Important to the water quality of the Puget Sound, city parks can be managed to create riparian buffer zones comprised of native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants that function as a protective barrier for aquatic habitats. However, non-native, invasive weed species have impacted thousands of hectares of Washington’s native areas. This results in the degradation of riparian buffer zones that require a diverse mix of plant species for functional water protection. Since 2002, the Poulsbo community has put a great deal of volunteer time, effort and money into improving the riparian zone of Fish Park, a 17-hectare (42 acre) park that connects Dogfish Creek to the estuary in Liberty Bay. Despite notable improvements, to address the remaining challenges caused by invasive species, Western Washington University has developed a three-year management plan. This proposal seeks funding to experimentally design methods for the restoration of degraded urban riparian zones that are impacted by invasive species. If awarded funding by the Rose Foundation, money will be allocated to: 1) create a digital map with a Master Vegetation Plan that documents plant community types and prioritizes invaded areas, 2) remove blackberry and reed canary in prioritized areas, followed by an experimental native tree planting using a rapid riparian revegetation approach, and 3) finalize an adaptive management plan that includes park inventory and new methodology for the improvement of riparian buffers. To accomplish this, two undergraduate research assistants will be hired to assist the principal investigator to complete the inventory, initiate the project design, help coordinate volunteers and document methodology that can be replicated throughout this and other Puget Sound urban parks that impact water quality. All work will be in conjunction with the Fish Park Steering Committee, who will aid project oversight, provide consultation, and mobilize community volunteers.
Western Washington University Foundation
Restoring riparian buffers for improving water quality and quantity in Dogfish Creek and beyond
Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, 2018