Restoring native vegetation to the north end of Richland's Leslie Groves Park (Figure 1) is a project that began in 2006 with the approval of the Richland Parks Department. The goal was to re-establish habitat that could be enjoyed and used to educate the public about our indigenous plants and to share their beauty. The LGN group is affiliated with the Washington Native Plant Society (Columbia Basin Chapter) and the Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society whose members have been a major part of this effort.
Our focus has been on the southernmost 1½ acres, just north of Snyder St., between the multi-use path and Harris Ave. At the start of the project, this area consisted almost entirely of non-native plants including cheatgrass, tumbleweed, mustard, and tackweed (Figure 2).
We have worked on the area by mowing, raking, pulling weeds, and planting and seeding native plants (Figures 3-5). More than 30 different species of native plants have been planted at the site, including bunchgrasses, shrubs, and flowering plants. The area has now been transformed into an area in which native plants are starting to predominate and to spread naturally (Figure 6). Birds are also starting to use the area, using the native plants for shelter and a source of seed. Work will continue on this initial 1½ acre site until the native plants are less likely to be overtaken by the weeds. At that point, plans call for extending this effort northward, to the rest of the natural open space area.
There are numerous work parties throughout the year, with weeding work from approximately February thru November; leaf raking from October thru February (a task made much easier as a result of installing a temporary silt fence purchased with a grant from the City of Richland); collecting seeds for native species; and planting in November and December. Help is always appreciated with any of these activities, with volunteers contributing as much or as little time as they can.
For more information or to receive e-mail updates on Leslie Groves North activities, please contact Debbie Berkowitz at email@example.com or 509-375-4740.