needed restoration work (see below).

Figure 4: Headwaters Bowl and subareas. A: All volunteers can work here. B: Forest stewards and experienced volunteers. C: Parks District Natural Area Crew (slope). D: Privately contracted crew (slope, private property).

Figure 4: Headwaters Bowl and subareas. A: All volunteers can work here. B: Forest stewards and experienced volunteers. C: Parks District Natural Area Crew (slope). D: Privately contracted crew (slope, private property).

Subarea A

Subarea A is between the main trail and the stream bank. It is relatively flat and dry, making it accessible to all volunteers. It measures approximately 16,500 square feet (all areas calculated using the measurement tool on GSP Reference Map on Arcgis.com).

Subarea A has received the most attention of any area in the park, beginning with the very first work party. As a consequence of it receiving such early attention, no good record was kept of its pre-restoration state; the notes below are reconstructed from memory.

There were few areas of Hedera helix (English ivy) monocultures in Subarea A. There were some areas of Ilex aquifolium (English holly) and Prunus laurocerasus (Cherry laurel) dominance. The ivy has been removed by hand. The holly was removed by uprooting. The laurel was removed by cutting and painting.

In late summer and fall of 2013, several EarthCorps work parties concentrated on invasive removal in this section.
Plants have been installed and invasives removed every year, and it is now in an establishment phase.

Suggested tasks for Subarea A:

  • Explore the western end in further detail.
  • Continue monitoring the planted area for native plant establishment and invasive resurgence.
  • Track mature Alnus rubra and naturally regenerating Thuja plicata and Acer macrophyllum.
  • Start a new generation of deciduous trees.
  • Add to the herbaceous diversity annually.
  • In 2021 (ten years after restoration began), add a new generation of conifer trees.

Subarea B

Subarea B is the center of the bowl, and because of the saturation and fragile soil structure is more difficult to work in than Subarea A. This makes it accessible to small groups of experienced forest stewards only. It measures about 45,000 square feet.

The widest part, to the right in the image, is permanently saturated. It receives invasive removal in the late summer, when it’s relatively dry. It has received plantings of graminoids and shrubs. The eastern edge of Subarea B is the location of the circle monitoring plot discussed above. The part of Subarea B not in park property needs further exploration.

The narrower part has many seeps, separated by tongues of soil held in place by Carex obnupta (slough sedge) and/or Rubus spectabilis (salmonberry). In the spring and summer, these seeps contain forbs such as Oenanthe sarmentosa (Water parsley). However, there is no woody vegetation to hold the seeps during winter.

Some Picea sitchensis (Sitka spruce) and Thuja plicata (Western red-cedar) have been planted in the seeps.

In June 2014, Friends of North Beach Park received a $500 stewardship grant from the Puget Sound Chapter for the purchase of wetland plants. These plants will be installed along the streambank and in the seeps of the western (left) edge of Subarea B of the Headwaters Bowl, and across to Subarea B of the Central Valley. This grant is discussed in more detail in “Stewardship Grant.”

Suggested tasks for Subarea B, in the lobed area to the east:

  • Continue removing blackberry.
  • Establish shrubs where possible, graminoids elsewhere.
  • Explore the base of the slope and the bowl during a rain event.

Suggested tasks for Subarea B, in the narrow part to the west:

  • Implement the WNPS Stewardship Grant in autumn of 2014.
  • Continue removing invasives as necessary.
  • Monitor seeps for erosion.
  • Establish obligate wetland plants in the seeps.

Subarea C

Subarea C measures roughly 10,200 square feet. It is the slope along 24th Ave NW and around the entrance to the park along the main trail. Because it is a greater than 40% grade, only Parks Department Natural Area crew or contract crew can work on it. Volunteers have worked on it in the past, however.

In 2011, trees along the rim and slope received survival rings and there was some clearing of the slope.

In 2012 and 2013, the rim received some planting by the Friends of North Beach Park. During the summer months, these plants are watered and weeded. These plants include shrubs such as Aruncus dioicus var. acuminatus (Goatsbeard), Rosa nootkana (Nootka rose) and trees such as Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) and Pinus contorta var. contorta (Shore pine).

In 2013, the slope was partially cleared by a group of EarthCorps volunteers. The clearing was completed by a contract crew, who also put down jute rolls and planted in the fall.

Figure 5: Steep slope jute erosion control by contract crew.

Figure 5: Steep slope jute erosion control by contract crew.

The remainder of the clearing, following the curve of the slope along 24th Ave. and ending at the property line, will happen in 2014 or 2015.

Volunteers and forest stewards can maintain the plants at the rim and the base, but further tasks along the slope in this subarea will be executed by the Parks Department.

Subarea D

Subarea D measures approximately 13,800 square feet. It has not been explored in any great depth. Some trees were given survival rings during the first work parties in 2011. One house appears to have impermeable erosion control fabric, held down by sandbags, on the slope beneath it.

Subarea D is entirely private property on a very steep slope. The houses were built between 1959 and 1963 (King County Parcel Viewer), long before there was any movement to make the ravine a park or any attempt to preserve urban wetlands. The property lines, as shown below, extend into the bowl of the park, which allows the owners to have addresses on 24th Ave. This group of houses, as a whole, is called Olympic Terrace.

Figure 6: Property lines and park boundaries of HWB. The green area is North Beach Park. The red lines are parcel boundaries for private property. (Source: Seattle Department of Public Development DPDGIS).

Figure 6: Property lines and park boundaries of HWB. The green area is North Beach Park. The red lines are parcel boundaries for private property. (Source: Seattle Department of Public Development DPDGIS).

Due to the steepness of the slope, and the fact that it is private property, Subarea D can only be worked on by a privately contracted crew.

