Healthy rivers are critical to the strength of our region. They depend on riparian buffers to provide food and shelter to wildlife, filter polluted stormwater, prevent damaging erosion, and improve water quality benefitting all surrounding life. Unfortunately, deforestation and weed invasion have limited the ability of streamside lands to provide these important functions. Working with our key partners and community members, we are restoring healthy riparian buffers for the Puget Sound region’s rivers.
The Cedar River is the source of drinking water for more than a million people in Seattle’s greater metropolitan area and has some of the best remaining salmon habitat in the greater Lake Washington Watershed. In 2010, Forterra, Seattle Public Utilities, and King County Noxious Weed Control Program established Stewardship-in-Action (SIA), a collaborative partnership that engages local community to restore the banks of the Cedar River. Through partnerships with homeowners and volunteers working on public and private lands, SIA has reduced the footprint of invasive knotweeds along the length of the river by 90%, making room for thousands of native trees and shrubs.
In 2016 the Green-Duwamish River was recognized as one of the most endangered rivers in the nation. Fortunately, federal, state and local governments, non-profits, businesses, and the community are coming together to bring the Green-Duwamish River back to health. Through the Green the Green partnership, Forterra is restoring healthy forests along the river. Forterra collaborates with public and private landowners to install native trees and shrubs on their riverbanks, and supports BECU to drive the Duwamish Shoreline Challenge – a friendly challenge issued by BECU to surrounding businesses to restore 1.5 miles of degraded shoreline in Tukwila’s commercial and light industrial areas.
Bear Creek provides highly valuable spawning and rearing habitat for chinook, coho, sockeye and kokanee salmon, and steelhead trout, and contains a population of freshwater mussels. To keep Bear Creek healthy, and wildlife happy, Forterra expanded its riparian restoration program to Bear Creek in 2016. Now, Forterra controls invasive knotweed along the length of Bear Creek and collaborates with Bear Creek residents to restore healthy forests along the river.
In concert with Forterra’s broader Skykomish to Snohomish Corridor initiative, in 2017 we began expanding the riparian restoration program to the Skykomish River. The Skykomish River provides outstanding habitat, scenic and recreation values, but these values are threatened by knotweed invasion and impacted by deforestation in the lower reaches. With seed funding from the Boeing Foundation, we have kick-started our work engaging partners and connecting with landowners on the upstream extent of the knotweed infestation. With our partners, we’re aiming to launch a basin-wide knotweed control and revegetation program to protect the Skykomish River’s precious habitat and recreation values.
In fall of 2017, the Thornton Creek Alliance and partners King County, Seattle Parks, Seattle Public Utilities, the City of Shoreline, Earthcorps, and Forterra, convened for the first time to discuss a coordinated effort to control knotweed in the Thornton Creek Watershed. In March 2018, the parties completed a strategic plan to guide these efforts and Thornton Creek Alliance led the charge in mapping knotweed and other noxious weeds in the watershed. Forterra is now working with private landowners and public partners to control knotweed along and restore healthy ecosystems within this highly urbanized watershed.
If you are a landowner living along the Green-Duwamish River, Cedar River, Skykomish River, Bear Creek, or Thornton Creek you can be part of this region-wide effort to restore healthy forests along our critical waterways. We are able to install riverside trees and shrubs using grant funding, and will work collaboratively with you to design a planting plan that meets your needs. For more information, contact Eli Tome at firstname.lastname@example.org
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