A History of the Nursery Facility Associated Restoration Projects

In 1997, KCD was awarded a $55,000 King County Water Quality Block Grant to create a Wetland Plant Cooperative that would address the increasing need for native wetland plants and the restoration community’s desire for native plants grown from seed collected in local watersheds. Today, over 30 species of wetland plants are grown at KCD’s facility with an average annual inventory ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 individual plants.

Services Offered

KCD’s Wetland Plant Cooperative provides wetland emergent plants to individuals, organizations and agencies in trade for volunteer service at the nursery or in-kind contributions such as soil, lumber or pots. Community groups often have a stronger volunteer base than funding source. The Cooperative allows these groups to utilize their volunteers to receive plant material for wetland or salt marsh restoration project that otherwise could not be implemented due to lack of funding. It also allows larger organizations to expand their project size, knowing that KCD can partner on their projects by supplementing commercial nursery orders with additional local stock for their projects.

The Wetland Plant Cooperative also serves as an informal job training resource for local youth and adults. By volunteering at the nursery, youth and adults gain experience in horticulture, stream and wetland restoration and leadership skills. Youth groups that regularly visit our facility include Northwood Junior High School Environmental Science students, Renton High School Honor Society members and the Seattle Youth Involvement Network.

Wetland Emergent Plants


Native Plants Grown at the Wetland Plant Cooperative


Recycled Materials Demonstration Site

The Wetland Plant Cooperative is also a recycled materials demonstration site, illustrating the benefits of using recycled materials in plant production. Our native plants are grown in GroCo, a commercial grade bio-solid product that is manufactured from the solid by-product of secondary sewage treatment. GroCo is a mixture of one part bio-solids and three parts fir and hemlock sawdust that has been composted for one year. The King County Department of Natural Resources, Wastewater Treatment Division, East Section Reclamation Plant donates reclaimed water from the wastewater treatment process to the Wetland Plant Cooperative for irrigation purposes. The water has been treated and disinfected in order to meet Washington State standards for use in landscape irrigation. Using reclaimed water allows the District to reduce the cost of purchasing water through the City of Renton Municipal water system and reduces the amount of potable drinking water wasted on landscape irrigation, thereby reducing the tax dollars that would have been used to treat over 200 gallons per day. The propagation beds used to raise native wetland plants are constructed from recycled plastic lumber called TREX and DuraBord. Nearly half the TREX utilized on the site was donated by the King County Commission for Marketing Recyclable Materials. TREX lumber consists of 50 percent hardwood tree waste and 50 percent plastic from polyfilm and plastic grocery bags. DuraBord lumber is recycled #2 high-density polyethelene plastic from milk jugs, shampoo bottles, yogurt containers, etc.

Primary Partners

Principle financial partners who make the Wetland Plant Cooperative program possible: Washington Conservation Commission, Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team, King County Earth Corps, and local volunteers Principle Project Partners: Washington Conservation Corps, Earth Corps, Northwood Junior High School, Washington Native Plant Society, People for Puget Sound, Mid Puget Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group and Renton High School Honor Society

Technical Support and Implementation

Over the years the Wetland Plant Cooperative has supported numerous estuarine, stream and wetland restoration projects by providing plant material to projects that otherwise would not have been implemented due to lack of funding. The Cooperative has also provided project design assistance to groups, agencies and organizations seeking technical expertise to help realize their restoration goals. Some of the projects we have supported are listed below.

1999 Cascade Park Planting Commencement Bay Middle Waterway Enhancement, WDFW and NOAA

Green River Natural Resource Enhancement Area, KCD and City of Kent

Tolt River Pipeline Project

2000 Carnation Marsh Enhancement, Seattle Audubon Society

Hazel Wolf Wetlands Enhancement, The Land Conservancy

Blue Heron Park Knotweed Control Project, KCD and City of Lake Forest Park

2001 Hazel Wolf Wetlands Enhancement, The Land Conservancy

Dickman Mill Salt Marsh Restoration, City of Tacoma

Rock Creek Buffer Enhancement, KCD and Rock Creek Landowner

2002 Black River Riparian Forest Heron Rookery Buffer Enhancement, KCD and City of Renton

Mt. Rainier High School Wetland Enhancement, KCD and Mt Rainier HS

Golden Gardens Wetland and Beach Enhancement, Seattle Parks and WNPS Native Plant Stewards

2003 Hamm Creek Salt Marsh Enhancement, People for Puget Sound

T-107 Salt Marsh Enhancement, KCD and People for Puget Sound

Hylebos Waterway Enhancement, NOAA and Friends for a Healthy Bay

Bioswale Enhancement Projects, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks

2004 Des Moines Creek Park Beach Enhancement, KCD and City of Des Moines

Duwamish Turning Basin Enhancement, Port of Seattle

Newaukum Creek Riparian Restoration, KCD and Mid-Puget Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group

Elm Tree Bioswale Enhancement Project, KCD and King County DNRP-WLRD

2005 Black River Riparian Forest Heron Rookery Buffer Enhancement, KCD and City of Renton

T-105 Salt Marsh Enhancement, People for Puget Sound

Saltwater State Park Creek Enhancement, Washington State Parks

Lexington Bioswale Enhancement Project, KCD and King County DNRP-WLRD

2006 Duwamish Barge Native Plant Education Project, Port of Seattle

T-107 Riparian Enhancement, People for Puget Sound

White Center Pond Enhancement, KCD and KC Small Habitat Restoration Program

Longfellow Creek Riparian Enhancement, Longfellow Creek Watershed Council

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