Working in Subarea D depends on securing the cooperation of the homeowners. We plan to contact them in autumn 2014 or early 2015 by doorbelling or leaving door hangers. If this contact is successful, we will

  • Explore the area along the bowl and the base of the slope to get an estimate of its invasiveness and what work needs to be done.
  • Design restoration plans that range from one-year brute force through multi-year phased work (which plan gets executed would depend on the size and time span of the grant).
  • Work with neighbors to write a grant that can be applied to private property (with King Conservation District or other organization).
  • Restore Subarea D per grant.

The large contingencies in this plan are (a) successfully contacting and securing the cooperation of the neighbors and (b) obtaining the very competitive King Conservation District grants.

The constraints against working in Subarea D would make it low priority if it were in another section of the park. However, its proximity to the headwaters increases its importance.

Planting Season!

Planting season has hit the Pacific Northwest, and restoration projects all over the place are getting their shovels dirty. No less is happening in North Beach Park — we have planting parties planned for the next FOUR work parties, October, November, January, and February!

The October work party happens Saturday, October 25, from 9 a.m. to noon. Please sign up here. The Friends of North Beach Park will be joined by international students from North Seattle College, volunteering with their I-CARE program.

October features wetland graminoids (grasses) and one forb. These plants will come from 4th Corner Nursery in Bellingham, and are purchased with monies from a stewardship grant from the Central Puget Sound Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society. We also appreciate the support of our fiscal sponsor, Seattle Parks Foundation, for processing the money.

These will be planted in the Headwaters Bowl and Central Valley habitat management units of North Beach Park.

Scientific Name Common name Size Form Number
Carex amplifolia Broad-leaved sedge br Gr 50
Carex stipata Sawbeak sedge br Gr 100
Deschampsia caespitosa Tufted hair-grass br Gr 50
Glyceria elata Tall mannagrass br Gr 100
Juncus ensifolius Daggerleaf rush br Gr 50
Scirpus microcarpus Panicled bulrush br Gr 100
Veronica americana American brooklime br Fo 100

Although this is 550 plants, they’re all pretty small.

The November work party will happen on Saturday, the 22nd. Build up that appetite and enjoy your Thanksgiving feast that little bit more, because you’ve done some good for Seattle parks! Sign up here. Friends of North Beach Park will be joined again by international students from the North Seattle College I-CARE program.

November will see more plants installed in the main body of North Beach Park. These plants are provided by Green Seattle Partnership. There will be one tree, one shrub, and two grasses and two forbs.

Scientific Name Common name Size Form Number
Acer macrophyllum bigleaf maple 1 gal Tr 6
Asarum caudatum wild ginger 1 gal Fo 20
Oplopanax horridus Devil’s club 1 gal Sh 10
Petasites frigidus coltsfoot 1 gal Fo 20
Scirpus acutus hardstem bulrush 1 gal Gr 8
Scirpus microcarpus panicled bulrush 1 gal Gr 8

For the first three years of restoration, we planted hundreds of conifer trees in North Beach Park. Now we’re going to switch gears for a while: Let the new conifers establish and get well-situated for the next three to five years, and do some replacement of the deciduous canopy.

We skip December, because the 4th Saturday falls between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We hope you have a good holiday.

In January, we return to the South Plateau to plant the last of the plants provided by Green Seattle Partnership. The entrance to the South Plateau is at NW 88th St. and 27th Ave. NW. The January work party will happen on Saturday, the 24th. The event is not posted to Cedar yet, but it will have full directions and information. We DO know what we will be planting, though.

Scientific Name Common name Size Form Number
Holodiscus discolor oceanspray 1 gal Sh 11
Lonicera involucrata twinberry 1 gal Sh 7
Mahonia nervosa dwarf Oregon grape 1 gal Sh 25
Malus fusca Pacific crabapple 1 gal Tr 5
Polystichum munitum sword fern 1 gal Fe 25
Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas fir 1 gal Tr 5
Rosa gymnocarpa bald-hip rose 1 gal Sh 25
Rosa nutkana Nootka rose 1 gal Sh 25

This will be our last planting work party for the 2014-2015 planting season. Well, that we’re planning on as we write (four months in advance). Who knows what the future portends?

This work party will feature shrubs and small trees, the second half of the stewardship grant purchase from the Washington Native Plant Society.

Scientific Name Common name Size Form Number
Fraxinus latifolia Oregon ash 6-12″ br Tr 50
Malus fusca Pacific Crab Apple 3-6″ br Tr 50
Physocarpus capitatus Pacific ninebark 6-12″ br Sh 50
Salix lucida Pacific willow 6-12″ br Tr 50
Salix sitchensis Sitka Willow 6-12″ br Tr 100

The February work party will be back in the main body of the park, and will happen on the 28th. As soon as the information gets posted to Cedar, we’ll link to it on Nature Intrudes.

We also plan to do a little experiment: Hold back some of the plants of each species, and keep them in a well-tended nursery for a year or two. The question is: Will the plants that get the extra attention have a better survival rate than the plants installed immediately?

That’s a little over a thousand plants altogether. Most of them are going into wetter areas of the park, which means they should make it through the summer drought fairly well.

Success Metrics

Tree-iage Grid

At the start of restoration, each HMU in a park is evaluated according to a 9-square “tree-iage” grid, rating from high composition/low threat to high threat/low composition. This helps GSP estimate how much time and effort the restoration will take. See below.

Forterra "Tree-iage" grid. Source: GSP Unpublished document.

Forterra “Tree-iage” grid. Source: GSP Unpublished document.

To place an HMU into the tree-iage grid, the observer follows the flow chart in below. North Beach Park has a native canopy of greater than 50%, but the tree regeneration rate is very low. At the start of restoration, almost the entire park had areas of greater than 5% invasive cover, and many areas had greater than 50% invasive cover. This put most of the park in square 6 of the tree-iage grid. As of summer 2014, some areas (the areas in blue in Figure 4, below) have moved into square 4, and some areas that were in square 6 have moved into square 5.

