Gabby Andrews of Port Townsend

Gabby Andrews of Port Townsend

Crews clear invasive plants from “urban forests” with joint effort in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — The city’s “urban forests” are benefiting from a partnership among the state departments of Natural Resources and Ecology and the Washington Conservation Corps.

As part of the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, crews have been working since Feb. 1 in three areas: Sather Woods, Kah Tai Lagoon and Haller Fountain.

They are clearing out invasive weeds and pulling English ivy off trees “in order to give them breathing room and more of a life,” according to crew supervisor John Longsworth.

Crews cleaned up Haller Fountain on Thursday.

Longsworth is a botanist for DNR who is located in Poulsbo.

The crew is supplemented by Ecology employees and AmeriCorps volunteers.

The crew is pulling the ivy off trees but leaving it on the ground, Longsworth said.

“We are leaving that alone because we don’t want to create areas of exposed soil where other weeds can grow,” he said.

Aside from English ivy, the crews also remove English holly, spurge laurel and scotch broom.

Once the invasives are removed, native vegetation will be planted, Longsworth said.

“Port Townsend’s urban forests are negatively impacted by invasive species that compete for sunlight, nutrients, water and space,” said Jason Cecil, a member of the Port Townsend Parks, Recreation and Tree Advisory Board, in a news release.

“Invasive species lack natural biological controls to prevent their spread.

“Suppression of exotic and invasive species should be a priority in any urban forestry management plan.”

Longsworth said crews stay in a single location for a month at a time.

They are scheduled to work in Port Angeles in July.

Potential volunteers can contact Port Townsend Parks and Facilities Manager Alex Wisniewski at awisniewski@cityofpt.us.

For information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, contact Micki McNaughton at 360-902-1637 or micki.mcnaughton@dnr.gov.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

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