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!

October
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.

November
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.

January
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

February
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.

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!
Assemblage

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.
Lunch

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.)

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!

Stakeholders

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

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.

Adolescents

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.

Monday and Saturday

Two reports this week! Forgot to download the Monday pictures so here they are now.

On Monday we explored two habitat management units that are at the far northern end of the park, and consequently not very well explored. We also got a good estimate of canopy cover and of that what was conifer and what deciduous.

On the way there, though, we saw that someone had made a tasty snack of a tree planted last spring:
Herbivory

It’s the clean, angular cut that is a sign of mountain beaver (which don’t live on mountains and aren’t beavers). The other trees planted at the same time were doing well, so maybe it wasn’t that tasty after all.

The areas we were exploring were the 92nd St. Wetlands and Fletcher’s Slope, which you can see on the map below:

Source: Green Seattle Partnership Reference map on ArcGIS.com

Source: Green Seattle Partnership Reference map on ArcGIS.com


(Okay, that’s a little big, but the other size the software offered was too small.)

The green lines are the park boundaries, and the red lines are the HMU boundaries. The short, horizontal red line just below the center of the picture is a stream crossing. The social trail ends just north of there, but the park continues on for another couple hundred feet. That’s what we were exploring Monday.

Fletcher's Slope platform
We saw this platform — what is it? Sleeping platform? Somebody’s home? Camping spot for kid’s sleep out? Whoever built it did a good job.

The reason for the exploration was to get some missing information for the MEH project and restoration management plan. We found out what we needed to know. But let’s skip ahead to Saturday because –

Coyote!
Coyote!

You can see it above, in the middle of the image, but quite a ways from me. Looking very intently into the park — “I just want to go home after a night of stealing cat food.” It very patiently waited while I took a couple pictures. Here’s the other one.

Coyote!
(I just realized I got so excited to post the coyote pictures I never processed them. Oh well.)

I was hoping to get one more, but looked down at the camera for a couple seconds and when I looked up, the coyote had vanished.

Really happy about that, I hope it eats some of the mountain beaver.

The work party today was just three people — “The few, the proud… or at least the few,” as Morry said. August work parties are usually our least-attended. If it’s good weather, everybody wants to get out of town because OMG SUMMER’S ALMOST OVER. If it’s bad weather, they want to sit inside and sulk because a possible good weekend is wasted.

In any case, we got some good work done. We revisited an area that had been cleared of a blackberry monoculture in the winter. Well, really clearing the blackberry monoculture and then letter everything sit for a couple months sharply increased the diversity. Unfortunately, it was all invasives or undesired native plants. But we worked among the weeds and brought down four wheelbarrows of mulch, so we did some good.

Here is an “after” picture:
"After" Picture

The next work party will by Saturday, September 27. It’s at a different location, the South Plateau, and a different time, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We’ll be joined by students from Seattle Pacific University on their CityQuest program. Hope you can join us!

Hello Again

I’ve just finished my MEH degree at the University of Washington, and hope to be able to start blogging here more frequently.

This began as a school project for Antioch, and paradoxically, school has interrupted it frequently.

We’re going to start with a series of posts on Mondays based on the final product of my time at the UW, a “Restoration Management Plan for North Beach Park.” I probably won’t post the whole thing here, but will post large chunks of it.

I also hope and plan to start reading books about restoration and stewardship, greening and wilding cities, and posting reviews here. Also, shorter responses to papers about these subjects.

And of course, news and announcements about North Beach Park as they happen.

Thank you to all who read this!

August work party already?!?!?!?

Apologies for the short notice, but the time for the August work party is already upon us.

The August work party is this Saturday, August 23, from 9 a.m. to Noon. We’ll work in an area that was cleared last winter, removing any weeds that have returned, mulching, and getting ready for the planting that will happen in November.

Please join us, the work is always fun and it’s great to see the improvements in this hidden little park.

Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and sturdy, closed shoes. Even if it’s warm, long sleeves will help protect a little against nettles and blackberries. We’ll provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack if you need them, but there are no facilities at the park.

Parking is available on 90th St. east of 24th, and on 24th north of 90th. The #61 bus runs past the park, and the #s 48 and 40 stop a few blocks away. Check Metro for details.

Please register so we can make our plans. And, as always, if you can’t attend a work party, please consider making a donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation. You’ll get a tax deduction for the donation, and all funds will be spent on restoration of the park. Click here to support North Beach Park.

Our September work party will happen on the 4th Saturday as usual (the 27th), but will be at a different time and location. We’ll be meeting at the South Plateau, at 27th Ave. and 88th St., and students from Seattle Pacific University on CityQuest will be joining us. The work party will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and have a lunch break.

Thank you, and we hope you’re enjoying your summer!

Art in the Garden 2014

For the third year in a row, Friends of North Beach Park have had a booth at Art in the Garden.