Source: Green Seattle Partnership

Source: Green Seattle Partnership

Phases 1-3 Mapping and Assessment

Once restoration begins, that area is mapped as a restoration site in the larger HMU zone. Many large parks have HMUs of several acres, and restoration sites within those HMUs as large as the largest HMU in North Beach Park.
Green Seattle Partnership has four phases of restoration, to track and evaluate progress as a site is restored. The phases are listed in Table 1, below, along with their estimated average labor investment. A restoration site always starts out in phase 1. How long a site stays in the first three phases is suggested by its placement in the tree-iage grid. With North Beach Park starting in squares 5 and 6, the table below applies pretty directly.

Phase Tasks Average Labor Investment
1 Invasive removal 400 hours/acre
2 Secondary removal and planting 100 hours/acre
3 Continued invasive removal, watering and mulching 40 hours/acre for up to three years
4 Stewardship and maintenance 5 hours/acre annually

Some acreage in Seattle has been provisionally approved for phase 4, but exactly what thresholds qualify for the transition from Phase 3 to Phase 4 is under discussion. The figure below shows the phases of restoration in North Beach Park.

Beige areas are not yet in active restoration. Phase 1 (invasive removal) is brown. Phase 2 (planting) is green. Phase 3 (establishment) is blue. Phase 4 would be dark green.

Beige areas are not yet in active restoration. Phase 1 (invasive removal) is brown. Phase 2 (planting) is green. Phase 3 (establishment) is blue. Phase 4 would be dark green.

Deciding what phase a restoration site is in is determined by a number of factors:

  • Work logs filled in by the forest steward, contract crew, or Parks staff.
  • Volunteer hours on a site.
  • GSP-protocol forest monitoring reports (discussed above).
  • Visual inspection and transect by a GSP or Parks Department employee.

After a restoration event (which includes both public work parties and any restoration work done in a park), the forest steward enters data into a web form that includes information on volunteer attendance and total hours, square footage of area cleared, invasives removed, plants installed or watered, square footage of area mulched, and amount of maintenance activities.

Visual inspections and transects are currently on an 18-24 month cycle, with preference going to sites in Phase 1 or 2. Sites in Phase 3 might receive inspection at the longer end of the cycle. North Beach Park was last visited for phase evaluation in October and November of 2013.

The inventory protocols are very similar to the forest monitoring protocols discussed above, with the difference being that the monitoring protocols apply to samples within an HMU, and the inventory is done to an entire HMU. The inventory work is done during the same season as forest monitoring, mid-May through mid-October.

Each HMU receives a profile, taken while walking a transect. Depending on the size of the zone, it also receives a number of plots that assess regeneration or tree density. Because all the HMUs in North Beach Park are less than two acres, each HMU would receive one regeneration plot and two tree density plots.

The zone-wide measurements look at slope, aspect, soil conditions, litter depth, coarse woody debris, canopy cover and average tree diameter; and then special features such as trails, camps, wetlands, or dumps. The tree assessment tallies every native and non-native tree within sight of the transect, and giving estimated heights and DBH (diameter at breast height) measurements. The vegetation assessment records species and estimated percent cover for every species intersecting the inventory line.

The tree regeneration plots are 16’ diameter circles, approximately 1/50th of an acre. Within that circle, all trees less than 5” DBH of every species are tallied and a per-species estimate of percent cover is taken.

The tree density plot starts with a tree close to the transect line greater than 5” DBH. This becomes the center of a circle, and the distance to the nearest 5 trees greater than 5” DBH is measured.

The phase-mapping assessment compares field observations of a site in restoration against work logs submitted by the forest steward. For phases 1-3, the observations are fairly basic. The assessment for phase 4 is more rigorous and is discussed below.

Phase 4 Assessment

Phase 4 assessment is a more rigorous, quantitative assessment than Phases 1-3. If a site under consideration fails to meet any of the thresholds below, it is kept in Phase 3. The tables below show the assessment thresholds for the North Beach Park reference ecosystems.

Canopy Threshold for Phase 4 Assessment

Reference Ecosystem Density (TPA) Cover Diversity Regeneration Regen. Diversity
Mesic-Moist Conifer and Conifer Deciduous Mixed Forest 100 80% 4 200 4
Riparian Forest and Shrubland 75 75% 2 125 2

Note: “TPA” is Trees Per Acre. “Diversity” refers to species diversity.

Understory, Woody Debris, and Invasive Regeneration Threshold for Phase 4 Assessment

Reference Ecosystem Cover Diversity Snag CWD Invasive Regen. Max (TPA)
Mesic-Moist Conifer and Conifer Deciduous Mixed Forest 50% 14 30 2,000 10
Riparian Forest and Shrubland 150% 14 20 3,000 10

Note: “CWD” is “coarse woody debris” and the value is linear feet greater than 5″ diameter.

The South Plateau is roughly half an acre. To apply these tables, the TPA, Regeneration, Snag, and CWD numbers would all be halved, but the percentages and diversity thresholds would remain the same.


Green City Partnerships. 2012. “Monitoring Data Collection Methods.” Green City Partnerships, Seattle.

Green Seattle Partnership. 2012. “Forest Steward Field Guide.” Green Seattle Partnership, Seattle.

— 2014. “Inventory Protocols 2014.” Green Seattle Partnership, Seattle.

Monitoring Protocols

Green City Monitoring Protocol

In order to evaluate progress, Green City Partnerships have established a set of forest monitoring protocols to be used in Green City restoration sites (Green City Partnerships, 2012).

