February Work Party Report!

Another great work party today at North Beach Park! We were able to plant 150 wetland trees and shrubs with time to spare. The plants we installed were:

Scientific Name Common Name
Fraxinus latifolia Oregon ash
Malus fusca Pacific crab apple
Physocarpus capitatus Pacific ninebark
Salix lucida Pacific willow
Salix sitchensis Sitka willow

Five buckets of fun!
Five buckets of fun!

These are all “facultative wetland” plants, which means that 2/3ds of the time they are found growing in wetlands, and about 1/3 or so in slightly dryer areas. They were purchased from 4th Corner Nuseries as partial fulfillment of the Washington Native Plant Society Stewardship Grant that Friends of North Beach Park received last June. It’s been a very successful grant for us, and we look forward to seeing the results in the summer and the coming years.

We had eleven volunteers ranging in age from senior in high school on up to well retired. Here is a picture of two of them:

Spot the volunteers!
Spot the volunteers!

We installed the plants between the stream and the trail, in areas that were primarily salmonberry and red alder. They greatly increase the diversity of plant life in those areas; in a few years, they’ll be taller than the salmonberry and quite striking. Also, when they’re at their full height, they will increase the structural diversity (that’s good for birds as well visual aesthetics). We worked in two sections of the park, the Headwaters Bowl and the Central Valley.

I didn’t take very many pictures this time, but there are a few more on Flickr.

Our next two work parties are scheduled for March 28th and April 25th. We usually skip May, because of Memorial Day weekend, but we’re working on something special that should be a lot of fun. We’ll update with details as they become solidified.

Join us in the woods some time! It’s fun and a great way to meet your neighbors.

February Work Party!

February is the last planting work party of the 2014-2015 planting season in North Beach Park. This month we plant trees and shrubs purchased from Fourth Corner Nurseries as part of the Washington Native Plant Society stewardship grant. These are deciduous trees and shrubs that go well in wetlands and are under-represented or being reintroduced to North Beach Park. Specifically, we’ll be planting Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus), Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia), Pacific crab apple (Malus fusca), Pacific willow (Salix lucida), and Sitka willow (S. sitchensis)

On Saturday, February 28th we’ll be working in the main body of the park. We’ll be planting on the stream banks and just up the slopes from the bottom of the wetlands.

We will meet at the main entrance to the park at 24th Ave. NW and NW 90th St. and will head into the park shortly after 9. The work party will last until noon. Some areas will need some preparation before being planted. And we’ll mulch as much as we can.

Please sign up in advance so we know you’re coming.

Remember to wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and to bring water or a snack if you need them. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (link next to the sign-up form). The #48 bus stops a few blocks south of the park; check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th Ave.

This is the second planting work party installing plants purchased with the WNPS grant. The first was in October, at which we planted wetland-obligate grasses.

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.

If you have any questions, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com for further information.

Thanks! We look forward to seeing you there.

January Work Party Report

The weather forecast was for warm temperatures and “decreasing rain” — we had no rain at all and perfect temperatures.

We had a great crew of fifteen people, including forest stewards and students from the Delta Tau Delta fraternity at the UW.

We planted 75 plants, spread over the South Plateau.
The South Plateau
(This is looking into the South Plateau, which is the largest flat, dry area in the park.)

We planted four Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), more than eleven Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor), and about 15 each dwarf Oregon-grape (Mahonia nervosa), sword fern (Polystichum munitum), bald-hip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa), and Nootka rose (R. nutkana). All these plants are under-represented in the South Plateau and have been reintroduced by restoration planting (although not this time). They’ll help to stabilize and buttress slopes and add more visual texture to the currently open and bare area.

Here is an “after” picture of the hearty crew:
The hearty crew

All in all, this was a pretty easy-going work party. We had plenty of time for some ivy and herb robert removal and even some attempts to help slow the water flow down.

The next work party for the Friends of North Beach Park will be February 28, at 9 a.m. We’ll be planting shrubs in the main body of the park. Please sign up here if you’d like to join us.

North Beach Park January Work Party

January is the third of FOUR planting work parties in North Beach Park. We hope to plant just over 1000 plants (total). Join us in this quest to help make North Beach Park even better.

