COUPEVILLE — The Whidbey Camano Land Trust has planted 1,700 shrubs and small trees around Crockett Lake as part of an effort to control invasive species and improve the habitat for wildlife.
The organization, which hired local laborers and was helped by the Washington Conservation Corps, received grant funds from the Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The land trust had already done a lot of work to remove invasive plants from the area, but the newly planted trees and shrubs will out-compete invasive ones in the future.
“Without planting, these efforts only go so far,” said Kyle Ostermick-Durkee, stewardship assistant with the land trust.
He said all the trees and shrubs are short and were chosen with the neighborhood’s view in mind. The effort will help control hairy willow-herb, blackberry bushes and hemlock by blocking out sunshine from these sun-loving plants. Most of the new plants are ones naturally found near Crockett Lake.
“We’re taking cues from the ecosystem that’s already here,” Ostermick-Durkee said.
Another 900 plants are expected to be planted this month, bringing the total area planted to 123,000 square feet.
Already, the piles of discarded blackberry bush sticks have become inhabited by small birds.
“It’s immediately an effective way to provide protection for wildlife,” Ostermick-Durkee said. In three to five years the shrubs will be full grown and big enough to shelter animals and not be overgrown by weeds.
The land trust also wants to install a birding platform, but it may take another year or two to receive the funding, he said.