This protocol establishes a 1/10 acre circle in an area just before restoration begins. The location of the plot is recorded by the GPS coordinates of the center of the circle, walking directions from the entrance to the park or a nearby major landmark, and the bearing of at least two reference objects from the middle of the circle.

The circle is split into four quadrants, and the following data are collected:

  • Height, DBH (diameter at breast height), species, and health of trees.
  • Percent cover of all shrub and undergrowth plants, native or invasive.
  • Snags and coarse woody debris, grouped into three decay classes.
  • Basic site characteristics, such as slope, aspect, soil compaction and moistness, canopy cover, general habitat type.
  • Photographs of the monitoring site are taken at the cardinal directions (Green City Partnerships, 2012).

Percent cover is usually decided by consensus of the people working on the plot, and is reported in broad categories (i.e., “1-5%,” “6-15%”) to standardize data recording across the city.

The first report establishes a pre-restoration baseline. Ideally, the plot would be visited once a year for three years during the same month of that the baseline was taken. Budget and logistical constraints make that infeasible. After the fourth visit, monitoring drops to once every five years.

Green City forest monitoring is a citizen science project. The volunteers are knowledgeable about native plants, or taking the opportunity to learn more. Many of the volunteers are forest stewards themselves.

A practical minimum for this monitoring protocol is three people: two observers and one recorder. A good number is five, which has one observer in each quadrant and one recorder. Larger groups don’t make the process happen faster, but do make the observations more complete.

The data is entered into a web form, and at the end of the summer, summary reports are sent to the monitoring team and the forest steward. GSP uses this data to assess restoration progress and to assign restoration phases to a restoration site (which is generally a subset of a Habitat Management Unit).

North Beach Park has three official forest monitoring plots, one each in the South Plateau, the Headwaters Bowl, and the Central Valley. These plots were initially established in 2012 and revisited in 2013. Two more plots, each 1/2 the standard, in the Central Valley and the 92nd St. Wetlands, were established as training exercises for an Edmonds Community College class in 2013.

The data from these reports is discussed in the “South Plateau,” “Headwaters Bowl,” “Central Valley,” and “92nd St. Wetlands” sections.

Belt Transect


In June, 2014, forest stewards and volunteers performed a cross-gradient belt transect of North Beach Park, following the 90th St. right of way (see below). This area for the transect was selected because it crosses every gradient of the park, from highest to lowest, and three habitat management units: the West Slope, the Central Valley, and the North Slope. It is also the only cross-gradient transect route that stays completely on public property.

On the West Slope, 4’ square plots were established; in the Central Valley and the North Slope, the plots were 4’x16’. The plots were established every 40’ on alternate sides of the transect line, and situated 2’ off the transect line to avoid trampling. For each plot, we listed species found and percent cover. Per cent cover included mature canopy trees leaning over the plot. The transect provided data for comparing the unrestored state of the areas transected to their target forest types and target ecosystems. Although we were unable to take accurate GPS readings, the transect is still replicable given the definition of its space.

The green lines indicate park boundaries. The 90th St. Right-of-Way is the gap between the southern and northern halves of the park. Red lines indicate habitat management unit boundaries. (Source Green Seattle Partnership Reference Map on arcgis.com.)

The green lines indicate park boundaries. The 90th St. Right-of-Way is the gap between the southern and northern halves of the park. Red lines indicate habitat management unit boundaries. (Source Green Seattle Partnership Reference Map on arcgis.com.)


In advance of the main survey, a transect line was established by two volunteers. Waypoints were established at intervals dictated by visibility and varied from 105’ to 16’. The line was maintained using a compass.

The transect itself was done by seven volunteers. Three worked in advance of the sampling, setting up the plots. On the West Slope, because of its steepness and dense herbaceous cover, two plots, four square feet each, were set up. In the Central Valley, nine 4×16’ plots were set up. On the North Slope, eight 4×16’ plots were set up. Each plot alternated sides, and was two feet away from, the transect line. The plots were spaced 40 feet apart.

Two people did the plant identification, with one person making the decision about per cent cover for efficiency and consistency. A third person recorded all the details.

The last person recorded GSP data using the smartphone app GPS Test, version 1.2.9, by Chartcross Ltd. However, the nature of working in a ravine and the inaccuracy of the phone made this data unreliable. Despite this, given the definite boundaries of the route, we think we can replicate the transect.

The belt transect provided a wealth of data in comparison to the circle method of forest monitoring. We were able to compare results across eight plots in the Central Valley and nine on the North Slope. These results suggested methods for invasive removal and further monitoring based on the status of the areas transected. However, the logistics involved in preparing for the transect, and the size of crew necessary to implement it, make it much more difficult to execute than the circle method.

The data from the belt transect is discussed in detail in the “West Slope,” and “North Slope,” and the “Central Valley” sections.


Green City Partnerships. 2012. “Monitoring Data Collection Methods.” Green City Partnerships, Seattle.

September Work Party Report

Saturday, September 27th was a beautiful day for a work party — and a good time was had by all!

Friends of North Beach park welcomed 16 students from Seattle Pacific University as part of their Cityquest program: Incoming freshman students are sent to locations all over Seattle for a little community service.

Two forest stewards had made elaborate plans for the group, and we were able to keep them busy for all four hours of the work party (FoNBP events are usually three hours). We worked on the South Plateau, which is a great place for a larger work party and needs a lot of attention.

Our plan was to remove as much of the nipplewort (Lapsana communis) and herb robert (Geranium robertianum) as possible. It really got out of hand this year, and unfortunately, the nipplewort had already set seed. It’s normally very easy to remove — it’s a shallow-rooted annual, so just grasp at the base, lift, knock off the dirt, and drop it. But the seed set meant we had to remove it. I’m sure a lot of seeds got knocked off in the process, but it was still better than leaving it there. The herb robert is also easy to remove, but it needs constant attention. It can flower any time of the year, greatly outcompetes native groundcover, and even poisons the soil against other plants. It’s other common name is “stinky bob,” and it has a pungent smell when uprooted.

