Friends of North Beach Park January Work Party Announcement

Join Friends of North Beach Park for the wrap up of the planting season on Saturday, January 23, 2016. We’ll meet at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW. The work party will run from 9 a.m. to noon, rain or shine.

We’ll be planting at the main stream crossing and streamside up and down from that point. We’ll also be transporting some mulch down to the planting areas. The plants we’ll be planting have been provided by Green Seattle Partnership and the Washington Native Plant Society.

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers than can get dirty (likely very dirty) and closed-toe, waterproof shoes. Rain gear will be helpful; expect late-January weather, whatever that means these days. Even in cold weather, it’s a good idea to bring some water and a snack. Note there are no facilities at the park.

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

All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (link next to the sign-up form). The #48 and #40 buses stop a few blocks south of the park; check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th Ave.

As always, 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’re looking for something on Martin Luther King Day, there are a number of special events all over the city.

If you can’t join Friends of North Beach Park in January, save the date for one of our upcoming work parties: February 27, March 26, or April 23. All work parties are 9 a.m. to noon, and will meet at the main entrance to the park, 90th St. and 24th Ave. NW.

Christmas Tree Disposal

Please DO NOT dispose of your Christmas Tree in North Beach Park or any other greenspace or natural area. The tree may have been treated with flame retardant chemicals or other additives that will decrease the quality of the greenspace. The City of Seattle will pick up Christmas Trees until January 31; here are the directions. In fact, it would take less effort to dispose of the tree correctly than to dump it. Yard waste dumping, of any type, is not helpful to greenspaces or natural areas, and contributes to or worsens the problem with invasive species.

Friends of North Beach Park had been actively restoring the North Beach Park ravine since April, 2011; this is considered one of the more successful restoration projects in Seattle. We are composed of volunteers and friends from the Ballard, Crown Hill, North Beach, and Olympic Manor neighborhoods. We have regular work parties on the fourth Saturday of the month, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. January 23 will see us planting native trees and shrubs that are under-represented in the park. All are welcome to join us, please register at the link above or write to lukemcguff [at] yahoo [dot] com for further information.

If you want to have your Christmas tree contribute to restoration projects, you can participate in Swanson’s Trees for Salmon program next year: Salmon Says: “Buy A Living Christmas Tree!.” If a living tree is a little out of your reach, there are medallions you can buy at Swanson’s that will donate restoration plants to local parks (Carkeek Park and King County Parks). (NOTE: Friends of North Beach Park has received plants from this program in the past, but is not participating this year.)

Thanks! We look forward to seeing you in the ravine!

November Work Party at North Beach Park

The weather was crisp, with frost riming the grass and leaves in the park. Good work kept us warm, though, and the sun shone through the thinning canopy to help.

Thirteen people were Friends of North Beach Park Saturday, ranging in age from 8 to 80 and from completely new participants to those who have been to every work party (a better record than I have, in fact).

The main goal of the day was to install plants. Some areas had been cleared by volunteers, and other areas had been cleared… by trees falling. In fact, in the last week and a half, two trees have fallen in North Beach Park, an alder and a big leaf maple.

This picture shows two fallen alder trees. The more recent one is in the center of the picture.

Two fallen alder trees. The more recent one is in the center of the picture.

This picture looks along the fallen maple trunk, from the root ball towards the crown.

Looking along the fallen maple trunk, from the root ball towards the crown. In the foreground are two replacement trees, a big leaf maple and a grand fir.

A fallen tree is an important part of the forest ecosystem, and the deciduous trees in North Beach Park are at the end of their life spans. The problem is that there aren’t enough young trees to take over the canopy. North Beach Park is lucky in that we do have younger deciduous and coniferous trees (ranging from saplings up to mid-canopy), but if we hadn’t started restoring it, the forest would be in serious danger. The canopy gaps create light cones to the forest floor; in a healthy forest, this would create a great burst of energy for the next generation of trees. However, in an urban forest, the danger is that the invasive plants will really take over.

The forest floor of North Beach Park is in better shape than it was when we started. There are nearly two thousand plants installed, ranging from trees to groundcover. These will benefit from the new light from the canopy gap, and the nutrients put into the soil by the decaying wood.

Today, in fact, we planted two trees at the base of the new falls and some falls from last year: a big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) and a grand fir (Abies grandis). This combination went into at least three places. We also planted a number of shrubs, groundcover, and wetland plants, including several that are underrepresented or were nonexistent in the park before restoration.

In all, we planted nearly two hundred plants. The table below lists what we planted.

  Genus Species   Common Name
Abies grandis grand fir
Acer macrophyllum bigleaf maple
Amelanchier alnifolia serviceberry
Asarum caudatum wild ginger
Dicentra formosa Pacific bleeding heart
Gaultheria shallon salal
Juncus acuminatus tapertip rush
Mahonia nervosa low Oregon-grape
Myrica californica Pacific wax myrtle
Petasites frigidus coltsfoot
Prunus emarginata var. mollis bitter cherry
Tiarella trifoliata threeleaf foamflower
Nicole, Morry, Julie, Kirstie, and Lina (with Jesse nearby) work in the Central Valley. Can you find them all?

