Restoration Program helps LFP landowners and the environment

Saturday, June 4, 2016

McAleer Creek is the stream that runs along NE Perkins Way and NE 180th,
 and through Animal Acres Park to Lake Washington.
Photo courtesy LFP Stewardship Foundation

From the Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation

Property owners along McAleer Creek in Lake Forest Park are taking tremendous steps toward restoring their forested hillside slopes and streambank.

Once a beautiful cedar and mixed-conifer forest, the drainage is now a hodgepodge of alder and big leaf maple which grew after the heavy logging of this area in the late 1800s to early 1900s. These trees are now coming to the end of their natural life cycle and falling.

Invasive species such as English ivy and Himalayan blackberry have choked out native trees and shrubs that would have reclaimed this forest.

It is quite common in the winter to have Perkins Way closed while fallen alders are cleared. Luckily no one has been injured with these events though clearly more trees are due to fail and fall. 

McAleer Creek drainage is home to many birds, salmon, coyote, and deer. Bear have occasionally been sighted here. Bald Eagles, great blue heron, and kingfishers are seen looking for fish in the creek. Degradation of the habitat is a concern as well as erosion and loss of trees.

The Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation canvassed streamside landowners for interest and introduced them to a great King Conservation District (KCD) restoration program.

The KCD chips in 90% of the cost, with the remaining matching funds provided by the landowner. Thus far several properties have had their invasive species, English ivy and Himalayan blackberry removed and replanted with native conifers, ferns, and shrubs. 

Between 182nd and 33rd NE you will see slopes on the creek side now dotted with blue plant protector sheaths where native plants are being established. This spring’s new growth has obscured it some, but if you look closely you will also notice erosion control material and the absence of ivy and blackberry on these slopes.

Blue plant protector sheaths mark where native plants are being established.
Photo courtesy LFP Stewardship Foundation

In the next fall planting season another property along the drainage on the creek side will be scheduled for restoration. Then, it is our hope in 2017 reforestation efforts will start on the north side of Perkins Way. The KCD program is an amazing deal for property owners. Not only do property owners cover just 10% of the project costs, the KCD also actively monitors the slopes for the next three years to ensure success. The KCD works with the hearty Washington Conservation Corps who actually do this hard work on these slopes.

Kudos to these landowners for proactive stewardship of their properties in this step to restoring a vibrant native forest, improving habitat for salmon and other wildlife, and all of us who travel Perkins ravine.  

If you are interested in learning more about this project or the King Conservation District, please contact the LFP Stewardship Foundation.


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