Restoration of White Center’s Seola Pond to get help from new invasive weed project

King County Noxious Weed Control Program is hosting two community events in support of a community-led restoration effort at Seola Pond greenspace in White Center. On November 21, there will be a community open house and invasive weed workshop for people to learn about the project, and on December 7, there will be a volunteer planting event where neighbors can help improve habitat and get hands-on experience planting native shrubs and trees. Volunteers at the work party will receive a free native plant to take home. Kids and families are welcome at both events.

Community Workshop and Open House
Thursday Nov. 21, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Grace Church, 10323 28th Avenue Southwest, Seattle, WA 98146

Seola Pond Work Party
Saturday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Seola Pond, 30th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 105th Street, Seattle, WA 98146

Seola Pond with ducks and wetland plants
Seola Pond is home to ducks and other wildlife and a place for people in the neighborhood to get up close to nature.

Seola Pond is a charming but unofficial park in White Center cared for mainly by local residents and volunteers. This time of year, the pond is home to ducks and other wildlife and visitors might not even realize it is a Stormwater Pond helping to reduce local flooding and filter surface water before it flows into Puget Sound. Around the pond, there are natural areas for people to walk and play, get away from it all, and get close to nature.

White Center resident and Seola Pond visionary Scott Dolfay has spent the past several years gathering people and resources to care for this remarkable green space. In 2016, Scott noticed a project being done by King County Stormwater Services that included removing weeds and planting native trees and shrubs near the pond. Inspired to do even more to improve habitat and access for people to enjoy the natural area, he sought out and obtained small grants, donations and community volunteers. Scott and other volunteers removed weeds, planted native species, put up signs and even built a small pedestrian bridge. Scott’s efforts made a big difference in improving the habitat of the natural area and in educating neighbors and schoolchildren about native plants and animals living in their own backyard.

invasive blackberry at Seola Pond
Invasive blackberry crowds out native vegetation and reduces habitat for people and wildlife at Seola Pond.
pulled blackberry and new native plantings at Seola Pond
Past restoration efforts at Seola Pond have made a dent in the blackberry and brought in native trees and shrubs.

Unfortunately, the natural area still has a significant problem with invasive plants, especially the tough, thorny Himalayan blackberry. Invasive plants like Himalayan blackberry crowd out native trees and shrubs and they also make the park less pleasant and accessible for people. This is where the Noxious Weed Control Program’s new invasive weed project comes in. Plans include providing invasive weed removal crews, community education and volunteer events to help community members learn about the restoration project and how they can take part.

volunteer with Scotch broom
Proud volunteer shows off invasive Scotch broom removed from a neighborhood park in White Center.

At the December 7 work party volunteers will remove invasive weeds, plant more trees and shrubs and build on Scott’s work to engage the community. The goal is to help make the green space a better place for people and nature in a part of the county that has a high level of need for more open space.

Explorer West Students and Seattle Parks staff are proud of their work removing invasive blackberry from a neighborhood park
Explorer West students and Seattle Parks staff show off the fruits of their hard work removing invasive blackberry from a neighborhood park.

For more information about the noxious weed program’s events in White Center, contact Marta Olson, Noxious Weed Program Education Specialist. For information about the Noxious Weed Control Program’s Healthy Lands Project (HeLP), contact Dan Sorensen, HeLP Project Manager.

For more information, see the following web pages:

Noxious weed program’s Healthy Lands Project website

West Seattle blog story on Scott Dolfay’s dream come true

Washington Native Plant Society blog post on Scott’s Seola Pond Project

Stormwater Services’ project page on Seola Creek Retrofit Project