Our plan was to put down lots of burlap and mulch once the herb robert and nipplewort had been removed. To which end, we had a truck full of burlap.
Tools and burlap

And a big pile of burlap and a lotta buckets!

In fact, about lunchtime we went back and got more burlap. And we had a group of students moving mulch from another location, adding it to the pile above pretty much all day (okay, we fell a little short on the wheelbarrows).

Speaking of lunchtime, it gave us all a chance to sit down and for the students to get acquainted with each other a bit.

After lunch, it was back to the work: removing nipplewort and herb robert, putting mulch around already-installed plants, and building some ivy platforms.

Here is a group of volunteers in the basin of the South Plateau. When residents of Labateyah began working in the South Plateau in 2012, this was an impenetrable mass of blackberry and ivy that one forest steward thought it would take years to clear.
The South Plateau

By the end of the day, we were definitely dragging. But we had enough energy to smile for a group photograph.
The valiant crew!
Morry (in the back left), Tad (on the right, in a white hat) and Wenny (first row right, in the fuschia hoodie) were from Friends of North Beach Park. Everyone else is form SPU!

Thank you, SPU and Cityquest! We look forward to hosting you again next year.

(As usual, there are some more photos on Flickr.)

Target Forest Types

“Target forest types” are reference communities for the forest steward to target in their plant selections.

The “forest type” is based on research by Chappell (1999, 2006) for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Each forest type is based on an observed community in areas that are as undisturbed as possible. Chappell’s research concentrates on the Puget Trough Ecoregion (the lowland areas surrounding the Puget Sound), the region Seattle occupies. Selecting which forest types specifically applied to Seattle was based on research by Larson (2005) and by using a key based on GSP inventory site data (Denovan 2012). There are currently twenty-three target forest types assigned to Seattle forests and natural areas. Four of these (discussed below) have been assigned to North Beach Park.

The name of the target forest type is derived from the dominant plant species at every canopy layer. The species are listed by their four letter code in the order of constancy with which they occurred in the sampled plots. Dashes separate species at the same canopy layer, slashes separate canopy layers.

For example, “THPL-TSHE/OPHO/POMU” is THuja-PLicata – TSuga HEterophylla / OPlopanax HOrridus / POlystichum MUnitum” (Western red-cedar – Western hemlock/Devil’s club/Sword fern). This means that there was more Western red-cedar than hemlock in the sampled plots, Devil’s club is the dominant species at the shrub layer, and sword fern the dominant species at the groundcover layer.

A long list of forest plant associations can look bewilderingly similar. The diversity comes with the non-dominant species, especially at the herbaceous level.

Why Target Forest Types

Target forest types were selected by Parks Department plant ecologists to promote heterogeneity among the natural areas undergoing restoration in Seattle. They noticed that, over the years at the city scale, plant selections were very similar.
At first, target forest types were promoted as prescriptive; that is, forest stewards had to consider the TFTs for their park a goal, and select their plants accordingly.

This lead to pushback and confusion from forest stewards. Now forest types are grouped into the seven reference ecosystems as a more general planting palette. Of the two reference ecosystems for North Beach Park, “mesic-moist conifer and conifer deciduous mixed forest” has four target forest types; “riparian forest and shrubland” has nine.

All information about the target forest types is taken from the descriptions by Chappell at the website referenced below. The descriptions are attached to this book as Appendix C, “Target Forest Type Descriptions.” The TFTs are discussed in the order of number of HMUs to which they are assigned.


This target forest type is assigned to the following HMUs: North Slope, 91st St. Slope, West Slope, South Slope, South Plateau.

This forest type is dominated by Western hemlock and Douglas-fir at the canopy level, with sword fern and spreading wood fern at the ground cover level. It is found almost everywhere in the Puget Trough except in San Juan County.

This association is found in moist sites with nutrient-rich soils, and more commonly on lower slopes and riparian terraces. This relates well to the reference ecosystem of mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest.

Other plants in this community include Berberis nervosa (Dull Oregon-grape) which grows with sword fern in many places in North Beach Park.

Chappell says that Red alder regenerate after disturbance and that alder typically die out after 80-100 years. The alder canopy in North Beach Park is very mature, and is decaying at the rate of one to three trees per year.


This target forest type is assigned to the Central Valley and Headwaters’ Bowl HMUs.

This forest type has Alnus rubra (Red alder) almost exclusively in the canopy layer, with a dense shrub layer formed mostly of Rubus spectabilis (salmonberry). The herbaceous layer is dominated by Tolmiea menziesii (piggyback). We saw this combination pretty continuously through the Central Valley during the belt transect.

In North Beach Park both Carex obnupta (slough sedge) and Lysichiton americanum (skunk cabbage) were growing before restoration, but not together. In general, the herbaceous layer in these HMUs is not as well developed as described for this community.

Chappell describes this community as existing in palustrine scrub-shrub wetlands, which fits with the riparian forest and shrubland reference ecosystem.


This forest type has Thuja plicata (Western red-cedar) and Tsuga heterophylla (Western hemlock) dominant in the canopy layer, with Oplopanax horridus (Devil’s club) in the shrub layer and Polystichum munitum (Sword fern) in the ground layer.

Red alder and Big leaf maple are the current dominant trees in the canopy of North Beach Park. The 92nd St. Wetlands, to which this target forest type is assigned, is the only HMU where the coniferous canopy cover is more than 10%.

Although Chappell rates this community as secure at both the global and state level, he says there are “very few good quality stands remaining.”

