Kyle Ostermick-Durkee flattens the mulch around newly planted shrubs near Crockett Lake. The Whidbey Camano Land Trust, with local laborers and the Washington Conservation Corps, planted 1700 shurbs and small trees to prevent invasive plants from growing in the area. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Kyle Ostermick-Durkee flattens the mulch around newly planted shrubs near Crockett Lake. The Whidbey Camano Land Trust, with local laborers and the Washington Conservation Corps, planted 1700 shurbs and small trees to prevent invasive plants from growing in the area. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Land Trust works to restore habitat near Crockett Lake

The Whidbey Camano Land Trust has planted 1,700 shrubs and small trees around Crockett Lake as part of an effort to control invasive species and improve the habitat for wildlife.

The organization, which hired local laborers and was helped by the Washington Conservation Corps for the project, received grant funds from the Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for land restoration.

The land trust had already done a lot of work to remove invasive plants from the area, but the newly planted trees and shrubs will out compete invasive ones in the future.

“Without planting, these efforts only go so far,” said Kyle Ostermick-Durkee, stewardship assistant with the land trust.

He said all the trees and shrubs are short and were chosen with the neighborhood’s view in mind. The effort will help control hairy willow-herb, blackberry bushes and hemlock by blocking out sunshine from these sun-loving plants. Most of the new plants are ones normally found near Crockett Lake naturally.

“We’re taking cues from the ecosystem that’s already here,” said Ostermick-Durkee.

Another 900 plants will be planted in January, bringing the total area planted to 123,000 square feet.

The project should also improve the habitat for wildlife, especially birds. Already, the piles of discarded blackberry bush sticks have become inhabited by small birds.

“It’s immediately an effective way to provide protection for wildlife,” said Ostermick-Durkee. In three to five years the shrubs will be full grown and big enough to shelter animals as well as not be overgrown by weeds.

The land trust also wants to install a birding platform, but it may take another year or two to receive the funding, he said.

Paolo Rosen, from the Washington Conservation Corps, spreads out mulch around a newly planted shrub near Crockett Lake. The Whidbey Camano Land Trust worked hired the group to help with planting over 1700 shrubs and small trees to control invasive species and improve wildlife habitat. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Paolo Rosen, from the Washington Conservation Corps, spreads out mulch around a newly planted shrub near Crockett Lake. The Whidbey Camano Land Trust worked hired the group to help with planting over 1700 shrubs and small trees to control invasive species and improve wildlife habitat. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

A heron flies over the newly planted shrubs and trees around Crockett Lake. The plants should help control the growth of invasive species and improve the habitat for birds and other wildlife. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

A heron flies over the newly planted shrubs and trees around Crockett Lake. The plants should help control the growth of invasive species and improve the habitat for birds and other wildlife. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

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