Cedar River: holding strong

Knotweed knocked down; butterfly bush on the rise.

After a year of historic drought across the nation, our region is in recovery mode. The nature of rivers is to adapt and change—so despite the less than optimal conditions of this past year, the Cedar River is holding strong. Volunteers play an important role in improving the river’s health, too.

Cedar River Volunteer
One of the many Cedar River volunteers

The Stewardship in Action (SIA) program on the Cedar River saw remarkable growth in 2015. The program now assists over 50 landowners with replanting projects, improving a total of 75 acres of privately-owned riparian habitat! Due to the program’s incredible success, Forterra is adapting the model for other Puget Sound watersheds.

Here’s a 2015 recap in numbers:

New landowners enrolled in the planting program: 30

Shrubs & trees planted: 15,000

Acres of knotweed controlled: 218

Landowners who worked with us to control knotweed: 110

Forterra has adopted the Volunteer Habitat Restoration program previously run through the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed. As the new parent organization, we look forward to hosting a variety of volunteer opportunities that will continue the stewardship legacy built by the Friends’ dedicated volunteer force. Keep an eye on our website for future events!

In 2016 we look forward to tackling another problem weed on our rivers: butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). This woody ornamental shrub is a perennial garden favorite because of its pretty purple flowers that attract butterflies. Each flower head can produce up to 40,000 seeds, creating a hearty mobile seed bank on gravel bars along our local rivers.

Butterfly Bush
The beautiful yet invasive butterfly bush

Now that the knotweed on the river is retreating after years of continued treatment, the butterfly bush is moving in on that territory—making its move as the new invasive in town. SIA and partners are working together to keep butterfly bush under control and prevent another widespread outbreak on the Cedar River.

Our teams will continue to survey and control knotweed to protect from a resurgence. For the lower parts of the river in Renton—where knotweed control is in the early stages—efforts to wipe out the invasive knotweed jungles and revive them into healthy forests continue.

Monitoring the Cedar River