Ten participants from the Snohomish County Youth Leadership Program have been working to clean up the Edmonds Marsh, removing Purple Loosestrife, Japanese Knott Weed and Scotch Broom — all invasive species that don’t allow the native Common Reed to grow.
“It kills them basically,” said City of Edmonds Parks Manager Rich Lindsay. “[The Common Reed] produces much more wildlife.”
The marsh is the habitat for many creatures, including ducks, herons and more than 150 other species of birds that stay throughout the year.
The youth group was able to work at the Edmonds Marsh through the Student Conservation Association, a national organization that involves both youth and young adults. Northwest Community Programs Director Meredith Stone manages this local program out of Seattle.
“We work with youth crews during the school year, we have volunteer programs and then in the summers we have both volunteer and paid programs,” Stone said. The group cleaning up the Edmonds Marsh is one of the paid programs organized by the SCA.
The SCA’s focus is restoration by removing the invasive species and planting native species. They’re also known for working on trails. “We put about 4,000 members out into the field every year,” Stone added.
This was the SCA’s first year working on restoring the Edmonds Marsh. Previously their work had been in Seattle and south King County.
“We’re considering this a pilot program,” Stone said.
This year has been their first time working in north King County and Snohomish County. The SCA is using the year to get to know new partners and working with new people.
The work will continue in Edmonds through Aug. 20, then the group will move on to Monroe.
Anybody older than the age of 15 can apply to be a part of the SCA. The program at the Edmonds Marsh was a group of students from ages 15-19. There are adult programs available as well.
Volunteers are one of the best ways to help improve the marsh, said City of Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Manager Carrie Hite. “Financial support is always helpful, but also volunteer support,” she said.
— Story and photo by Lily Jaquith