Puget Sound Corps to the Rescue

Noxious weeds are flourishing even earlier this year, given our record-breaking warmer and wetter winter and spring. King County noxious weed staff have been working hard to keep up but it’s been a mad dash to get to the weeds before they go to seed this  year. Fortunately, we’ve had a much needed boost from the hard-working Puget Sound Corps crews provided thanks to the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).

Puget Sound Corps crew from EarthCorps after a hard day of pulling garlic mustard on the Cedar River. Photo by Sara Price.

In April, a Puget Sound Corps crew surveyed and controlled the Class A noxious weed garlic mustard on the Cedar River. On the first day, the crew worked tirelessly in the rain bagging up flowering plants. For the rest of the week, the sun returned and the hardy crew surveyed through thick brush and controlled all the garlic mustard they could locate.

In all, WDNR is providing the King County Noxious Weed Control Program (KCNWCP) with 42 Puget Sound Corps crew days this season for the survey and control of noxious weeds along riparian corridors in King County. WDNR designated EarthCorps to provide these field crews for our projects from April through September of 2016. This partnership with EarthCorps provides for effective noxious weed control as well as providing training and work experience opportunities for trainees.

KCNWCP staff will direct the six person crews in surveying and controlling 11 noxious weed species on 13 projects throughout the County. These noxious weed infestations are actively degrading the environmental and recreational values of public lands in King County and this contribution from WDNR and the collaboration with EarthCorps will provide a significant benefit to King County. Collaborative partners include: WDNR, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Parks, King Conservation District, and the non-profit habitat restoration organizations Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Forterra, Sound Salmon Solutions and EarthCorps.

As the season progresses, other Puget Sound Corps projects in King  County will target policeman’s helmet, purple and garden loosestrife, knotweed, knapweed, tansy ragwort and orange hawkweed.

Thank you Trish MacLaren for the material for this article and to Sayward Glise and Sara Price for the photos!