Sometimes in life, you just get lucky and people walk into your life, into your organization and give tremendous things. The Friends is fortunate to have many people who fit that bill, one in particular is Teri Lenfest, West Hylebos guide emeritus, foe of ivy and blackberry everywhere, and blogger extraordinaire.
If you haven't checked her postings on Blog from the Bog, do yourself a favor and get over there right now. Teri has captured a little bit of Spring in the West Hylebos and unleashed it on the World Wide Web - I love the baby robins! Thanks, Teri, for reminding me to get out to the West Hylebos this weekend and enjoy the wonder of nature!
Sunday afternoon I had the opportunity to take a tour through parts of Fife's Wapato Creek with Fife Mayor Barry Johnson, who has been a strong voice for conservation on the Wapato system. We were fortunate to have very nice, even sunny weather during our afternoon tour.
While Wapato Creek has been hammered by development, I'm impressed with the opportunities for restoration that are still available. The City of Fife has done a good job in recent years of looking for restoration opportunities and beginning to set aside properties for future work. I'm hopeful that we can partner with the city to develop some of these sites for restoration.
We will be partnering with the city this fall on a one-day planting project along the creek. We'll have more details on that later in the summer. I expect that effort will be the beginning of a larger project. Conservation is like a tree, if you plant the seed, it will attempt to grow. This first planting project is the seed!
I also learned about a cool park the city recently built, called Wedge Park. It's right alongside Valley Avenue at 28th St. E. and abuts the Wapato. (I'm thinking this might be a future project site). Barry advocated the inclusion of pervious paver blocks at the parking lot to serve as a model for Low Impact Development. This is similar to what the Friends and the City of Federal Way did at the West Hylebos Wetlands parking lot (though we used pervious pavement, rather than the paver blocks). It's refreshing to hear public officials like Barry who are getting out in front of the stormwater issue and advocating for leading edge techniques like this.
In past bloggings I've mentioned a big project coming up on the Lower Hylebos. As we're actually approaching the project's construction (this summer) I can finally point you to a site with some information and pictures.
This is a big one, isn't it?!
The mouth of Hylebos Creek is being restored in a major way. Across the creek, Wildlands completed a 7-acre restoration with lots of off-channel habitat and mudflats. When the Port's project is finished there will be a significant new mosaic of riparian, wetland and upland habitat for the creek's denizens.
Good job to the Port on this one! If you see a Port Commissioner, tell 'em you love the Hylebos project.
Today marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week. I can't thank enough the thousands of individuals - people from all walks of life across and around the Hylebos Watershed - who have helped make this incredible story of conservation success.
Just this year alone, volunteers have helped us reclaim more than 3 acres of Dumas Bay forest from English ivy and save 747 individual trees.
I've heard it said that volunteers are unpaid, not because their work is not worth anything, but rather because their work is priceless. The work of the Hylebos is more than just pulling ivy from trees, or planting trees in the ground. It's building a community of shared value and purpose for conservation, an identity for our cities as keeping natural areas as critical parts of the community.
Volunteers keep conservation rocking in the community and keeps clean water and green trees an essential element of where we live.
And, a little something different. I won't explain how this happened, but I was web-surfing and stumbled my way onto this posting of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven. I hadn't read the poem for many, many years and I relished a new reading. Following the path of Poe's poetry as he tells the forlorn, unsettling story of a man and his late-night encounter with an unnatural visitor is a joy and a trip.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over
many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-- While I nodded,
nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently
rapping, rapping at my chamber door. "'Tis some visiter," I muttered,
"tapping at my chamber door-- Only this and
No otters or beavers today - the topic is habitat preservation. Lynda Mapes reports on a remarkable preservation victory on the Olympic Peninsula where 7,000 acres of the Hoh River have been purchased, and set aside for permanent protection in a blockbuster $11 million project.
Sure, it's a ways away from the Hylebos, but this may be a site you visit one day; I know that I will. This is the type of project approach we take in preservation; finding ways to achieve conservation values while meeting other important community values. The Hoh deal will not only protect the landscape, but also preserves local community access.
As I write this, several preservation projects are underway in the Hylebos that will hopefully lead to win-win conservation victories in the future. Like the Hoh, most habitat acquisition projects take several years of discussion with landowners, developing partnerships and sewing together patches of funding.
Teri Lenfest is doing an incredible job at the Blog from the Bog, posting her observations, thoughts and photos of goings on in the West Hylebos Wetland. Teri has a tendency to jump in with both feet, so that'll explain the four substantive posts published yesterday. It's well worthwhile jumping over there to read what Teri has to say.
Her comments on the pros and cons of increased access to the park with the new boardwalk point up a challenging trade-off in making delicate natural like the West Hylebos accessible to a broader public.
What do you think? I'll try to post some thoughts on this topic as well in the next day or so.
In the meantime, thanks for all you're doing, Teri, to keep the Blog from the Bog interesting and accessible!