Martha Moritz, MEH defense: June 10th from 12-1:00 in the Douglas Research Classroom (DRC) at the Center for Urban Horticulture.
“Kincaid Ravine Restoration and Management Plan”
Committee: Kern Ewing and Jim Fridley
The Kincaid Ravine restoration project is located in an undeveloped section of the northeastern corner on the University of Washington Seattle campus. The project site is an approximately four acre forested area, with a native deciduous tree dominated canopy. The forest contains a mixed understory of both native and non-native species. Two wetlands and an unnamed stream channel are present within the project boundaries. This portion of campus is a designated natural area, which means it will remain undeveloped in the future.
The dominating presence of non-native, invasive species in the understory and the groundlayer of the site, historic clearing of the site, and impacts from construction that has taken place in the surrounding matrix has resulted in an overall decline in health and function of this urban forest over the last several decades. At this stage of typical forest succession, a mixed tree canopy containing both conifer and deciduous tree species should be present. The overwhelming growth of English ivy (Hedera helix) on the forest floor has eliminated the necessary light levels to foster the germination of native conifer species. Other invasive species growing in the site, including Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus), English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), and old man’s beard (Clematis vitalba) have reduced the diversity of the native plant assemblage that should exist in a Puget Sound lowland forest. In addition to the declines in ecosystem function, the dense growth of non-native species has led to the site being used for illegal encampments. These encampments pose a risk to public safety and have increased negative perception of the site.
Funds to begin the restoration work needed within the Kincaid Ravine were secured through the Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) during the 2012-2013 academic year. A partnership between UW Grounds Management, CSF, Earthcorps, and the UW-chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration was formed in order to complete the restoration work. Work within the project area began in January 2014. The primary tasks during the first year of the restoration project were to clean up garbage and debris from the work area, remove non-native species, and install a variety of native trees and shrubs. At this time, restoration tasks have been initiated in roughly half of the total project area.
Along with the restoration work, a site management plan was developed in order to create a framework that will allow restoration efforts to continue in the Kincaid Ravine. The long-term goals of the project are to: improve the overall ecosystem functioning of the urban forest, increase public safety, and create a space that allows students to participate in the restoration work and promotes the use of the site for further academic research.
Masters in Environmental Horticulture, Candidate
UW Botanic Gardens, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Integrated Pest Management and Sustainability Coordinator, Grounds Management
Plant Operations – Annex 4
Seattle, WA 98195
Filed under defense, grad