Volunteer Robert Moreno removes invasive species from the conservation site behind Lake Washington Christian Church. Madeline Coats/staff photo

Volunteer Robert Moreno removes invasive species from the conservation site behind Lake Washington Christian Church. Madeline Coats/staff photo

Conservation district educates Kirkland residents on responsible stewardship and shoreline restoration

Residents learn techniques for returning their property to a more natural state.

The King Conservation District (KCD) partnered with Lake Washington Christian Church in Kirkland to educate residents on the importance of sustainability and responsible stewardship on June 26.

The event allowed residents to tour a 2.5-acre shoreline restoration project that was once taken over by invasive weeds. Homeowners living on streams, lakes and wetlands were invited to learn techniques for managing weeds and returning their property to a more natural state.

Kent Sullivan, outdoor work coordinator for the church’s Community Habitat Restoration Project (CHRP), and Robert Moreno, also with CHRP, described their efforts to protect the water quality, soil health and stream and wetland restoration for the site behind the church.

The property was developed as a church in 1968, explained Sullivan. The current church home was purchased in 2009 and land restoration began soon after.

“I think it’s fair to say that we didn’t know we had a calling to do this type of work until we moved here and gradually inhabited the space,” said Sullivan. “The project is a story of perseverance and just taking a chunk at a time.”

KCD education programs coordinator Kristen McCune and KCD improvement project assistant Ashley Allan have been working with the church to provide technical assistance, workshops and project installation for the site. The project has a 15-year lifespan and they are currently in the third year.

“The unique part about this site is that it was covered in blackberry. No one actually realized there was a stream or moving water,” said McCune.

The small stream running through the restoration site is connected to the Lake Washington watershed. The water drains from an unknown location down into the lake and then into Puget Sound.

The water at the site location is the only part of the stream that is above ground in Kirkland, the rest of it is covered. While it is unknown where the water originates, the runlet still flows year-round, even during the summer months.

“Our wetlands and our streams play a really important function in our environment, so ultimately their goal is to move water and sentiment from high elevation places to low elevation places,” she said.

The streams and wetlands play a critical role in the habitat for fish and wildlife. Likewise, native plants have evolved to allow wildlife access to vegetation for food, shelter or hiding.

“We could probably quit now and the plants would live because they’re big enough, but we don’t intend to stop,” said Sullivan. “We’re going to keep going until they get twice the size.”

Allan, who specializes in native plants and stream restoration, explained their goal to get to the point where the natives are so well established that future maintenance beyond that is minimal. She aims to create a self-sustaining forest with less than 10 percent coverage of invasive species.

“Obviously this doesn’t happen by magic,” said Allan. KCD intends to help residents conserve their land.

All landowners are entitled to free information and technical assistance from KCD services. The organization can help educate residents with information about water quality protection, wildlife habitat enhancement, farm conservation plans, soil and slope stability, native plants, stream restoration and other natural resource topics.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

The third path through the conservation site was created for a local Eagle Scout project. Madeline Coats/staff photo

The third path through the conservation site was created for a local Eagle Scout project. Madeline Coats/staff photo

More in Life

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Showing their appreciation for EvergreenHealth workers

First responders from Kirkland, Bothell and Woodinville stopped by the Kirkland medical center to show their support for their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

From left, Evan Shouse, Lauren Shouse and Ellienn Tatar stand outside their Kirkland residence. Courtesy photo
Making ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic

LWTech Foundation COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund lends a helping hand.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.

Photo courtesy of Meenakshi Sinha 
                                From left, Kirkland residents Nick Davis and Silvia Bajardi play their instruments at a neighborhood music event March 15.
‘We’re still in this together’: Inspired by Italian residents, Kirkland resident organizes singing event

Meenakshi Sinha wanted to connect Kirkland neighborhoods amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Shamrock Run participants from a previous year smile for the camera. Photo courtesy of Orca Running
Shamrock Run returning to Kirkland March 14

The annual event is put on by Orca Running with presenting sponsor Lake Washington Physical Therapy.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology. File photo
LWTech students place fourth in national Codebreaker Challenge

CSNT program recently placed fourth at the NSA Codebreaker Challenge online competition.