We attempted to reintroduce Devil’s club into the park from seed but were unsuccessful. We look forward to reintroducing it soon, perhaps as part of the Washington Native Plant Society Stewardship Grant.


This forest type is assigned to the Fletcher’s Slope HMU.

Unlike the rest of the target forest types assigned to North Beach Park, this forest type is based on research by Kunze (1994). In general, Chappell is preferred because he provides constancy across sampled plots and percent cover of all species. Kunze provides percent cover for only indicator species. All information below was taken from a PDF excerpt of her work supplied by Green Seattle Partnership.

In North Beach Park, Fletcher’s Slope has greater than 10% Western hemlock in the community, with some Douglas-fir. Kunze says either TSHE or THPL can dominate this community. Acer macrophyllum (Big leaf maple) is the dominant deciduous tree in the dryer sections of the park. Lysichiton americanum (skunk cabbage) grows throughout the park, but we have not seen Acer circinatum (vine maple) that wasn’t planted during restoration activities.

This once-common community has few undisturbed examples. Kunze describes it as occurring in conditions that are very similar to North Beach Park: on flat ground, in depressions, with small streams and seeps, with the water level at or slightly below the soil surface.

Adapting the TFT concept to specifics of North Beach Park

Examining the target forest types above against the current conditions in North Beach Park indicates that more restoration needs to happen at the herbaceous level. To date, we’ve concentrated mostly on the tree and shrub layers. We plan to increase our reintroduction of under-represented herbaceous plants.

Putting different forest types into the buckets of reference ecosystems both allows for a greater planting selection and strategy, and perhaps even a climate change adaptation.

Research with grasslands shows that productivity increases with biodiversity (Tilman, 2001). Making several TFTs available for every reference ecosystem can help with climate change and prevent biodiversity loss through both component redundancy (increased species and community redundancy) and functional redundancy (introduction of ecologically equivalent species or novel associations) (Dunwiddie 2009).


Chappell, C.B. 1999. Ecological Classification of Low-Elevation Riparian Vegetation on the Olympic Experimental State Forest: A First Approximation. Washington Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program, Olympia , Wash.

— 2006. Upland plant associations of the Puget Trough ecoregion, Washington. Natural Heritage Rep. 2006-01. Washington Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program, Olympia , Wash. [http://www1.dnr.wa.gov/nhp/refdesk/communities/ ].

Denovan R., and Salisbury, N. 2012. GSP Target Forest Type Assignment Key Using GSP Site Inventory Data. (unpublished document)

Dunwiddie, P.W., S.A. Hall, M.W. Ingraham, J.D. Bakker, K.S. Nelson, R. Fuller, E. Gray. 2009. “Rethinking Conservation Practice in Light of Climate Change.” Ecological Restoration 27:3 320-329

Kunze, M. 1994. Preliminary Classification of Native, Low Elevation Freshwater Wetland Vegetation in Western Washington. Washington Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program, Olympia, WA.

Larson, R.J. 2005. The Flora of Seattle in 1850: Major Species and Landscapes Prior to Urban Development. (Unpublished thesis).

Tilman, D., P.B. Reich, J. Knops, D. Wedlin, T. Mielke, C. Lehman. 2001. “Diversity and Productivity in a Long-Term Grassland Experiment.” Science, Vol. 294, 843-845

Habitat Management Units

Green Seattle Partnership splits each park into different zones called “habitat management units” (HMUs). This allows GSP to assign different target forest types and reference ecosystems to the different HMUs, and the forest stewards to use techniques and approaches best suited to each HMU.

North Beach Park is split into 11 HMUs; nine of these are discussed in this document. The other two are only accessible by crossing private property lines.

The HMUs were delineated by Nelson Salisbury and Ella Elman when they mapped North Beach Park for EarthCorps in late summer of 2011. The names of the HMUs were decided by the forest stewards. All of the names are descriptive in some way.

The HMUs in North Beach Park are based on two basic characteristics: slopes and uplands, and wetlands. There is some mixture in that all the wetland areas contain some upland slopes, and the upland areas frequently contain some seeps or wet areas in their lower regions.

Within these two divisions, slopes and uplands are assigned their name based on nearby property (ie, Fletcher’s Slope is below Fletcher’s Village; 91st St. Slope is below 91st St.; 92nd St. Wetlands is below 92nd St.), characteristics (the South Plateau is the largest flat area of the park and 80 feet above the rest of the park), or aspect (South Slope, West Slope, North Slope). The Headwaters Bowl is where the groundwater enters the park and begins to form the stream; the Central Valley is in the middle of the park.

Each of these HMUs received a reference ecosystem at the time of mapping, based on broad category of the plant species seen. There are two reference ecosystems for NBP: “mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest” and “riparian forest and shrubland.” These are based on NatureServe classifications.

The table below shows the nine HMUs discussed in this book sorted by size, and listed with their target forest type and reference ecosystem. The target forest types are explained in “Target Forest Types,” next week.

Name Size Target Forest Type Reference ecosystem
Central Valley 1.97 ALRU/RUSP/CAOB-LYAM Riparian forest and shrubland
Headwaters Bowl 1.39 ALRU/RUSP/CAOB-LYAM Riparian forest and shrubland
North Slope 1.14 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
West Slope 0.84 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
South Slope 0.76 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
92nd St. Wetlands 0.69 THPL-TSHE/OPHO/POMU Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
South Plateau 0.57 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
91st St. Slope 0.54 TSHE-PSME/POMU/DREX Mesic-moist conifer and conifer-deciduous mixed forest
Fletcher’s Slope 0.53 TSHE-THPL-ACMA/ACCI/LYAM Riparian forest and shrubland

The Central Valley, Headwaters Bowl, and 92nd St. Wetlands are all primarily wetlands and are discussed first. The other six HMUs are primarily uplands and slopes and are discussed after the wetlands. Within each category, the HMUs are discussed in the order of greatest amount of restoration effort they have received.

