Around 1,400 trees and shrubs were planted along the Puyallup River in January by a team from the Department of Ecology's Puget Sound Corps in an effort to improve and maintain Sumner’s urban forests.
Benefits of the planting project range from improving water quality along the river, replenishing native vegetation and natural habitats and removing invasive plant species.
“It’s not just because it looks pretty — it’s so much more than that,” said project coordinator Micki McNaughton. “We aren’t getting the full effect of water quality benefits. There are so many things that trees do for us that we aren’t getting full benefits of.”
It’s not just because it looks pretty — it’s so much more than that. We aren't getting full effect of water quality benefits. There are so many things that trees do for us that we aren’t getting full benefits of.
Micki McNaughton, urban forestry special project coordinator
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The six-person crew started planting in early January. About 100 trees and 1,300 shrubs were planted including Douglas firs and cedar and hemlock trees, said Robert Wright, local source control specialist for the city of Sumner.
The crew also removed invasive plant species, such as ivy and blackberry, along the Sumner Link Trail.
Mulch was laid along the river before the vegetation was planted, and the crew secured cages around the trees to protect them from animals.
A subprogram of the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC), the Puget Sound Corps crew was provided by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR)’s Urban and Community Forest Program. Puget Sound Corps enlists young adults and veterans to “gain valuable skills through the restoration and protection of Puget Sound and its resources.”
Josh Williams, forest tech and WCC supervisor, is part of the Puget Sound Corps crew and lives in Lakewood. He’s been a part of the WCC for more than five years.
I have personal ties here. I climbed trees as a kid. Anything I can do (to help the environment), I’m willing to do.
Josh Williams, forest tech and Washington Conservation Corps supervisor
“I have personal ties here,” he said. “I climbed trees as a kid. Anything I can do (to help the environment), I’m willing to do.”
The DNR’s Urban Forestry Restoration Project focuses on enhancing the health of urban forests in the Puget Sound to provide a range of ecological and public health benefits.
“It was a really great project in that this is what we can do (for the community),” McNaughton said. “It’s really fun to be a part of that.”
The city of Sumner will continue to monitor the project site in coming years.