Official completion of Wetlands Meadow Project in Hillwood Park to be celebrated with dedication of informational signs

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Hillwood Community Network (HCN) will be celebrating the official completion of the Wetlands Meadow Project in Hillwood Park with the unveiling of three informational signs on September 14, 2019.

Please join us Saturday, September 14th at 10:00am in Hillwood Park for the ribbon cutting, or stop by Hillwood Park anytime to view the restored wetlands and read all about it on the beautiful informational signs. Hillwood Park is located on 3rd Ave NW and NW 190th, adjacent to Einstein Middle School.  

The three signs are the creation of Hillwood resident Jocelyn Curry, well known Shoreline artist, illustrator and calligrapher. She generously donated her time and talent for signs that cover park history, wetland restoration, and native plants. Funding construction of the signs was provided through a City of Shoreline Neighborhood Mini-Grant.

The original site was a soggy area of the park
with rainwater runoff finding the low spots
Photo by Boni Bieri

The restoration planning began in 2013 when Boni Biery (HCN Board Member) offered her time and experience to coordinate working with the King Conservation District, the City of Shoreline Parks Board, and the Shoreline Surface Water Utility. The first planting was in the fall of 2014 and the area was expanded through the fall of 2017. Maintenance, collecting, and controlling invasive plants will be ongoing.

The area was officially classified as a designated wetland as part of the Boeing Creek Basin Study in 2013. Hillwood Creek is called ephemeral because it is dry part of the year. The rest of the year it fills with rainwater runoff that originally drained into the area simply based on local geography.

Water runoff now enters and exits the park in pipes. Where the stream passes through Hillwood Park it has created a natural wetland that was planted in field turf, which was the norm when the park was established by King County. Unfortunately, turf creates an almost impermeable surface.

The goal of this project was to restore the function of the wetland to what it might have been a hundred years ago when the water was slowed and cleaned by the plants and soils in the park before traveling downstream to Boeing Creek and Puget Sound.

The same area, restored to a healthy wetland
Wetland plants that have now been introduced in the stream buffer will develop very deep roots that will pull water far down into the ground and help to meter the flow of water that currently rushes into Boeing Creek with each storm event. This will reduce the scouring of Boeing Creek and make it easier for future salmon to successfully spawn.

Most plants were provided at reduced prices in support of the park by local MsK Rare and Native Plant Nursery located in the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden, Obelisk Design a backyard nursery located in Shoreline, and Go Natives! Nursery a small retail native plant nursery in Richmond Beach. 

Others were donated by volunteers. Nearly all plants are native with only a few cultivars (a plant cultivated for desired characteristics) used to accommodate the need for low-growing varieties. Over 3,650 individual plants of 75 to 80 varieties were planted.

A collage commemorating the wetland restoration

Primary funding was through the use of environmental and neighborhood grants from the City of Shoreline, complemented by contributions from local merchants. Tools and fencing were donated by Home Depot, plant donations came from Fred Meyer, and Heritage Bank contributed cash.

Many hours of helping hands came from local volunteers, including Boy Scout Troop #350 and the Glitter Girls Camp Fire Group. Classes from Einstein Middle School helped to spread mulch and continue to do science testing of the water.

--Pam Cross


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