Nicole, Morry, Julie, Kirstie, and Lina (with Jesse nearby) work in the Central Valley. Can you find them all?

Jesse found a bug!

Jesse found a bug!

The stalwart crew!

The stalwart crew!

Our next workparty will be January 23, 2016. We’ll be doing a lot of planting then, too, if you want to join us.

November Work Party!

Join Friends of North Beach Park for some post-Thanksgiving green calories on Saturday, November 28, 2015. We’ll meet at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW. The work party will run from 9 a.m. to noon, rain or shine.

We’ll be planting in different areas in the main body of the park. The plants we have range from small groundcover to giant conifers (well, they will be giant conifers in a couple decades). We will also transport mulch down to the sites using wheelbarrows and buckets.

Low Oregon-grape (Mahonia nervosa), salal (Gaultheria shallon), wild ginger (Asarum caudatum), and Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa).

Low Oregon-grape (Mahonia nervosa), salal (Gaultheria shallon), wild ginger (Asarum caudatum), and Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa).

Here is a complete list:

Genus Species
Common Name
Number
Abies grandis grand fir
10
Acer macrophyllum bigleaf maple
10
Amelanchier alnifolia serviceberry
9
Asarum caudatum wild ginger
20
Blechnum spicant deer fern
30
Dicentra formosa Pacific bleeding heart
20
Gaultheria shallon salal
25
Juncus acuminatus tapertip rush
25
Myrica californica Pacific wax myrtle
15
Petasites frigidus coltsfoot
10
Prunus emarginata var. mollis bitter cherry
10
Tiarella trifoliata threeleaf foamflower
20
   
204

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers that can get dirty. Rain gear will be helpful; expect late-November weather, whatever that means these days. Even in cool weather, it’s a good idea to bring some water and a snack.

Please sign up in advance at the Green Seattle Partnership Cedar website so we know you’re coming.

All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (link next to the sign-up form). The #48 and #40 buses stop a few blocks south of the park; check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th Ave.

Can’t make the work party? Help out the Green Seattle Partnership by taking the 20 Year Plan Update Community Survey. In order to guide the update to the GSP 20 Year Strategic Plan, we have a NEW survey that is targeted towards regular volunteers and/or non-volunteers. This survey is looking to gather information on how GSP can support volunteerism citywide.

Here is some more on the Green Seattle 10 Year Update.

And as always, 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 about the work party or Friends of North Beach Park, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com.

October Work Party Report!

Well, it was another great work party with the Friends of North Beach Park, accompanied by a number of UW students in the ESRM 100 class (Environmental Science and Resource Management). We all did a lot of great work, accomplishing a lot in a short time (and finishing up just as the sprinkles started).

An important beginning to a successful work party: Make sure everyone is registered!

An important beginning to a successful work party: Make sure everyone is registered!

Original plans — to transplant some wetland trees and shrubs from a nearby parking strip — had to be put on hold because the plants were still too vigorous, due to the warm, dry fall. So we constructed some trailside erosion control instead, and cleaned up an area where a tree had fallen last winter.

I got so excited, in fact, that a lot of the pictures I took were blurry. Oh well.

The trailside erosion control was done near the entrance to the park, in an area called the Headwaters Bowl. There are places where the water runs off the side of the trail down the slope, and is starting to form dips in the trailside down to the slope.

We brought a lot of fallen tree branches up from a lower slope, cut them to size, and laid them alongside the trail.

The cut branches were laid along side the trail in semi-neat rows. Stakes were put in on the slope-side of the branch piles.

The cut branches were laid along side the trail in semi-neat rows. Stakes were put in on the slope-side of the branch piles.

After the branches were in place, we staked them for support and added wattles (burlap sacks filled with mulch) to help slow down the water.

Bagging mulch to make wattles.

Bagging mulch to make wattles.

The work stretched for a couple hundred feet along the trail. Notice also the raking that happened on the trail — it’s a good idea to keep organic matter off a trail if possible.

Wattles alongside the trail.

Wattles alongside the trail.

We were able to split into two work groups. The second group cleared the area where a large maple had fallen last winter, cutting the branches up into brush, and setting some aside to be used as ivy platform logs. (Unfortunately, those were some of the blurry pictures.)

Here is the group photo of all the hard workers.

All the participants at the Friends of North Beach Park work party.

All the participants at the Friends of North Beach Park work party.


Thank you everyone for your hard work!

The students were evenly split between being from China and South Korea. Their majors included biology, math, economics, and sociology.

I thought it would be interesting to think about how these various majors could find application in ecological restoration. Biology is easy, of course: one can look very specifically at, say, how different species of mycorrhizae affect the nitrogen-fixing root nodules of alder trees, or the interaction of plant communities at the landscape level. For economics, a lot of people are looking into how to quantify “ecological services” — how can we calculate the amount of stormwater a healthy urban forest absorbs, and how much does that save us in terms of water processing or pollution of our larger bodies of water? How do we calculate the value of volunteerism? Sociologists look at how and why people volunteer, how we can attract more volunteers, and so on. I don’t know of anyone doing research in mathematics applied to ecological restoration, but math is certainly a tool used throughout a restoration project, whether calculating the stresses on a slope, the flow through a stream, or how to achieve specific planting densities in particular areas.

