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Restoration projects underway in Green River forest

Members of the Washington Conservation Corps move sand bags to be used in the water detention project in the Green River forest.
Members of the Washington Conservation Corps move sand bags to be used in the water detention project in the Green River forest.

If you have walked the trails recently you have noticed several forest restoration projects occurring in small areas in the school forest, including Paula’s Plantation. The large Douglas-fir are dying from a natural root fungus in the area known as laminated root rot and the undergrowth of brush is prohibiting seedlings from regenerating. The natural cycle would include fire or other disturbances to provide fresh soil and open space for seedlings. Since prescribed burning can’t be used in the school forest we are falling some dead standing Douglas-fir for removal and sale. Profits earned from the sale will pay for brush removal and new seedlings. Additional research with the use of potassium fertilizer to reduce laminated root rot mortality of Douglas-fir is also planned for these areas.

An ecologically-sound storm water detention system is being placed in Gator Creek near Gator Pond. Instead of clear-cutting two acres of forest and digging a traditional detention pond for storm water runoff from future construction projects, the use of Gator Creek and Pond for detention was approved by a number of agencies, given the minimal impact to the existing environment. The plan includes additional wetland plantings and creating small pockets of new wetland habitat.

No change to the existing trail system is proposed, although a small segment of the Foundation Trail in the vicinity is currently closed while restoration is occurring. A crew of Natural Resources students and a crew from Washington Conservation Corps are doing the work under the guidance of a wetlands consultant and landscape architect.