In the spirit of Arbor Day


Working with partners is a big part of Ecology’s success when it comes to restoring habitat and creating natural spaces for the people of Washington. Today, April 13, Washington celebrates Arbor Day. And this year marks 150 years of National Arbor Day Foundation, celebrated on April 29.

We thought we’d share a few projects that demonstrate the spirit of the “tree planter’s holiday,” through our Terry Husseman Grants Program in North Central Washington. With the help of partners, volunteers and natural resource entities, we are proud to support these projects that benefit fish and communities now and for years to come.

Domestic Creek Park

What started as an ambitious idea by a local landowner is now a reality with the help of a Husseman grant to the Cascade Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group.

Homestream Park in Winthrop was once an abandoned riverside horse paddock covered in layers of manure and weeds adjacent to the River Methow. Purchased by Phil and Cathy Davis in 2019, the property is now a welcoming space, with native trees and shrubs, local artwork, walking paths, and educational signs.

“Homestream Park has quickly become a favorite destination for tourists and residents alike,” said property owner Phil Davis. “It was a haven during the stressful days of COVID, and most encouraging has been the huge use of the park by school-aged children in the Methow Valley and beyond. It has been the destination for field trips from the elementary schools of Pateros, Brewster, Oroville and Pascal Sherman.

Davis said the project has been a great success, helping restore the floodplain to a more natural state.

Volunteers planted trees native to the Methow watershed, including cottonwood, river birch, aspen and many species of native shrubs. Having a healthy riparian corridor is important for all watercourses. They provide cooler water for fish, trap pollutants, and create habitats for wildlife and fish. And these projects go further by encouraging community members as well as tourists to come and enjoy and learn more about these natural spaces.

Nature and art come together to tell a story

Virgil Smoker Marchand provided many poignant works of art that demonstrate the importance of the area to Indigenous peoples. Photo by Heather Simmons

Art installations are an important feature of the park, helping to demonstrate the natural and cultural significance of the area. Virgil Smoker Marchand, a member of the Arrow Lakes Band of Confederated Colville Tribes, provided several sculptures that complement the site and remind visitors of the importance of the land to local tribes.

“This park represents the salmon, the water, but also the dirt, the soil – the environmental healthiness that people come to the Methow for,” Marchand shared in an interview with radio station KTRT.

Mazama Park

The Mazama Park Volunteer Planting Event attracted volunteers. Photo by Kristen Kirkby

About 15 miles north of Winthrop, Cascade Fisheries is taking advantage of another Husseman grant to restore healthy riparian habitat and reconnect people to nature along the Methow River in Mazama. The Methow Conservancy Land Trust purchased the site in the fall of 2020. Their mission is to inspire people to care for and conserve the lands of the Methow Valley.

With the help of many volunteers, Cascade Fisheries installed 600 native riparian trees and shrubs and added fencing to protect the seedlings from deer. They also installed logs and other wooden elements to increase the value of the habitat and enhance the natural features of the site. Weed management and irrigation will need to take place for several years to ensure plant survival on this dry site.

“The future Mazama Park is poised to provide improved habitat for threatened and endangered fish and other native species,” noted Kristen Kirkby, fisheries biologist and project manager at Cascade Fisheries. “While some features of the park, including the trails, staging areas, play structure and walk-in access for boaters, are still in the planning stages, native plants are already taking root. “

Kirkby said Methow Conservancy volunteers enthusiastically got their hands dirty helping crews replant this future public park.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Methow Conservancy and Ecology to improve riparian habitat for the benefit of all members, human and otherwise, of our Methow watershed community,” said Kirkby.

Methow Conservancy’s vision for Mazama Park is to later add walking trails, art, and educational signs, much like Homestream Park.

Lower Sleepy Hollow Reserve

On the Wenatchee River, Cascade Fisheries received a Husseman grant to remove trash and metal debris and to plant native trees and shrubs on the Lower Sleepy Hollow Preserve.

In 2016, this 40-acre reserve was purchased by the Chelan Douglas Land Trust for protection in perpetuity. Located at River Mile 3, the reserve will provide the first-ever public access to intact floodplain habitat in the lower Wenatchee watershed.

Young volunteers picked up trash before planting native trees in the Lower Sleepy Hollow Reserve. Photo by Aaron Rosenblum.

“Our shared vision for this property,” explained project manager Aaron Rosenblum, “is to restore floodplain and riparian habitat throughout and create a setting where urban Wenatchee residents, school children, tribal peoples and regional conservation education organizations can learn about the Lower Wenatchee floodplain habitat while learning about its important ecological and cultural role in the landscape.

In 2021, a party of young volunteers helped remove 360 ​​pounds of trash. In addition, a local contractor equipped with a power shovel removed large pieces of metal and other miscellaneous debris from the floodplain and a high-flow side channel. In total, more than 2,560 pounds of debris and garbage no longer litter the floodplain.

Following the debris cleanup, Cascade Fisheries installed 390 native trees and shrubs.

Additionally, they worked with Chelan Douglas Land Trust and Team Naturaleza to create bilingual signs that help create an inclusive space for the community. This park is also popular with birdwatchers and school trips.

Bilingual sign created with artwork by Seiler Design LLC.

The future

The goal of Cascade Fisheries, with the help of the Terry Husseman Account Grant Program and other partners, is to improve water quality and habitat for native species, as well as to promote the use , outreach and diverse community management of our local rivers.

Their work focuses on rivers that provide critical habitat for three endangered native fish: spring chinook, rainbow trout and bull trout. Riparian plantings increase shade, supply of nutrients to feed river food webs, reduce erosion, and possibly increase habitat complexity and cover in streams.

Their goal is to facilitate thoughtful use of river access sites for individuals, community groups, and school groups by providing volunteer stewardship events, classroom field days, and stewardship opportunities. long term for students and adults. Through education and outreach, they hope to inspire an audience of landowners to ensure our watersheds are resilient as climatic conditions continue to change.

Cascade Fisheries and Ecology hopes these projects will instill a sense of stewardship and empower communities to take action to learn about and improve watershed health, wherever they are.

For more information

The Terry Husseman Grants Program supports many projects like these across Washington. For more information on the Husseman Program, visit: Washington Department of Ecology – Terry Husseman Grant Program.

For more information on installing native trees on your property, or if you are interested in volunteering, you can contact your local fisheries enhancement group or conservation district.

For more information on Homestream Park, visit: Homestream Park

Methow Valley News article on Homestream Park, October 2019

Lower Sleepy Hollow Reserve

Across the state, attend tree planting events in Lynnwood, East Wenatchee, Duvall, Pullman, Tumwater, Oak Harbor and Spokane Valley, some in conjunction with Earth Day events.


Comments are closed.