By Noah Haglund Herald Writer
EVERETT — The city’s urban forests are being eaten alive.
The culprits are Himalayan blackberries, English ivy and other invasive plants.
Without action, native conifers and other trees that populate Everett’s parkland could be gobbled up within a few decades.
The city recently published details of a 20-year plan to keep that from happening. The report is part of the Green Everett Partnership, a collaboration between the city’s parks department and Forterra, the Seattle conservation group formerly known as the Cascade Land Conservancy.
“That Himalayan blackberry and English ivy that we all see in our back yards, a lot of that grows up into the forest canopy,” city parks director Paul Kaftanski told the City Council on May 8. “Over time, between the weight of that invasive plant and our winter windstorms, those trees become top heavy, and when the wind comes, they fall down. And there (aren’t) enough seeds in the ground to regenerate.”
The management plan will guide efforts to restore 354 acres of forested parks throughout the city, much of that in Forest Park. It gives an overview of the health of the city’s forests as well as resources available to address the issue.
It assigns responsibilities, gives costs estimates and outlines short- and long-term goals.
Uprooting all invasive plants across all city parks would be expensive. Kaftanski pegged the cost at $6.5 million, even when factoring in plus $5 million in free labor.
The Green Everett Partnership was launched a year ago, the sixth partnership in Forterra’s Green Cities network. It’s the first such partnership in Snohomish County.
City council approved $70,000 in funding for the project last year. Forterra staff secured a $100,000 contribution from the Boeing Co. for the project.
For more information, go to www.greeneverett.org.