Volunteer Network

Note: This is the fourth in a series of Monday posts about the Restoration Management Plan for North Beach Park. To read the others in the series, please click the “Restoration Management Plan” link in the tags at the bottom of the post.

Friends of North Beach Park has been as successful as it has been because of the people who live near (but not on) the park and frequently come to work parties. Our work parties are usually five to seven people, a good number for the spaces we work in. We have a semi-regular crew of people who attend eight out of ten work parties a year. This greatly improves the consistency and amount of work we’re able to do.

FoNBP has tried many avenues to get volunteers for our work parties. We feel the best approach is to consider it like sowing seed: try a lot of things, and some of them will take.


Everyone who signs in to a volunteer event is added to the email list for the park. We send out one large email announcing the work party, generally two weeks in advance. It usually includes some other information about the park or about other organizations. Shortly after a work party, an email is sent to the attendees with a little report.
This email list is maintained by hand, so to speak, using the contacts in Yahoo! mail. FoNBP will be switching to a contact manager program soon.


First Set Up

FoNBP has tabled at two different community events, three times at “Art in the Garden” and twice at “Sustainable Ballard.”

Art in the Garden is our most successful outreach event. It is located in the Ballard p-patch, at 25th Ave. and 86th St. This is very close to North Beach Park, and many of the people who stop at our table have been there. Success at this event is getting names for our email list. Most important in 2014 was making contact with a neighbor of the South Plateau and meeting someone who had lived near the park and illicitly maintained the social trails (he’s since moved away). We consider this very worthwhile, but also very pleasant.

Sustainable Ballard is held on a Sunday in late September at Ballard Commons Park. FoNBP has tabled at this event twice with Green Seattle Partnership, to promote Green Seattle Day (first Saturday in November). The first time was very successful, as the weather was beautiful and the festival was jammed with people all day long. The GSP liaison at the table was very satisfied with the number of names we were getting for their mailing list. The second time was much less successful due to bad weather.


Up until recently in 2014, Ballard had its own newspaper, the Ballard News-Tribune. In 2008, there were two articles about North Beach Park. In 2013, they printed another article about the restoration.

Print (as in newspapers) is not a viable option for promoting work parties. The surviving newspapers (both weekly and daily) only print parks-related news items when it fits their agenda.

Blog posts

In 2011 the Ballard blog, MyBallard.com, was very active and posted a couple stories a day. It had an avid readership, and got many comments, both on its own site and on Facebook. MyBallard posted a few articles about Friends of North Beach Park (most notably this one). In 2012, the editors were forced by economic circumstances to make the blog part time, which decayed it considerably.

Service Groups

There are many service groups in the Seattle area that are potential sources of volunteers.

OneBrick Seattle

OneBrick Seattle is the local group of a nationwide organization. The focus of OneBrick is to get people in their 20s and 30s to volunteer. They use social media extensively, and have a large online presence on Facebook, Twitter, and the web.

Four volunteers from OneBrick participated in a work party with Friends of North Beach Park. Considering the time of year (July) this was a good turn-out. And it was appropriate for the amount of work we had to do.
We might work with OneBrick again in the future.

YMCA Earth Service Corps (YESC)

YESC is a city-wide program to attract environmentally interested high school students into service programs. Most of the programs focus on on-campus projects, but some groups work with forest stewards on restoration projects.

FoNBP spoke to the Ballard HS YESC chapter in 2011, and three members attended a work party, but follow-up attempts at contact have not been successful.

High School Community Service

All high school students in Seattle are required to do some community service. Only Ballard HS has a community service coordinator, however. FoNBP has work parties listed in the Ballard HS community service newsletter.
Private high schools also frequently have a community service requirement. We need to contact these high schools individually.

College service groups

FoNBP is working with Seattle Pacific University to participate in their annual City Quest program.

ESRM 100 students

Removing Ivy.

Our experience with ESRM 100 students appears to be better than most. We get a few students and they usually work well. It might be because they have to travel across the city to get to NBP work parties, as opposed to walking down from the dorm.

Other UW groups

We plant to start working with other UW groups, particularly the fraternity and sorority umbrella organizations, and ENVIR 100 students, in the fall.

Corporate community service


FoNBP did have one large, fun work party with Nordstrom employees. However, the size of the spaces available to all volunteers precludes corporate events.

September Work Party

Welcome fall to North Beach Park! Some of the leaves are already turning and dropping. Now is the time we prepare for the planting parties in October and November.

Saturday, September 27: Work party at the South Plateau. Please note the time and location!

This work party will happen from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (different time!) at the South Plateau, located at NW 88th St. and 27th Ave. NW (different location!).

Directions: To get to the South Plateau from the intersection of NW 85th St. and 24th Ave. NW:

  • Head west on NW 85th St. two blocks.
  • Turn north (right) onto 26th Ave.
  • Drive north on 26th Ave. to where it ends at 88th St.
  • Turn right (west) onto 88th St. and look for parking. PARKING MIGHT BE LIMITED.
  • The entrance to the park is about half a block north.

This is a special work party where we’ll be joined by students from Seattle Pacific University and their CityQuest Program. There will be about twenty students, so we should get a lot done.

We will weed, mulch, and prepare the site for January planting. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. We recommend you wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and closed shoes. Bring water or a snack if you need them. We’ll take a lunch break which will provide some socializing time.

Please register here so we know you’re coming.

