Restoration Lab


Each year, the lab portion of ESRM 473 involves doing a restoration project in the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA), which is a 75 acre natural laboratory adjacent to Lake Washington.  Over the past few years, the class has been involved in restoring about fifteen acres of the site.  Last summer new management guidelines were prepared for UBNA, and as part of the review of the guidelines there were conversations with members of the birding community about improving shorebird habitat. Draft management guidelines for UBNA are available online at the UW Botanic Garden website: <> This year’s project will be to restore shorebird habitat around Central Pond, primarily for migratory shorebirds and wading birds.

To prepare you for restoring shorebird habitat in UBNA, you should read some of the published literature about what constitutes shorebird habitat.  Some papers that were located by doing a topic search are available on the class workspace, at: If you find more pertinent papers, please let me know about them and I will try to get them posted.

Some of the ideas that have been discussed for improving shorebird habitat involve providing mudflats, removing vegetation in areas adjacent to Central Pond, and perhaps plowing or scarifying soil in some areas.  I think we are going to have to also differentiate between habitat for resident shorebirds (if there are such birds), and migratory birds.  We will have a couple of work sessions during class to talk about ideas for doing this kind of restoration work.

To do this work, the class will be divided up into teams of 5-6 persons, and each team will have their own area to restore. This work will be done outside of class time, and you will be responsible for organizing your own work parties. I will be available to provide you with equipment and supplies: we have a locked cage on the west side of Merrill Hall at the Center for Urban Horticulture (just east of UBNA), that has tools, buckets, gloves, wheel barrows, etc. for your use. If plants, soil, mulch, gravel, or any other supplies are going to be needed, groups must provide us with time to order them and have them delivered.


Kern Ewing