The Urban Forestry Restoration Project, administered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban and Community Forestry Program, is an exciting opportunity to enhance the capacity of urban forests to manage stormwater and improve air and water quality by improving the health and functionality of trees and forested sites in urban settings. Even more exciting is our opportunity to participate in this program here in Lacey at Lake Lois Habitat Reserve.

A Puget SoundCorps team will work with City staff to remove the English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, spurge laurel, Scotch broom and Robert’s geranium from Lake Lois Habitat Reserve during December. These invasive non-native plants prevent forested areas from providing our community the full benefits and services of healthy forests by competing for water and nutrients, and in some cases even killing trees. Many undesirable plants that grow in dense thickets also harbor rats and other vermin, creating a public safety hazard as well. Once the unwelcome plants are gone, native vegetation will be planted in its place.

The Lacey Board of Park Commissioners approved the Forest Management Plan for Lake Lois Park and Lake Lois Habitat Reserve in September of 2012. Volunteers have been removing invasive plants and re-planting those areas with native trees to implement the recommendations in the plan.  Paul Royer, Chair of the Park Board states, “Many people are not aware of Lake Lois Habitat Reserve, but once they have been out to volunteer, they realize the importance of what they are doing and the difference it makes in the health of the forest.”

For more information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, visit the project online or contact Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or micki.mcnaughton@dnr.wa.gov. DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps program administered by Washington Dept. of Ecology. Puget SoundCorps crews work on projects that help restore and protect water quality in Puget Sound. The Washington Conservation Corps is supported through grant funding and Education Awards provided by AmeriCorps.

For more information contact:

City of Lacey

Lori Flemm, (360) 491-0857, www.ci.lacey.wa.us

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Micki McNaughton, (360) 902-1637, www.dnr.wa.gov

This article was authored by the City of Lacey and originally appeared as a press release to promote the urban forest restoration project.