On Saturday, January 24th we’ll be working in the South Plateau, adding diversity and density to plants already installed by earlier volunteers and the Natural Area Crew. We’ll be working in areas cleared of invasives last fall by Seattle Pacific University students and forest stewards. We should also have time to check the water flow in the South Plateau,

We’ll meet at 9 a.m. at the entrance to the South Plateau, 88th St. and 27th Ave. NW. We’ll go until 12 noon.

Directions: First, get to the intersection of 24th Ave. NW and NW 85th St. the way that’s most convenient for you. The NW corner of the intersection is Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church. Head west on 85th St. to 26th Ave. Turn right (north) onto 26th Ave and head north to 88th St. and turn left (west). Look for parking. 27th Ave. is a very short street to the north; it almost looks like an alley. The entrance to the park is about half a block north of the intersection of 27th Ave. and 88th St. and is visible from the intersection.

Please sign up in advance so we know you’re coming.

Remember to wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and to bring water or a snack if you need them. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (link next to the sign-up form). The #48 bus stops a few blocks south of the park; check Metro for details. This is a residential area with limited parking; please carpool if at all possible.

We’ll be installing plants provided by Green Seattle Partnership and the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. We’ll be planting trees and shrubs appropriate to an upland coniferous forest.

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 at this URL: https://seattleparksfoundation.org/2014-pages/step-up/north-beach-park

All money donated will be used to fund the restoration efforts of North Beach Park.

If you have any questions, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com for further information.

Mondays at the Park

One of the great things that has made the restoration of North Beach Park so successful is the fact that three forest stewards (myself, Tad, and Drexie) have gotten together most Mondays for a couple hours.

We started sometime in late 2011, probably during the research for our Master Forester project. And then we just kept going. It was never an obligation, it was always a choice. Sometimes things would come up for one or another of us, sometimes we’d decide it was too cold or rainy.

But four out of five Mondays for the last three+ years would find us in the park, 10 a.m. to noon. Sometimes there would be something I’d want to do, but as often as not we’d decide on the spot what to do. We’d explore the park, put survival rings around trees, check the progress of some plants, water if necessary, and just do whatever. We did a LOT of work party planning. That meant sometimes meeting at Carkeek to label and sort the GSP plant delivery. A couple times we had coffee meetings at Tad or Drexie’s house. Whatever we did, it was a bright point in the week for me.

You’d think that after exploring a little nine acre park just about once a week for a couple years, you’d know it pretty well. But there was always some new discovery to be made — whether something as drastic as a tree fall (this happens at the rate of three or four a year), a new plant we hadn’t seen before, or just a change in perspective from different seasons or being on a hillside and looking into the park from a new angle.

I’m feeling especially aware of this because in a couple days I start a temp assignment that will keep me from being in the park on Mondays for the next several weeks. And I hope by the time that’s over I have a full time job to step into.

I was going to sprinkle this with pictures from the various Mondays… but I don’t feel like wading through Flickr in the way it would take. Here, go browse around for yourself.

Save the dates!

We’ve set up the first batch of work parties at North Beach Park — come join us for invasive removal, planting, meeting people and sharing good work.

All events start at 9 a.m. and run until about noon, rain or shine. All events are on the fourth Saturday of the month, with specific dates below. Please sign up in advance so we know you’re coming!

We welcome all ages, but children must be accompanied by an adult. High-school aged people should have a Youth Waiver Form signed when they arrive. The form is on the sidebar of the event page.

Please wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and closed-toe shoes that can stand up to a little mud. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and snacks as you need them, but there are no facilities at the park.

For events in the main body of the park, parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th Ave. Parking near the South Plateau is more limited, as the nearest public streets are residential. The #40 and #48 buses stop within a couple blocks of the park. Check Metro Trip Planner for details.

Alright! Now onto the event-specific information:

South Plateau Planting Work Party
January 24, 2015

This is the third of four planting parties in North Beach Park during this planting season. We’ll be installing upland trees and shrubs in the South Plateau area of the park. The entrance is located at 27th Ave NW and NW 88th St. If we have time or enough people, we’ll also do some invasive removal.

Directions: From the intersection of 24th Ave. and 85th St., head west to 26th Ave. Turn right onto 26th Ave. and continue north to 87th St. Turn left onto 87th St. and look for parking. The entrance to the park is a half block or so up 27th Ave., which looks like an alleyway at that point. The South Plateau is below street grade, but the work party should be easily visible.

