Winning the battle against knotweed

The Stewardship in Action program is paying off

After five years of restoration work on the Cedar River and its tributaries, the Stewardship in Action (SIA) program is celebrating as the riverbanks have begun to show signs of recovery.

In 2010 the Cedar River and its residents were in the throes of a massive knotweed infestation. In response, the SIA program was created to tackle knotweed and other invasive weeds growing on riverfront properties. Although knotweed is less prevalent today, many other invasive weeds still thrive.

That’s why the SIA program offers an inexpensive way for property owners along the Cedar River and its connecting streams to get rid of unwanted plant infestations and create a pleasant space for recreation and wildlife viewing.

A unique aspect of the SIA program is its strong connection to the Cedar River community and the diversity of its partnerships with groups and private landowners. Homeowners receive free design services and installation of native gardens which help prevent invasive weeds from taking over, reduce erosion and provide healthy habitat for salmon and other wildlife.

We bring the tools, the plants and the technical expertise to these restoration projects and in return the homeowners give us a history we can’t learn anywhere else.
Forterra’s Cedar River Restoration Project Manager, Judy Blanco.
The team receives a delivery of native plants to replace the removed invasives

“Together as a team, we’re able to help protect the health of this river we all cherish so much.”

The program has been successful to date with satisfied landowners becoming representative stewards, sharing their experience with the community and occasionally hosting tours of their property or speaking publicly on behalf of the program.

“We pride ourselves on being good stewards of the land and feel this non-native plant removal has benefited both our land and all of the wildlife in the area,” said participant Mike Tonda.

Where a twelve-foot tall thicket of blackberry in Chris and Ann Hall’s yard once thrived, now lives a native garden with beautiful flowers that attract birds. “Removing the blackberries from our property has made the land more balanced and its low maintenance, too. After the rough work of removal was done, we also received the benefit of several hundred native plants they put in,” Chris said.

To date, the SIA team has worked with over 30 landowners to create native gardens. The program hopes to reach even more landowners in its fifth year. SIA is a collaborative partnership between Forterra, Seattle Public Utilities and the King County Noxious Weed Control Program.

Contact Michelle Manza at (206) 905-6907 or cedarriver@forterra.org to get involved.