Recapturing natural habitat one tree at a time

Hundreds of volunteers gathered at Squak Valley Park North on Saturday, Oct. 16 to continue habitat restoration efforts that began last summer.

Jessica Ma finishes planting a tree

Jessica Ma finishes planting a tree

Hundreds of volunteers gathered at Squak Valley Park North on Saturday, Oct. 16 to continue habitat restoration efforts that began last summer. The event, led by Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, kicked-off back-to-back weekends of tree and shrub planting that will revegetate the park with native plants.

While the restoration efforts went into full swing this past summer, the problems began many decades ago when the land was part of the Erickson Farm.

In 1935, a levee was constructed to control Issaquah Creek after a severe flooding event washed away part of Issaquah-Hobart Road. This levee created an unnatural, relatively straight section of the creek with only a few shallow pools that were suitable for spawning. Over the years, the land’s native vegetation was also supplanted by invasive species like Himalayan blackberries and knotweed.

The City of Issaquah’s Squak Valley Park restoration plan calls for reestablishing a natural landscape that fosters healthy riparian and fish environments. This past summer, contractors hauled away 8,000 cubic yards of dirt, removed a section of the levee and ripped out the invasive plants. Logs have also been place in the creek to improve habitat, and a new berm has been established to control flooding.

The volunteers at Saturday’s event were expected to plant 2,000 indigenous plants, with 6,000 being sowed over the course of the project. When finished, the park will be a passive nature park with trails, wetlands, streams and buffers.




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