Restoration Projects in the Union Bay Natural Area

1991 - Lythrum salicaria removal, Shovelers Pond (K. Ewing)

Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) was removed from Shovelers Pond by hand. This invasive plant species is one that if not removed will produce thousands of seeds per plant that potentially would germinate during the following growing season and result in the producton of thousands more seeds. Therefore, complete removal of all Purple Loosestrife is recommended from the Union Bay Natural Area. Large plants were removed from Shovelers Pond in 1991 and continued manual and chemical removal has been required.

Current status: Loosestrife is controlled but not eradicated in Shovelers Pond.

1992 - Festuca idahoensis restoration, East Wahkiakum Lane (UHF 590)
Festuca idahoensis (Idaho Fescue) was planted along the north side of Wahkiakum Lane, nearer the eastern end trail head. Five circular plots were established. The existing weedy vegetation and the soil attached to their roots were removed from each of the five plots prior to the planting of the fescue seeds.

Current status: Removal of grass sod at the time of planting left topographic low spots which flooded in the winter, killing Idaho fescue. Lesson: Do not make depressions in thistight, poorly-drained soil.

1992 - Alnus rubra restoration, south end of Shovelers Pond (UHF 590)
Fifty Alnus rubra (Red Alder) trees were planted along the south side of Shovelers Pond. Red Alder were planted to provide vertical structure to Shovelers Pond. Red Alder is the most common wetland tree species in the Northwest. It typically is not found growing in open water, but is normally found in the moist soils adjacent to wetlands.

Current status: All trees died. Lesson: The soil around the wetlands is extremely poor. Red alder does not like very much flooding. Subsequent alder plantings around wetlands have met with some success when installation was at a higher elevation and less flooding occurred. Some upland alder plantings have been successful, but as the soils flood in winter, so do they dry out in summer. Deeper soil sites along ridges are recommended.

1993 - Symphoricarpos albus restoration, south of the Corporation Yard   (UHF 572, Winter)
Symphoricarpos albus (Snowberry) was planted to replace Rubus discolor (Himalayan Blackberry). Resprouting blackberry has required annual manual removal of canes from the snowberry patch.

Current status: The snowberry has become established and is thriving. Manual blackberry removal alone was attempted for two years but was not successful. Glyphosate application has proved much more effective in controlling blackberry.

1993 - Lythrum salicaria removal, Wetland C (M. Rains)
Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) was removed from Wetland C by hand. Wetland C is the smallest of the three wetlands south of Wahkiakum Lane that have been designated as the three boundary corners of the Shorebird Habitat Management Area for the Union Bay Natural Area.

Current status: Wetland C is being kept free of loosestrife by regular mechanical removal and is part of the shorebird zone.

1994 - Alnus rubra, Fraxinus latifolia, and sedge species restoration, Shovelers Pond (UHF 572, Winter)
Alnus rubra (Red Alder), Fraxinus latifolia (Oregon Ash), Carex spp.(Sedges), and Scirpus spp. (Bullrushes) were planted throughout Shovelers Pond. These species add to the wetland diversity of the pond and aid in the further establishment of native wetland plants, in addition to reducing the ability of non-native, weedy species to become established.

Current status: Oregon ash has successfully established, though the environment is stressful. One red alder has survived. Some cornus, some sedges are surviving in more mesic areas. Black cottonwood volunteers are establishing rapidly.

1994 - Festuca idahoensis research plots, East Wahkiakum Lane   (K. Ewing and L. Zemke, May)
1450 (4 m2 ) research plots were installed to determine the effects of (1) burning, (2) soil amendment, and (3) organic matter removal on biomass production/growth of Festuca idahoensis (Idaho Fescue). 800 plots were installed by K. Ewing (seed material obtained from Mima Mounds site near Olympia) and 650 plots were installed by L. Zemke (seed material obtained from a commercial seed supplier; Grasslands West). Each plot consists of 16 bunches of Idaho Fescue. 60-80% of K. Ewing’s plots have survived.

Current status: Over half of the initially installed bunchgrass individuals are surviving. There is heavy competition from non-native rhizomatous, perennial pasture grasses, but the Idaho fescue is a stress-tolerator and is surviving, especially in the poorer sites

1995 - Quercus garryana research sites, 3 Areas (UHF 572, Winter, and R. Bell)
Three research sites were installed for the purpose of testing irrigation treatments, competition, and plant material (seedling source) on the establishment and growth of Quercus garryana (Garry Oak):
Site 1: North of Wahkiakum Lane near the northern most pond. The site was mowed to remove Himalayan Blackberry prior to the planting of 34 Garry Oak seedlings. Each was covered with a protective fencing.

Site 2: East of Shovelers Pond. 63 Garry Oak seedlings were planted on a knoll which supported a single Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine), Agropyron repens (Quackgrass), Holcus lanatus (Common Velvet-grass), and Agrostis spp. (Bentgrass). Each was covered with a protective fencing.

Site 3: West of Shovelers Pond. 66 seedlings were planted in an open grassland area. Each was covered with a protective fencing.

Current status: The two populations which were planted into mown blackberry thickets (sites 1 and 3) have been overgrown by blackberry, but there is some survival. Survival is good and plants are around 20 cm tall at the site on the knoll beneath the Ponderosa pine. Lesson: Garry oak is tough and resilient, but gains height very slowly. Blackberry and grasses must be kept trimmed away from it.