Wetland Trees and Shrubs
February 28, 2015

Join us for the final planting work party of the planting season! We’ll be planting trees and shrubs appropriate for wetlands and streambanks. They’ll add a nice mid-canopy layer to the wetland stretches of the park. These trees and shrubs were purchased as part of a stewardship grant from the Washington Native Plant Society.

Spring is Bustin’ out all over
March 28, 2015

March is the start of the really pretty days for North Beach Park. Several herbaceous plants and many shrubs are already in bloom and all the deciduous plants are leafing out. If you visit the park sometime when no one else is there, you might be surprised at the amount of bird song you can hear. (During a work party, it might be too noisy to hear much.)

April Work Party
April 25, 2015

This is the last work party of the winter and spring series. Just about everything that can be in bloom will be at this point, and everything is fully leafed out. If the weather is gorgeous, but you can’t quite clear your schedule to get out of the city, come join us in the woods.

That’s it! We take a break in May for a couple reasons. The first is that it’s too close to Memorial Day weekend, and everybody has more fun things to do (I mean, WE think pulling ivy in the park is fun…) The second, and more important, is that it’s the height of nesting season, and we don’t want to disturb the ground and shrub nesting birds that make North Beach Park their home.

And as ever, if you can’t attend a work party, your financial support is more than welcome. Just visit the Seattle Parks Foundation’s North Beach Park page and make a tax-deductible donation. All funds will be used for purchase of materials, supplies, and plants. Thank you in advance!

North Beach Park Week in Review

It’s been a busy week at North Beach Park!

It started last Sunday (16th), when Friends of North Beach Park forest steward Morry (who also works at Llandover Woods) arranged for the forest steward from Llandover, Glenn, to bring some equipment to North Beach Park so we could shoot a video.

Drone
Here is a picture of one of the drones being stabilized before takeoff.

And here is the resultant video:

NorthBeachNovember1080 from Glenn Austin on Vimeo.

I recommend full screen, of course. And turn off any other music so you can hear the wonderful guitar piece Glenn selected for the video.

Making the video was fun, and the results certainly can’t be beat. Now I want to do one every season — easy for me to say, of course, I don’t have to do any of the work. ;> (There are more photos on Flickr.)

Here is a video Glenn made of Llandover Woods.

On Monday, Drexie, Tad, and Luke prepared the plants for the work party. This involved sorting, revising the planting plan, figuring out which was which and what was what, and tagging everything.

Here are Tad (left) and Drexie (center background) tagging the plants:
Tad (left) and Drexie (center background) tagging plants

We took the plants to North Beach and left them in a staging area down the trail. We also saw, much to our dismay, that someone — between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning — dumped at least 43 cans of paint in North Beach Park. The ones I picked up were all full. The Ballard blog posted an article about it. It’s nice to see that most of the comments are upset about the dumping.

The paint cans were pretty quickly picked up, probably Tuesday (thank you, Seattle Parks Department!). But still, considering where they were, someone went to more trouble to dump them in the park than it would have taken to get rid of them legitimately. (Guess what — more photos on Flickr.)

And Saturday was our planting party. In addition to the plants from the Green Seattle Partnership, we had eight Sitka Spruce and one Western Red Cedar provided by a neighbor.

We had help from the iCARE students from North Seattle College again:
iCARE

And we were also joined by students from Circle K International from the UW:
Circle K International

We planted more than 100 plants, and this included a fair amount of prep work for some of the areas. It was a very successful work party.
Plants ready for installation

Our next work party won’t be until January. But there are still work parties at Golden Gardens, Carkeek Park, and Llandover Woods.

November Work Party!

November is the second of FOUR planting work parties in North Beach Park. We hope to plant just over 1000 plants (total). Join us for this quest and help make North Beach Park even better.

Saturday, November 22: We’ll be working in an area that was cleared last winter. Now it needs some extra attention before being planted, so this will be a mixture of a work party. We’ll clear the area first and then plant – 72 plants. It all should go rather quickly.

We’ll meet at 9 a.m. at the main entrance to the park, 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW. We’ll go until 12 noon.

At this work party, Friends of North Beach Park will be joined again by students from North Seattle’s iCARE program for international students, and students from the University of Washington Circle K International.

