Beaver Willows Nature Habitat
Last spring, at this time, a small Red Alder Stand at the south end of the park was completely consumed by invasive Himalayan Blackberry vines. The tangled mass choked the area from the forest floor to about five feet up the tree trunks. After clearing, native plants were posed to take a foot-hold in new found freedom to grow. A beautiful Slough Sedge patch is a happy example. Seen here blooming:
Very few Himalayan Blackberry vines grew back this year… a big blessing. We are focusing on invasive grass removal, and thinning of a few select Red Alders to encourage more native plant growth. Many natives are flourishing now that the competition with the blackberries is diminished. A beautiful Pacific Crabapple tree is a good example. The thinning of the Red Alder stand is also to promote growth of this tree, and several small starts that we received as part of a Native Plant Programs through our water utility, Clean Water Services.
Reed Canarygrass removal will be a Herculean task, however, small rewards along the way will provide the perks to keep going. In this set of photos one of the first perks is shown in the discovery of a Skunk Cabbage patch. The hand-pulling removal task is still underway, however, the skunk cabbage is clearly visible now. Prior to pulling, invasive grass was the dominant plant.
The little painted stakes in the next photos show where the Pacific Crabapple treelets are planted. We followed the Northwest Coastal indian tradition of planting the trees in a row. They are aligned with the existing tree.
Whether before, during, or after work in the park… the most celebrated benefit of creating a nature habitat area is the joy connected with observing the variety of wildlife species that either finds a home, visits, or simply passes through the natural space.
This morning I quietly waited in Beaver Willows to see who would visit. This collection of photographs reveals who some of my visitors were: