Northwest NEWS

October 19, 1998

Front Page

Help needed to (re)plant the Sammamish


Andrew Walgamott/staff photo

Mitch McKay of North Bend set engraved bricks at Woodinville's Wilmot Gateway Park last week. Of the 1,300 bricks being installed, about 380 have names of kids and adults who have donated to the city's "flagship" park. On Oct. 24 Wilmot will be planted. Volunteers are needed.

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   By day's end, there will be more than 13,000 new willows, Sitka spruce, salmonberry plants and dogwoods cloaking a half-mile of the Sammamish River that, in the years ahead, will help salmon on their journey to spawning grounds, as well as restore an urban stream to more natural conditions.
   It will take an army of volunteers. The city of Woodinville alone needs 400 to do so, and officials are pleading for the public's help.
   According to Jennifer Rice, the cities of Woodinville, Redmond and Bothell, and King County need 1,000 volunteers for the Oct. 24 event. Plantings will occur in each city's jurisdictions.
   In Bothell, Rice said 400-feet of riverbank where the Sammamish Valley Trail crosses the river will be planted with approximately 1,700 plants. The city has already cleared the area of invasive grass and blackberries.
   Bothell needs 150 volunteers and is reportedly two-thirds of the way there.
   In Woodinville, 6,000 plants will be sunk into the ground at Wilmot Gateway Park, according to Parks Director Lane Youngblood.
   "That's a lot of work," says Youngblood, who is still searching for 150 more community members needed to ensure all the work gets done. Planting starts at 10 a.m. in Woodinville. A special bus will run between the park, which is near N.E. 175th St. and 131st Ave. N.E., and the Woodinville Park and Ride at N.E. 178th St. and 140th Ave. N.E. throughout the day.
   "I can't think of a better way to get some exercise and make the park a reality," Youngblood said.
   In the Sammamish Valley, 120 people are needed to plant 850-feet of riverbank north of N.E. 124th St., according to Rice.
   And in Redmond, Karen Gustafson says about 300 volunteers are needed to plant 4,500 trees and shrubs near the Willows Run Golf Course. Planting begins at 10 a.m. Volunteers should meet in the parking lot of Overlake Christian Church, 9900 Willows Road.
   Restoring the Sammamish is a long-term goal of the Sammamish Watershed Forum, a consortium of basin cities and King County. About 6,000 salmon use the river as they make their way to spawning grounds and the Issaquah Fish Hatchery.
   Although there is no way to recreate what the river was like before pioneers arrived, Rice said efforts are being made to make up for straightening the Sammamish and removal of vegetation around it.
   While she said it would take a number of years for the plants to effectively shade the river, the willows would begin having an effect in one to two years.
   In the meantime, root wads and trees have been set in some areas, providing refuge for fish during high water flows. Rice said an older forest would do that naturally as trees fell into the river. Over the past five years, Rice said about a half mile of the 14-mile long river has been replanted. This weekend, that total will be doubled.
   Rice said that though the river is in okay shape from the mouth to Bothell, from there to Redmond was a critical stretch with little vegetation except for invasive species.
   This weekend's project was funded with $250,000 from the cities and county, $20,000 from Eddie Bauer and $5,000 from ARCO, Rice said. It is part of Global ReLeaf for the Puget Sound, a cooperative effort spearheaded by American Forests.
   Volunteers are advised to dress for work and inclement weather and asked to bring their own shovels. Coffee, juice and bagels will be provided at the four restoration sites.
   To volunteer in Bothell, call Jeralynn Roetemeyer, 486-2768; in Redmond call Karen Gustafson, 556-2832; in King County call Polly Freeman, (206) 296-8359; and in Woodinville call Lane Youngblood, 489-2700.