Please sign up in advance so we know you’re coming.

Remember to wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and bring water or a snack if you need them. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (available online). The #40 and #48 buses stop within a few blocks of the park, check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th.

November 22 will be the first of two planting work parties installing plants provided by Green Seattle Partnership and Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. On January 24, we return to the South Plateau for more GSP plant installation. The last planting work party will happen on February 28, when we install shrubs and small trees in the wetlands provided by the Washington Native Plant Society stewardship grant.

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.

If you have any questions, feel free to write lukemcguff[at]yahoo.com for further information.

State of the Park and 2015 Plans

A bulleted list! So you know it’s precise! Considering each HMU where we did some work in 2014, starting with the South Plateau:

South Plateau

  1. Had been neglected since project dropped by previous forest steward.
  2. Neighbor complaints caused us to return to working on it.
  3. Water flow appears to be under control. One forest steward has examined it in the rain and observed that most of the water was flowing into a wood chip pile.
  4. Personal contact was made with two neighbors of the South Plateau, and a homeowner engaged in a gutting and refurbishing of a house. All contacts were positive.
  5. There was one work party in 2014, clearing and planting prep with SPU students.
  6. Issues:
    • Ivy, holly, blackberry, yellow archangel resurgence.
    • Nipplewort, wall lettuce, other annual weeds.
    • Water flow seems to be under control, but still needs to be inspected regularly during heavy rain.
    • Establishment and after care for already established plants.
    • Maintain neighbor relations.
  7. 2015 Plans:
    • January: Planting work party, 128 plants.
    • September: Clearing and prep for planting with SPU students.
    • Forest stewards will continue to work approximately one Monday a month, to maintain cleared areas and prevent reinfestation. We will also attempt to spread seeds of native plants as appropriate, particularly Dicentra Formosa (Pacific bleeding heart).

Central Valley:

  1. Began 2014 with clearing about 800 square feet, down the trail from Knotweed Hill. The clearing happened on both sides of the trail, so it was in both the Central Valley and on the base of the 91st St. Slope.
  2. The area was neglected during the summer months in favor of after care for plants in drier areas of the park – along the North Slope side of the main trail and along the 24th Ave. rim.
  3. A three person crew worked on the area during the August work party.
  4. This area will be planted in the November work party. There will be enough people there to do some clean up first.
  5. Extensive planting happened in the seeps at the eastern edge of the Central Valley during the October work party.
  6. 2015 plans: Forest stewards and work parties will monitor cleared areas to prevent invasive resurgence and provide after care as/if necessary.

91st St. Slope:

  1. In addition to the clearing mentioned above, a thicket of laurel was limbed by forest stewards early in the summer.
  2. This thicket was given both E-Z-Ject and cut and paint treatments to kill the laurel.
  3. Forest stewards will monitor this laurel thicket.

Knotweed Hill (Knotweed Hill is located at the border of the North Slope and the 91st St. Slope HMUs.)

  1. Knotweed Hill was treated for knotweed in the summer of 2014.
  2. There was some watering of the upland plants in the summer, but it has received no other attention.
  3. It needs to be monitored for invasive resurgence and any after care.

Headwaters Bowl (“HWB”):

