Community volunteers, some repeatedly covered in mud and sweat, successfully reopened freshwater circulation into the Edmonds Marsh. According to project coordinator Joe Scordino, 47 volunteers participated in one or more of the 11 work parties this summer to remove invasive plants and chain-link fencing in the wetland under Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Adopt-A-Highway program.
Multi-year studies by Edmonds-Woodway’s Students Saving Salmon and the Edmonds Stream Team demonstrated that freshwater flow from Shellabarger Creek into the Edmonds Marsh was being blocked by an invasive plant called bittersweet nightshade that grew into thickets on the fences on each side of Highway 104. Scordino, a retired fishery biologist who coordinated the volunteer effort, used the students’ data to obtain WSDOT approval to remove the fencing in the wetland along both sides of Highway 104, as well as the invasive plants on state property.
While some volunteers in chest waders worked in muck and mud removing fencing and nightshade vines and roots, others stayed high and dry — clipping and bagging blackberry brambles that had to be removed to open access to the wetland, Scordino said. All in all, 46 sections of fence were removed and freshwater flow was reinstated. “Most volunteers found this to be a very rewarding experience as they could directly see the fruits of their labor as creek water began to flow through the work areas each week,” Scordino added.
Volunteer work parties will reconvene next June to ensure water flows aren’t impaired by any new growth of invasive plants.