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.
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 have regularly visited our facility include Northwood Junior High School Environmental Science students, Renton High School Honor Society members and the Seattle Youth Involvement Network.
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 Loop® bio-solids and three parts fir and hemlock sawdust that has been composted for one year. 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 KCD 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.