  1. The narrow, western section of the HWB received about half the plants from the October work party. Some plants were put into bowl section as well.
  2. The area between the north side of the streambank and the main trail received a lot of clearing in 2013 from EarthCorps and Parks Dept. contract crew. These cleared areas need to be regularly inspected to prevent resurgence and to provide after care for plants installed in 2013.
  3. An area of the HWB that has received little attention so far was transected by two forest stewards (Luke and Drexie) in October. We started at the Two Cedars area (about 150 feet down the main trail) and crossed the HWB just west of a line of old Alnus rubra (red alder).
    • North of the stream, we saw a large number of small Vaccinium parvifolium (red huckleberry). It was unclear whether they were planted or volunteers.
    • Immediately south of the stream crossing the soil was very wet and marshy. There were many large Lysichiton americanum (skunk cabbage) leaves dying back. There was also evidence of Equisetum arvense (horsetail) from earlier in the season.
    • Further south of the stream crossing, the ground rose slightly and was dryer. At that point, the Rubus spectabilis (salmonberry) became very thick.
    • There was some Polystichum munitum (sword fern) and Athyrium filix femina (lady fern), but ground cover in general was relatively sparse.
    • There was a thicket of Ribes bracteosum (stink currant) at the border of the wet and dry areas.
    • At the base of the south slope we stopped to write down what we’d seen so far. In addition to the already mentioned plants, there were:
      • Emergent (that is, taller than the shrub layer) Acer macrophyllum (big leaf maple) and Alnus rubra (red alder).
      • Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubens (red elderberry) thicket.
      • Sorbus aucuparia, European ash.
      • An apparently dead Populus balsamifera (cottonwood) stake from 2012.
    • Going up the south slope to the houses, we saw:
      • Sword fern as dominant groundcover.
      • Occasional salmonberry, but fairly isolated and lower on the slope. Otherwise, no shrub layer to speak of.
      • Big leaf maple trees dominant towards the middle of the slope, with conifers along the rim (we weren’t able to identify the conifers from that distance).
    • We continued east along the base of the south slope towards the 24th Ave. Slope.
      • Outside of the tree cover, the ivy was very dense, bushy, and had many many seed pods.
      • There were a couple small Thuja plicata (Western red-cedar) that Tad and Luke had liberated from salmonberry in 2012; Luke and Drexie liberated them again.
      • The base of the 24th Ave. rim was dominated by Hedera helix (English ivy), with Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) growing up between it. There was no shrub layer and no regenerating trees.
      • The culvert that empties into the park from the corner of the 24th Ave. slope and the south slope has gouged a deep channel. There is a lot of construction rubble in the channel, but also some large garbage (garbage cans, tires, etc.) that should be removed. This is on private property, but if at all possible it should get treated with some rip rap. The channel is still carved farther down, and at the base of the slope and in the flat area it can receive fascines or woody debris.
  4. For 2015, we will work with the Parks Department to determine what can be the scope of volunteer work in the private property areas of the HWB, and then contact the neighbors to get permission for that work.

October Work Party Report

The October work party for Friends of North Beach Park was, once again, a tremendous success. The weather cooperated: it was raining in the morning, but during the work party itself, there were even occasional sunbreaks. It didn’t start raining again until we were safely back home.

We were joined this time by about eleven volunteers from the North Seattle College iCARE program. The students worked hard and well and with the guidance of the forest stewards, we got 450 plants into the ground, which were:

The list

Those are all wetland obligate (they have to live in a wetland) or facultative wetland plants (they prefer wetland environments, but about a third of the time they can be found in drier spots). The Carex amplifolia and Glyceria elata have been seen growing in isolated patches in North Beach Park, but the C. stipata has not been seen in the park at all. The other three have been planted during restoration in small quantities. None of the plants have been seen growing or have been planted near where they were planted Saturday, which will make monitoring of the project in the spring and summer easy.

Julie sorted them into five buckets, 10 or 20 per bucket.

Sorting

The five buckets were to correspond with five areas for receiving the plants. All the plants got put in where they were intended, and we had some extras to spread around.

Working in a seep

Above, we see Loren (bareheaded, in black jacket to the left) and Drexie (kneeling in purple jacket to the right) leading a group of the North Seattle students in planting. They’re working in a seep that wasn’t in the original planting plan, but I was really glad to see get something put into it.

Duckboards

The photo above shows Doug leading other students in planting. They’re standing on “duckboards,” a technical term for sheets of plywood (in this case, just particle board) that you can pick up and move around to avoid churning up the soil of a wetland and breaking the structure. The leaf-fall makes it a little less obvious, but the area they’re about to work in is bare soil, the result of a new shift in the water flow.

Everything went smoothly enough that we were actually done early. Here’s the group picture:

The victorioous crew!

Doug had gone back into the park to plant one straggler. In the back we see Morry on the left, with Drexie, Loren, and Tad in the back center. Julie is kneeling in the front. Everyone else is from North Seattle.

These plants were purchased as partial fulfillment of a stewardship grant from the Central Puget Sound chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society. As I said above, these are all plants that are under-represented in North Beach Park or have not yet been observed growing there. Planting them in such great quantities will greatly increase the ecological diversity of North Beach Park at the herbaceous level, and will help stabilize the seeps against erosion.

As usual, there are a few more pictures on Flickr. And there are even some pictures on Facebook, posted by the iCare coordinator.