First Set Up
This year we had two tables instead of just one. That made for a much nicer display, I think.

This was our most successful year so far, in terms of getting people to sign up for our email list. I’ve already sent out a “welcome” email, and none of them bounced, so I guess I read all the addresses correctly and nobody spoofed me. Score!

We love Art in the Garden because we always meet people who live near the park, grew up near it, have seen it before and after restoration began. We also meet people who say “Oh, I didn’t know that was a park! I’ll have to check it out!” It’s great not to just get positive feedback, but to have the possibility of introducing people to such a great little urban escape.

The "main table"
The table we sat behind.

The second table
The other table. The book that people picked up most frequently was “Seattle Geographies.”

Our Celebrity Spokesmodel!
Our Celebrity Spokesmodel!

Julie got a bouquet of flowers for our booth. Art in the Garden is a fundraiser for the Ballard P-Patch, and this year they had a bouquet table with fresh-cut flowers from the p-patch itself. They were all very pretty!

The Seattle Santa!
The Seattle Santa

We had a surprise drop-in visit from Santa! Even he’s feeling the economic pinch, he’s had to take a summer job as a garden gnome.

After things slowed down in the mid-afternoon, I took a walk through the garden and took several photos of flowers and vegetables.

Garden Shots
Blooms!

Because of the warm weather this summer, everything was growing like gangbusters. You can see the whole set of photos on Flickr.

Will we do it again next year? Of course! Although… well, as tasty as it all was… we’ll probably do a better job of avoiding the food trucks. We love them a little too much!

July Workparty Report

Sometimes, a small work party is just the thing.

Four volunteers from OneBrick Seattle joined three Friends of North Beach Park for a little mid-summer aftercare watering for plants that we’ve planted in the last couple years.

This might seem paradoxical, because aren’t “native” plants adapted to this weather, and able to survive the summer with no problem? That’s true of well-established plants, getting the care one gives a garden. However, giving a plant even a gallon a week of some water can help it survive the worst of the summer drought, and establish better in the following winter. A gallon might not seem like much, but pouring it directly onto the root crown means very little is wasted.

And summer work parties are generally pretty small — who wants to spend a wonderful morning in the city, even in a forested park, when you could get out and about? So that’s a good time to do some watering and after care.

After Care
NB: The person is watering the fern, not the ivy. Just to be clear.

Here is (most of) the crew:
The Crew
That’s Morry in the back, Nan in the front, and then Kegan, Jon, and Mai Lin left to right. Nan, Kegan, Jon, and Mai Lin signed up for the work party via OneBrick Seattle. (Not in the picture is Julie, who had done about as much watering on her own as the rest of the crew put together.)

Friends of North Beach Park will be at Art in the Garden, on Saturday, August 2nd — next week! Stop by and say hello and talk to us about North Beach Park. We’ll have information about North Beach Park, what we’re working on, and our plans for the future. We’ll also have information from some of our supporting organizations.

Stop by to say hello, stick around for the art, the garden, the silent pie auction, and the food trucks! A very pleasant little neighborhood fair.

July Work Party Announcement and News

We hope you and yours are keeping cool and surviving the heat as well as possible.

Saturday, July 26th, 9 a.m.: The predictions were for a hot, dry El Nino summer and so far that’s exactly what we’re getting. We’re going to focus on watering and aftercare for the upland plants again this month. That means, as for June, we’ll be (carefully) getting buckets of water from the stream and watering plants along the rim and main trail. A great way to get some exercise in! (Unless it’s raining, then we’ll do something else.) Please sign up on Cedar so we can make our plans.

We meet, rain or shine, at the main entrance to the park, 24th Ave and 90th St. NW. Wear weather-appropriate layers that can get dirty and sturdy shoes or mud boots. Long sleeves and long pants are recommended, even in the hot weather. We provide tools, gloves, and guidance. Bring water and a snack as you need them but there are no facilities at the park. All ages and skill levels are welcome, but children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Parking is on 90th St., east of 24th Ave. The #61 bus stops across the street from the park, and the #40 and #48 stop at 85th and 24th; check Metro for details.

Save the date for upcoming workparties: August 23rd, September 27th (we’ll be joined by students from Seattle Pacific University CityQuest), and October 25th – hopefully it will be cooling off by then! All workparties are 9 a.m. to 12 noon and meet at the main entrance to the park (90th and 24th).

The Groundswell NW Open Space Inventory has been extended to the end of August. We’ve added a few places around North Beach Park, but we know there are plenty of others. Find out more at Ballard Open Space Plan. Or take the open space survey.

Can’t join us for a work party? You can always support our restoration efforts by making a tax-deductible donation to the Seattle Parks Foundation. All moneys donated will be used for the restoration of North Beach Park. Please visit their new and improved website at for more information. And check out their donor appreciation rewards!

Another great way to help — take a walk in the park! It’s a pretty refreshing break on these hot days.

See you in the woods!