Well, it was another great work party with the Friends of North Beach Park, accompanied by a number of UW students in the ESRM 100 class (Environmental Science and Resource Management). We all did a lot of great work, accomplishing a lot in a short time (and finishing up just as the sprinkles started).
Original plans — to transplant some wetland trees and shrubs from a nearby parking strip — had to be put on hold because the plants were still too vigorous, due to the warm, dry fall. So we constructed some trailside erosion control instead, and cleaned up an area where a tree had fallen last winter.
I got so excited, in fact, that a lot of the pictures I took were blurry. Oh well.
The trailside erosion control was done near the entrance to the park, in an area called the Headwaters Bowl. There are places where the water runs off the side of the trail down the slope, and is starting to form dips in the trailside down to the slope.
We brought a lot of fallen tree branches up from a lower slope, cut them to size, and laid them alongside the trail.
After the branches were in place, we staked them for support and added wattles (burlap sacks filled with mulch) to help slow down the water.
The work stretched for a couple hundred feet along the trail. Notice also the raking that happened on the trail — it’s a good idea to keep organic matter off a trail if possible.
We were able to split into two work groups. The second group cleared the area where a large maple had fallen last winter, cutting the branches up into brush, and setting some aside to be used as ivy platform logs. (Unfortunately, those were some of the blurry pictures.)
Here is the group photo of all the hard workers.
Thank you everyone for your hard work!
The students were evenly split between being from China and South Korea. Their majors included biology, math, economics, and sociology.
I thought it would be interesting to think about how these various majors could find application in ecological restoration. Biology is easy, of course: one can look very specifically at, say, how different species of mycorrhizae affect the nitrogen-fixing root nodules of alder trees, or the interaction of plant communities at the landscape level. For economics, a lot of people are looking into how to quantify “ecological services” — how can we calculate the amount of stormwater a healthy urban forest absorbs, and how much does that save us in terms of water processing or pollution of our larger bodies of water? How do we calculate the value of volunteerism? Sociologists look at how and why people volunteer, how we can attract more volunteers, and so on. I don’t know of anyone doing research in mathematics applied to ecological restoration, but math is certainly a tool used throughout a restoration project, whether calculating the stresses on a slope, the flow through a stream, or how to achieve specific planting densities in particular areas.
Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.