Partnerships protect Shoreline's urban forest
Shoreline residents love their urban forests. Our commitment to making sure Shoreline residents continue to enjoy healthy parks and open spaces is reflected in the 2017-2023 Parks, Recreation & Open Space (PROS) Plan Strategic Action Initiative #8: Maintain, Enhance, and Protect the Urban Forest. As Shoreline welcomes new residents into our beautiful city, it becomes more important than ever to find effective ways to maintain, enhance, and protect our trees, parks, and open spaces. New partnerships with organizations engaged in innovative strategies is one way the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services (PRCS) Department is making good on our commitment to caring for Shoreline’s urban forest.
Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (MTS) is a non-profit organization that uses creative means and partnerships to preserve natural landscapes from Seattle to Central Washington. Over the past several years, MTS has led several volunteer projects in Shoreline.
In recent months, MTS has been developing a new program involving an Urban Forest Carbon Registry. The idea is to partner with companies interested in offsetting their carbon footprint with urban forestation opportunities known as City Forest Credits (CFC).
Earlier this year, MTS approached us with a pilot project opportunity for Ballinger Open Space. A corporation expressed interest in investing more than $50,000 in an urban forest carbon credit program. The PRCS/Tree Board endorsed the staff recommendation to accept the offer and allow work to proceed in Ballinger Open Space.
If you visit Ballinger Open Space today you will see that non-native invasive plants are being cleared from the riparian wetland areas. In early 2019, MTS will replant with native species. The goal is to restore this beautiful open space for public enjoyment and the enhancement of the overall health of the park system. More information about the CFC program is available at cityforestcredits.org.
Green Cities Partnership
In 2019, Shoreline will join Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Puyallup, Redmond, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tacoma, and Tukwila as a Green City Partner with Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy).
Forterra is the state of Washington’s largest land conservation, stewardship, and community building organization dedicated solely to the Cascade and Olympic mountain region. Forterra’s Green Cities Partnership program is dedicated to bridging the gap between public and private entities to conserve wild lands and natural landscapes.
The process of forming a new Green City Partnership with Forterra involves an initial assessment of the current acreage and condition of our forested parks and natural areas. With this information, Forterra will work with us to develop and implement a 20-year strategic plan to restore our urban forest. Forterra’s support also includes developing a community-based volunteer stewardship program to support restoration efforts across the City.
Washington Native Plant Stewards
The Washington Native Plant Stewardship Program is a community-based program designed to provide opportunities for citizens to conserve, protect, and sustain native plants in Washington. The Program educates community volunteers about our region’s native plants and plant communities. In exchange for training, stewards make a commitment to return volunteer service hours at least equal to the training hours received on projects identified and approved by WNPS in the following 12 to 18 months.
In 2017, Shoreline partnered with the King Conservation District and the Washington Native Plant Society to train our first group of 30 volunteers. They began working to remove invasive species and replanting native vegetation in several of our parks. These first projects have restored roughly three acres of degraded parkland. WNPS work parties are posted on the City’s website and Event Calendar.
Our most important and valued partnership is with our community volunteers. Some volunteers show up at our parks on a regular basis and some come just once. Each volunteer is important to successfully managing the health of our urban forest. Volunteers are always needed to assist in the work of maintaining, enhancing, and protecting Shoreline’s beautiful urban forest.
Parks Senior Maintenance Worker