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Letter to the City Council - Luke McGuff

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April 17th, 2014


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01:22 pm - Letter to the City Council

I am a forest steward with Green Seattle Partnership since 2011. I am also a regular voter, and have voted for everyone on the City Council.

English ivy is a serious problem in Seattle. It’s taking over our forests, preventing regeneration of seedlings and shortening the lives of our mature trees. It’s epidemic throughout our park system. With no action taken, it will seriously degrade our parks and make them not only unusable for people, but destroy their ability to provide many of the ecological services parks provide.
Unfortunately, the most effective way to remove ivy is by hand. This makes it prohibitively expensive to control – unless you have a large pool of dedicated volunteers, and a large organization that can provide city-wide logistical and material support.

Green Seattle Partnership forest stewards are that pool of volunteers. They provide hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of volunteer labor annually. The Green Seattle Partnership is that organization. It provides tools, training, resources, outreach assistance, and coordination of logistics. It helps avoid duplication of effort, and makes sure we’re all working towards the same goal with the same tools and techniques.

My work is concentrated in North Beach Park, a 9-acre ravine park in Northwest Seattle. Green Seattle Partnership was there from the start. We’re now entering our fourth year of restoration. More than 20% of the park has been cleared of invasive plants, and a couple thousand trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants have been planted. North Beach Park has become an education resource for everyone from elementary students in the school across the street to UW students in the Master of Environmental Horticulture program. It has become a source of community and friendship to the regular volunteers and those who drop in just once or twice. These work parties provide an important contact to local nature, and help to instill and improve our sense of place.

Multiply this across the city, from the largest to the smallest natural area, and you can see the tremendous impact that the Green Seattle Partnership has on Seattle.

As we remove invasive monocultures and restore native diversity, we’re doing more than making the parks prettier for the human users. We’re providing resources for all wild life, from larvae through adult insects and the birds that eat them. We’re improving the ecological services that the urban forest provides: the stormwater retention, the erosion control, and the water purification. We’re bringing back iconic plants, such as the Western Red Cedar, the Douglas-fir (and the more humble but no less iconic low Oregon-grape and Western skunk cabbage) – plants that say “this is the Pacific Northwest.”

To pay for all this work directly would cost many times the request of Green Seattle Partnership in the proposed Parks budget. This is why I say that the Green Seattle Partnership is not a luxury but a necessity, not a liability but a valid and rewarding investment.

Please restore the Green Seattle Partnership funding to the proposed parks budget.

Thank you for your time. I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.


 


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