Saving Seattle’s Green Spaces

Seattle’s reputation as the Emerald City is in danger. Without proper care for our urban forests, we’re at risk of losing the beautiful green spaces that define our city.

Nature Consortium’s Urban Forest Restoration Program is committed to restoring Seattle’s largest remaining forest, the West Duwamish GreenbeltThis important ecological resource spans nearly 500 acres on the eastern slopes of West Seattle and includes 182 acres of public park land. 

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Due to the history of logging and other disturbances in the greenbelt, the quality of habitat has been severely degraded. Since 2003, Nature Consortium has brought volunteers and community members together to help restore habitat in the forest by removing invasive weeds, amending soil, addressing erosion issues, and planting new native trees and shrubs.

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Why Forests?

The West Duwamish Greenbelt provides many benefits for the environment and the community. Bald eagles, hawks, foxes, salamander, and other local wildlife rely on the habitat this greenbelt provides.

The plants in the forest help to reduce storm water runoff, filter pollutants in the water, and reduce erosion. As these plants absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the air, they also improve air quality and help reduce the effects of global warming.

And the best part? You don’t have to travel out of the city to experience the great outdoors. Urban forests like the West Duwamish Greenbelt are important community spaces that increase our city’s natural beauty and make the natural world accessible for everyone to enjoy.

History

The Duwamish region is named after the indigenous Dkhw’Duw’Absh (Duwamish) tribe that historically inhabited the Seattle metropolitan area. Before European settlers arrived, this area was filled with tall conifers (evergreen needle trees) such as Western red cedar and Douglas fir. The forest has since been the site of timber logging, gravel mining, a military base, and a proposed highway.

Pollution from industry developments in the area has made the Duwamish River one of the most polluted rivers in the country. The West Duwamish Greenbelt remains an important part of the Duwamish Watershed because it serves as a buffer between the polluted industrial corridor and nearby residences.