As the year comes to an end, we are reporting to funders and to our mitigation partners. In short, we met our outcomes and exceeded our goals for our Fairhaven Park stewardship project, we accomplished the following 3 measurables. Below is a link to the full report compiled and submitted by Perry Welch, Welch Ecological Services, LLC. The report is chock full of interesting maps, graphs and photos documenting the mitigation planting process.
This is a summary of our success, performance standards and corrective measures.
#1 Trail and Boardwalk: A re-aligned and improved trail was developed across a Category III forested wetland. The trail installation involved placement of a limestone trail within the wetland buffer and portions of the wetland. A 40-foot steel boardwalk was installed across the wetland and surface water drainage areas. The pre-existing degraded trail that traversed the wetland was abandoned and rehabilitated as part of the mitigation planting.
#2 Environmental Protection: Mitigation of impacts to wetland areas at a rehabilitation ratio of 4:1 and wetland buffers a ratio of 1:1 occurred contiguous to the nearby abandoned trail areas. The mitigation, went above and beyond the original plans of 200 native plants. We finished our end of year report with a total of 280 plants with a survival rate of 100%!! Mitigation areas have been protected while also ensuring trail abandonment. Protection includes individual plant protection, mitigation zone protection, and long-term easement protection. Most of the trees including Douglas fir, Western red cedar, crabapple and birch have been individually enclosed in wire caging.
#3 Community Engagement: Volunteers and project proponents visited the mitigation sites several times throughout the 2018 growing season to conduct native planting and various maintenance activities- weeding creeping buttercup, clearing blackberry, and replacing plants to the mitigation sites and repairing and maintaining protective deer fencing. We also led a series of Free Community Forest Walks for the pubic over the past two years. We engaged hundreds of people throughout the project and received great publicity.
We looked to our Wetland Biologist, Perry Welch, for Performance Standards as the measurable values that ensured our objectives were met. We also followed his consultation on Corrective and Maintenance Activities throughout the project to adapt or shift direction.
Performance standards are being met relative to minimum implementation area and species type. The mitigation sites received scheduled maintenance and there were replacement plantings. At the end of summer, our Year One survival was 96% but our replacement plantings in the fall of 12 specimens, brought the survival rate up to 100%. Passive recreation in the wetland where the trail was abandoned has been eliminated as all the mitigation planting areas have been fenced. Invasive species–including Holly, English Ivy, English Hawthorn, Thistle, and Himalayan Blackberry, now occupy less than 5% of the mitigation areas.
Our Corrective and Maintenance Activities. Volunteers and project proponents visited the mitigation sites several times throughout the 2018 growing season to conduct various maintenance activities. This including weeding creeping buttercup around plants, clearing and mowing blackberry, replacing and/or adding additional plants to the mitigation sites. Mitigation area zone protection includes encirclement of each mitigation area with six-foot tall wire caging anchored to two-inch thick wood posts. The objective of the six-foot tall caging that encircles each mitigation zone is to clearly identify the mitigation sites and protect the vegetation from deer browse, dogs and park user foot and bike traffic. Trees including Douglas fir, Western Red Cedar, Crabapple and Birch have been individually enclosed in wire caging.
Read about our Fairhaven Park project events, work parties and other proposed stewardship projects on our blog updates here.
Download the full report: FAIRHAVEN PARK TRAILS PROJECT PHASE II YEAR ONE MITIGATION MONITORING REPORT (PDF)
Thank you to all of our contractors, partners, sponsors and volunteers who made this project a success!
Below: A photo of the last planting of the year in the abandoned trail corridor. This used to just be a big swath of mud!
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.