More Activity, Higher Stakes
Forest emerging from a logged out past.
We raised enough money for Bothell to purchases the 35 acre BSA parcel (see previous articles). The final purchase and sales agreement is being crafted by the Bothell city attorney. When completed the language in that document and timing will determine the fate of this property. One of our grants comes from the State of Washington. When the Legislature convenes in late November they could cut funding for this grant before Bothell uses it, and the whole 35 acre purchase would be dead, along with a lot of work, making 2011 a practice year. So it is up to the city to bring this one "home" on time.
The City Council is considering a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) code amendment that could result in conservation of the remaining forest. Our conservation goal is not the only thing at stake. If it is done well, with a winning plan accepted by property owners, neighborhoods and the city it could become a model for future TDRs, a useful tool in conserving ecologically important land. If it is done in a way that leaves a landowner strapped, a neighborhood feeling run over, or city staff in a quandary, it would probably ruin public confidence in future TDRs for years to come. We are networking in neighborhoods to ensure people completely understand TDRs in general and have a sense of inclusion in this specific case.
Here is a general explanation of TDRs you can download:
A large maple
Readers already know we are contracted with UW-REN (see previous articles). UW students and faulty are a force unlike any other. It's hard to grasp their full potential. They bring so much talent and knowledge into the forest it is truly an honor to facilitate their work. We are lucky to have Dr. Warren Gold, biologist and a faculty director for UW-REN on our Board of Directors. And we have Darryl Nevels, a UW senior and President of the UWB/Cascadia CC Sustainability Organization on our Board. And we have Maximilian Dixon graduate student headed for a career in Sustainable Regional Planning on our Board. These scholars along with a founding Friends member Dr. David Bain, biologist, give our organization the depth to make good things come true... lots of activity in this area.
We are in the final stage of a 501c3 application, a long process that will give a tax deduction to people who contribute to our work. Once our 501c3 is approved by the federal government all of your donations will be tax deductible back to our date of registration with the State of Washington. Most groups get this part done up front but our success has been so rapid we kept putting it off until "we had the time". Ha! It's time.
Our forest stewards need a lock box so they can secure their tools at the end of the day. It looks like this: http://www.amazon.com/Delta-1653990-Heavy-Duty-Site-Vault-Security/dp/B00164QMSI
If you know how to get one of these or have one to donate (used is fine) we sure could use it!
Friends of North Creek Forest
Students enter the forest through access points previously "excavated" for them.
UW RESTORATION ECOLOGY NETWORK(UW-REN) students from Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell Campuses toured North Creek Forest, one of several sites selected for restoration work for the academic year 2011-12. Access was through an area Friends cleared so students could see the land through the blackberries. This site along 112th NE is one of the most heavily invaded in the entire forest.
Among things students will need to address: retaining native vegetation like Salmonberries, Alders and Willows engulfed by Blackberries; a collapsed garage and foundation discovered under Blackberries; and lots of nettles and (did we mention?) Blackberries.
Where to begin? It's a huge undertaking.
We gathered toward the top of the restoration area to discuss parameters. Students will have maximum control over their restoration design. They can start anywhere and work in any direction. Their design will determine if "weeds" are composted on or off site; may suggest trail or path design and location; if the old garage foundation is to be a feature in the restored area ( to hold benches?); drip irrigation and a water supply must be considered to give new trees their best chance of survival; how to plan for reusing elements like the drip system? This is a big project.
UW-REN plans all aspects, including overall design of the restored area, material acquisition, keeping all partners informed, logistics, irrigation, long range maintenance and possibilities for future phases. Friends will have an opportunity to respond to the student proposal later this fall. Our goal is to give students maximum opportunity for creativity and support them with tools and material and additional volunteers wherever possible.
In time restored land will look like this part of the forest.
OCTOBER 4th VOTE
The Bothell City Council voted to enable the use of three grants and to have staff create the purchase and sales agreement for the BSA 35 acre purchase. Our guess is the closing date will be on or about mid November. A key document must be completed prior to closing to be effective. It is called a "Waiver of Retro-activity" and it enables the city to use the 35 acres as a match for other grants, something that might be a 1/2 million $ values someday.
The City Council also voted to have staff draw up Transfer of Development Rights language that might enable the conservation of the rest of the forest. If approved owners could donate land and "send" development rights to one or more other properties, called Receiving Properties. This is a very good process if the "receiving" property(s) design is acceptable to everyone.
Readers might want to view Cascade Land Conservancy's web site to see the kind of work they have accomplished. They have succeeded in conserving a lot of land. TDRs can be a good conservation tool and CLC has used them successfully many times.
Friends of North Creek Forest