Seattle Permaculture Guild
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Hillside Park Blackman Lake Snohomish, Washington October 2006
Current Situation- Blackman Lake is a small lake of 57 acres which has reached the environmental critical list. It is inside the Snohomish City limits and has a boat launch to the West side and a large city park with swimming beach and fishing dock on the East side. The fish are stocked. Electric motors are allowed on the lake. The lake is currently feeling the suffering from the effects of housing developments around it. The temperature is monitored by a local fishing club and is recorded as increasing yearly.
The city has blocked-off an area that used to be a meadow parking lot. This area has received a minimal amount of top-soil and has been seeded with grass.
Challenges- Snohomish does not have a Parks Department and receives itís small bit of funding through the city Facilities Department. This does not allow for enough money or staff to maintain the park. Algae is growing in the lake. Geese have come in large numbers to populate the lake. People are feeding the geese and making the problem worse. Storm water drains are feeding pollution directly into the lake. The reclaimed parking area has been compacted by vehicles for years and years. The city is not planning to amend the heavy compacted clay but instead plans to add a thin layer of top-soil over it.
Remedies and Proposals-
Bio-swell- A bio-swell filled with native plants will help to filter storm water before it enters the lake. Plantings could include: Bitter Cherry, Malus Sylvestris, Spiraea Douglasii, Pacific Willow, Salix Purpurea, Philadelphus, Physcocarpus, Rosa Nutkana Douglas Iris, and Camassia Quamash would all be appropriate. The plants help to prevent erosion of the bio-swale and would assist in filtering the storm water before it enters the lake.
Native plantings along the shoreline and boat launch- Adding native plantings along the shoreline will help stop erosion, help to filter run-off from parking lots and will help to maintain the lakes temperature.
Public education- It would do the City well to arrange for Pilchuck Audubon to hold free or low cost classes open to families to educate them on geese. Included in these classes would be information about the effect the geese on the lake, how people are linked to this and what we can do as a community to improve the situation. A National-Nite-Out could be held at the lake and different community groups could table information. One of those groups could include photos and information on the Blackman Lake project so that neighbors can see first-hand their effect on the lake. Including child participation at these booths will encourage parents to gravitate to them. The Adopt-A-Park Foundation keeps a table at the Snohomish Farmers Market. It would be serve well for them to have a photo album of the pollution coming out of the storm-drain along with an explanation and photos of the project with volunteers working. These photos could help to make the current need for protecting parks, overseeing development standards and the need for volunteers a realistic goal.
Additional benefits- Bitter Cherry is used to make a cough syrup, Sorbus, Malus Sylvestris (Crabapple) is high in pectin and can be added to other sweeter fruits to make Jams and juices, Salix is good for biomass and basket making, contains a rooting hormone to assist in starting new cuttings. Sorbus has a berry extremely high in vitamin c and has been used for making jams and wines by many cultures. It is prized for itís strong straight branches for tool handles. Nootka Rose hips are high in vitamin C and are good for making tea once dried. Camassia Quamash produces a bulb that tastes like chestnut when baked. Although the pollution in this area would not encourage me to eat these plants as foods, their presence does encourage their continual use in other projects where they could be utilized in this way. All of the above plants are good for animal habitat and food.
Photos of the Adopt-A-Park Foundation Blackman Lake work party October 2006 in which I directed the lay-out of plants, oversaw the volunteers and instructed the method of planting.
Written by Marilene Richardson