Save the date for these upcoming work parties: October 25 and November 22 (in the main body of the park) and January 24, 2015, once again in the South Plateau (for planting). All work parties are on the 4th Saturday, and will run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Blog posts. Every Monday, Nature Intrudes features another excerpt from the Restoration Management Plan for North Beach Park. The first two posts look at the history of the park, and show more than you might have thought was there.

History of North Beach Park.

History of the restoration efforts.

(Feel free to look at other posts on Nature Intrudes, of course!)

As always, if you don’t have the time to join us for a work party, you can support Friends of North Beach Park by making a directed donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation. All money donated will be used to fund the restoration efforts of North Beach Park.

That’s all for now, but we hope to see you in the woods soon!


Note: This is the third in a series of Monday posts about the Restoration Management Plan for North Beach Park. To read the others in the series, please click the “Restoration Management Plan” link in the tags at the bottom of the post.

Stakeholders are users of North Beach Park, homeowners who live on the rim of the park, and any individual or organization concerned with its restoration. Some, such as dog walkers or joggers, might not consider themselves stakeholders, but they still benefit from the restoration. Others, such as the forest stewards, take an active hand in the restoration.

Supporting Organizations

A number of supporting organizations help Friends of North Beach Park (“FoNBP”) in its restoration efforts. These descriptions focus on what the organizations do for North Beach Park and do not attempt to describe the entire organization. For more information, visit their websites, listed in the references section. After FoNBP, the listing is alphabetical.

Friends of North Beach Park

FoNBP sponsors and coordinates the monthly 4th Saturday work parties, and does the Monday morning forest steward work parties. FoNBP is responsible for the long-term planning of the restoration of North Beach Park. The actions of FoNBP are detailed in “Restoration History” in “Park and Restoration History.”


EarthCorps mapped North Beach Park in 2011 and provided GPS assistance with the wetland delineation. It sponsored seven work parties in NBP in 2013. It also coordinates the city-wide forest monitoring program.

Fellow Stewardship Groups

Three nearby stewardship groups have also helped Friends of North Beach Park. They are Carkeek Park STARS (Streams, Trails, and Restoration Stewards), Golden Gardents GGREAT (Golden Gardens Restoration and Trails), and Friends of Llandover Woods. They have assisted in providing tools, volunteers, expert assistance and mentoring, and plant storage. (There are no websites for these groups.)

Green Seattle Partnership

Green Seattle Partnership provides training, resources, materials, logistical support, best management practices, plants, and coordination with the Parks Department. It was formed in 2005 with a 20 year plan to have 2,500 acres in Seattle’s forested parks and nature areas in restoration.

Groundswell NW

Groundswell NW provides financial and logistical support to park and greenspace community efforts in Ballard and other NW neighborhoods. The first grant assistance FoNBP received, a “microgrant” of $500 in 2012, was from Groundswell NW. Groundswell NW also awarded Luke McGuff one of two “Local Hero” awards for 2014. FoNBP assisted Groundswell NW with its open space inventory in the summer of 2014.

Seattle Parks Foundation

Seattle Parks Foundation provides financial support, grantwriting assistance, and 501(c)3 fiscal sponsorship for FoNBP and numerous other “Friends of” groups. It also coordinates such programs as the South Park Green Vision and was a major player in bringing the Metropolitan Parks District to a vote.

Washington Native Plant Society

The WNPS – Puget Sound Chapter has provided assistance with Plant ID and volunteers. It also awarded FoNBP its second grant, $500 for stewardship of the wetlands.

Other Stakeholders

The remaining stakeholders take a more passive role in the restoration of North Beach Park, but still have a valid concern for the restoration’s success.

Neighbors of the Park

Neighbors of the park are the homeowners who live along the rim of the ravine. There are two small gated communities: Olympic Terrace on 24th Ave. and Fletcher’s Village on 28th Ave. As far as we know, only one person who lives on the park has come to a work party, although some are on the email list. We have done physical mailings to all the neighbors of the park twice, and a special mailing to the people who lived near the South Plateau once. The Olympic Terrace parcel boundaries extend into the park.

In many cases, the boundary lines between the neighbors and the park are obscure. Sometimes that is due to the parcel line being on a very steep part of a slope. In one or two cases, it’s because the homeowner has deliberately obscured it. There is one fence in the Fletcher’s Slope HMU.

One neighbor drains their roof run off into the stream. Another has a large patch of Lamium galeobdolon (Yellow archangel) growing from their property into the park.

Contact with neighbors has been limited. One was upset with some clearing done on the slope underneath his house but has since been mollified with the subsequent work. We’ve talked to two who are concerned that we will “open up” the park.

Efforts to contact and work with the homeowners around the park continue. Lack of neighbor participation has felt frustrating at times, but contact, at least, is improving.

Users of the Park

North Beach Park is underutilized. A better trail system would increase users, but the sides of the ravine are too steep to support trails, and the soil structure is too friable when dry. Although we’ve seen all the groups below in the park at one time or another, we never see more than a two or three people an hour, and sometimes nobody else.
There is no evidence of anyone currently living in the park.

North Beach Elementary

Students from North Beach Elementary, located across the street, occasionally visit the park when school is in session. In the fall of 2012, we tried to arrange regular visits with the first and second grade classrooms, but scheduling became too difficult. A fourth grade teacher would take her students through every month, but she was transferred to kindergarten. Starting in the fall of 2014, North Beach Elementary will be temporarily relocated to a school in Wallingford while it is rebuilt.

Dog Walkers and Joggers

These are the users we see most often in the park. Of these two, dog walkers are more common than joggers. And, luckily enough, the majority of dogs are leashed.


Evidence of adolescent use of the park is more circumstantial than concrete. There is graffiti on the trees and sometimes marijuana paraphernalia. The fresh litter looks like it was from adolescents — candy bar wrappers and juice bottles.

Next week: Volunteer network.