Natives planted to protect Ebey's bluff

Some Central Whidbey residents got their hands dirty Tuesday morning. They were on Hill Road at Ebey’s Landing planting native bushes. It was part of a project to help protect the bluff and roadway from erosion.

They were helped by the county and the National Park Service. The plants provide better protection to the picturesque bluff located south of Coupeville. The project shows how a project can be completed with several groups working together as a team.

“It’s awesome to see this,” said Mark Preiss, reserve manager. “This was formed as a partnership and it’s good to see it’s alive and well.”

Volunteer Bill Viertel said the stretch of Hill Road is one of the prettiest drives in the state and the road needs to be preserved.

Residents from nearby homes were planting Wild Rose, Ocean Spray, Snowberries and Oregon Grape alongside Hill Road.

“We’re concerned neighbors that want to see the bank remain in native vegetation,” said Sara Purdue as she prepared to place a plant on a newly-installed berm. Volunteers planted around 250 plants that were provided by the National Park Service.

County and Park Service officials are concerned about the bluff. It has been damaged by people pulling off to the side of the road. In addition the bluff has been the site of fires in recent years. Last July, part of the cliff side at the bluff was scorched by a brush fire. Neighbors said that people in the past have sparked fires by lighting fireworks or flicking lit cigarettes into the brush during the dry summer months.

Before residents planted native shrubs, county workers installed berms along portions of both sides of Hill Road. Those berms will help prevent motorists from pulling off the road.

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