October Work Party

Join Friends of North Beach Park for the start of fall planting on Saturday, October 24, 2015, from 9 a.m. to noon. We’ll meet at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW, rain or shine.

We’ll be planting in two areas in the main body of the park, near the headwaters and further along the stream. Both areas will require some clean up. We will also transport mulch down to the sites using wheelbarrows and buckets.

We love the smell of fresh mulch in the morning.

We love the smell of fresh mulch in the morning.

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers than can get dirty. Rain gear will be helpful; expect late-October weather, whatever that means these days. Even in cool weather, it’s a good idea to bring some water and a snack.

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

All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must sign and bring a waiver (link next to the sign-up form). The #48 and #40 buses stop a few blocks south of the park; check Metro for details. Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th Ave.

If you can’t join us in October, save the date for November 28th. Bring (or escape!) the family and work off some of those Thanksgiving calories. And give thanks that this little ravine graces our corner of Seattle.

As always, 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.

June Work Party with Friends of North Beach Park

It’s coming up soon! Here are the details:

The June work party of Friends of North Beach Park will happen on Saturday, June 27, 2015. The location will be the South Plateau, at 88th St. and 27th Ave NW. The work party will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Your host will be Drexie Malone.

We’ll be providing after care to the native plants reintroduced to the South Plateau in the last couple years. This will include removing competing plants that can hinder their growth or completely choke them out.

We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Please wear weather appropriate layers than can get dirty. The temperature is currently forecast to be in the upper 80s, so please be sure to bring plenty of cold water and take frequent rest breaks. It would help to drink some extra water before heading to the park, as well as bringing extra with you. Because of the presence of stinging nettle, long-sleeved t-shirts and long pants are recommended. Having said all that, the South Plateau is very shady and the work planned is not very strenuous.

To get to the South Plateau: From the intersection of 24th Ave NW and NW 85th St., head west on 85th St (Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church will be on your right). At the intersection of 26th Ave and 85th St., turn right (North). Drive north on 26th Ave. for a long block until the intersection with 88th St., which will be on your left. Turn left onto 88th St. and look for parking. The entrance to the South Plateau is about half a block north on 27th Ave. The #48 bus line stops at 85th and 26th; the #40 bus line stops at 85th and 24th. Check http://metro.kingcounty.gov/#plan-a-trip for exact details.

If you have any questions about the work party or Friends of North Beach Park, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com for further information.

GiveBIG for North Beach Park — today!

When we began working on North Beach Park, there were numerous places where ivy formed a monoculture on the ground. Looking back, we think about 40% of the trees had ivy up into their crown.

Today, the only places with ivy monocultures are areas that are too steep for anyone but professional crews to work. And Less than 5% of the trees have ivy up into their crowns. In many places of the park, a new generation of trees and shrubs are establishing and in a few years they will become luxurious groves of saplings, shrubs, and groundcover. We’ve seen native plants spring back after invasive removal.

However, there is still plenty of work to be done to restore North Beach Park. There is ivy, blackberry, holly, laurel and bindweed to remove. The alder and big leaf maple trees are at the end of their normal lifespan, and falling at about the rate of three to five a year. This makes it imperative that we keep working to establish a healthy, mixed conifer-deciduous urban forest.

Your donation today, as part of Give BIG, will help us continue this important restoration work. Your generous donation would help us buy more plants and replace tools that are falling apart. Even if you’ve already contributed to another organization, $10 or $15 for Friends of North Beach Park will be a tremendous help for us.

Please donate at this link: The Seattle Foundation | Friends of North Beach Park today. The Seattle Foundation will stretch a portion of your donation. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated and put to good use.

I and all the Friends of North Beach Park thank you.

March Work party Announcement!

Whew — the planting is all done! We’d like to give a big shout-out once again to the Washington Native Plant Society for the Stewardship Grant that made all this planting possible, to Doug Gresham for all his technical advice, and to ALL the people who helped on site with the planting. Friends of North Beach Park thanks you, the birds thank you, and future generations, if we’re lucky, will think everything looks untouched by human hands.

Now it’s time to move on… to preparing for next fall’s planting!

On Saturday, March 28th, we’ll start the invasive removal that’s an important part of restoration. Maybe not as much fun as planting, but you have to make room, right?

We will meet at 9 a.m. at the main entrance to the park at 24th Ave. NW and NW 90th St. The work party will last until noon. We will likely need to transport some mulch into the park.

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.

If you can’t join us in March, save the date for April 25th. Sign up here.

As always, 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.

And if you’re interested in sustainable cities, and some of the transportation issues facing Seattle, please take a few minutes to take this SDOT survey. It relates to the Move Seattle levy coming up this fall, and has some questions relating to the urban forest.

If you have any questions about the work party or Friends of North Beach Park, feel free to write lukemcguff@yahoo.com for further information.

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.