Leslie Groves Park North - Native Plant Restoration
Restoring native vegetation to the north end of Leslie Groves Park in Richland is a community science 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.
Fourteen years of weeding and planting by volunteers has transformed this part of Leslie Groves Park North. The area has filled in with native plants and we’ve started to expand our work northwards. Lessons learned – sagebrush spreads remarkably well as do some of the flowering plants and grasses, including needle-and-thread grass, snow buckwheat and globe mallow. Sadly, new weeds come in all the time and volunteers are always needed.
Smooth Sumac is the dominant plant in the foreground; it was planted in 2011 and 2012. The background is mainly sagebrush and native bunch grasses.
Plants include bitterbrush, sagebrush, rabbitbrush and lots of native grasses. A number of these were planted from 2008 through 2014, but many have seeded from the parent plants.
What We Started With!
At the start of the project, this area consisted almost entirely of non-native plants including cheatgrass, tumbleweed, mustard, and tackweed.
We have worked on the area by mowing, raking, pulling weeds, and planting and seeding native plants. 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. Birds are also starting to use the area, using the native plants for shelter and a source of seed. Deer sometimes shelter in among the sagebrush. We have been using fabric matting in certain areas to help reduce the number of weeds.
Poor condition of the restoration area in 2006 when the project began.
Work party initiating restoration in 2006.
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 split rail fence with mesh added, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, we have had help from scouts who have done Eagle Scout or Venture Scout projects on the site. They have helped us to expand the area we’ve been working on and we’re hoping to continue to attract scout projects in the future.
We’ve also been working with a fourth grade teacher for the past three years; she brings her kids to the site to learn about the native plants. In return, the kids help us by collecting native seeds at Leslie Groves in the late fall. They plant the seeds in the classroom and then come back to plant the young plants the following fall.