1995 - Western Washington Prairie (Mounds) Research, East Wahkiakum Lane   (K. Ewing, May)
Forty six circular research plots were installed for the purpose of testing fertilizer, composting, and mounding treatments (full factorial design) on the establishment and growth of native western Washington prairie species. Half of the 46 plots consisted of mounded soil to emulate the conditions prevalent in many western Washington prairies. ‘Blocking’ for microtopographical effects (moisture gradient) was also taken into account. The native western Washington prairie species used in this research consist of Carex pensylvanica/inops (Long-Stoloned Sedge), Aster curtus (White-Top Aster), Potentilla gracilis (Northwest Cinquefoil), Festuca idahoensis (Idaho Fescue), Eriophyllum lanatum (Oregon sunshine), Camassia quamash (Camas) and Lupinus lepidus (Prairie Lupine).

Current status: Several species are doing well (Idaho fescue, Oregon sunshine, Potentilla, Aster curtus, Carex pensylvanica). Lupinus lepidus suffered a catastrophic die-off the second year and only one plant survives. Camas bulbs have begun to flower. Lessons learned: Lower flooded sites show high mortality. Mounded sites result in greater survival. Fertilized and composted sites have resulted in great increases in weed biomass.

1995 - 8 Various Restoration Sites (UHF 473, Autumn)
Eight restoration projects were installed in various locations by K. Ewing’s Restoration Ecology Class. These projects included the following:
Site 1: Understory plant restoration plot, including Alnus rubra (Red Alder); north of Wahkiakum Lane near the northern most pond. Red alder survives.

Site 2: Arbutus menziesii (Pacific Madrone) restoration plot; west of Shovelers Pond. Good survival of madrone.

Site 3: Wetland plant restoration site, including Cornus stolonifera (Red-Osier Dogwood), Carex spp. (Sedges), and Scirpus spp. (Bullrushes); northwest corner of Central Pond. Flooded, did not survive.

Site 4: Wetland bank restoration at a culvert site, including Carex rostrata (Beaked Sedge) and Salix spp. (Willow); southern drainage from Central Pond Some carex and willow survive.

Site 5: Festuca idahoensis (Idaho Fescue) restoration site, which included tilling of soil; east of Shovelers Pond. Some fescue survive.

Site 6: (similar and adjacent to Site 5)

Site 7: Site mulching experiment; south of Central Pond Mulching had temporary effect on reed canary-grass growth.

Site 8: Salix spp. (Willow) and Cornus stolonifera (Red-Osier Dogwood) whip planting; south of the E-5 Parking Lot

1995 - Lythrum salicaria removal, Central Pond (Birder Volunteers)
Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) was removed from the shoreline of Central Pond in hopes to create a more conducive environment to shorebirds. Central Pond is one of the three wetlands making the boundary to the Shorebird Habitat Management Area for the Union Bay Natural Area.

Current status: Pond edge remains clear. Continued maintenance is occurring.

1996 - Lythrum salicaria removal, Wetland C    (Eagle Scout Volunteer and Troop, Summer)
Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) was removed from Wetland C by hand for the second time. Removal of the plants’ above-ground biomass was first completed by cutting the plants down at their base. Tilling of the soil was then accomplished to aid in the removal of the root masses.

Current status: Continued maintenance is performed to remove regrowth.

1997 - Ribes sanguineum restoration, 4 Transects (UHF 572, Winter)
Ribes sanguineum (Red-Flowering Currant) individuals were planted along four transects. The transects were placed along a drier-to-wetter gradient in order to determine whether a moisture gradient would effect the establishment and survival of the plants. Two of the four transects are located on the north side of Wahkiakum Lane, one to the northeast of the E-5 Parking Lot and one northeast of Shovelers Pond. The last two transects are located on the south side of Wahkiakum Lane, one adjacent to Shovelers Pond on the west and one just east of the E-5 Parking Lot.

Current status: About half of the 3-plant clumps still have live Ribes. Wet sites seem to have poorer survival. Plants do not look healthy, but may do better in their second year.

1997 - Lythrum salicaria removal, Shoreline (Student Volunteers, Fall)
Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) was removed from a shoreline/bay wetland area. This area had been previously choked by Purple Loosestrife, and with its removal, should be once again utilized by shorebird species.

Current status: Regrowth has been slow.  Continued removal activities will help to reduce the amount of Purple Loosestrife to a more easily managed amount.

1998 - Prairie creation, E5 Parking Lot  (UHF 473, Winter)
One third of the E5 temporary parking lot was allowed to be converted into a priarie habitat with mounding of soil to replicate those found in the south Puget Sound prairies.  Native prairie species (grasses and forbs) were planted in the site along with soil and mulching treatments.  Tree species were planted along the site's perimeter in order to establish a type of barrier to help reduce the amount of foot-traffic in the area.

Current status: Almost half of the prairie plants have survived the first year...see continued work on this project.

1998 - Mowing of blackberry,  (CUH, Summer)
All blackberry south of Wakaikum Lane and selected areas north of Wakaikum Lane were mowed during the summer of 1998.  Mowing will continue during the following few summers in order to reduce the invasiveness of the blackberry.
1999 - Prairie creation, E5 Parking Lot  (UHF 473, Winter)
A second effort has been conducted on the first third of the E5 in order to promote the restoration efforts for this site.