SEATTLE — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Natural Resource managers will begin phase 3 restoration work along the Lake Washington Ship Canal’s Fremont Cut in October by removing 18 poplar trees in the historic colonnade.
“We’ll begin planting replacement trees in spring 2019 as the next step of phase 3,” said ship canal Natural Resource Manager Connie Grant. “The new trees will be about 12-feet tall and typically grow 2 to 3 feet per year.”
The schedule is being coordinated and a portion of the Burke-Gillman trail may temporarily close during the removal. “Public safety is a primary concern of the Corps,” said Grant. “We want everyone to be safe during this important work.”
The Fremont Cut rehabilitation plan began in 2001 and is broken into four phases, which are spread out through 2030.The Corps undertook an extensive coordination process regarding the plan with federal, state, local, tribal, business, community groups and interested members of the public in 2000 and 2001.
“The Locks’ natural resource staff is very committed to the environmental stewardship of the lands we oversee for the nation,” said Grant. “Our plan to restore the aging poplar colonnade in a historically appropriate manner is comprehensive, practical and environmentally sensitive.”
The Corps received federal concurrence from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the State Historic Preservation Office during coordination.
This comprehensive plan has four phases:
The Corps operates the Lake Washington Ship Canal, including the Fremont and Montlake Cuts and the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard. The Lake Washington Ship Canal Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and must be maintained according to federal preservation standards.
Phase 1 occurred in 2001. Resource managers removed 22 poplars and planted 53. Two existing young trees were retained.
Phase 2 occurred in 2010. Resource managers removed 32 poplars and planted 40. Eight existing young trees in the area were retained.
Phase 3 is still being coordinated but could begin by October 8. In this phase, the Corps plans to remove and replant 18 poplars. Several existing young trees in the area will be retained if feasible.
Phase 4 is planned for 2030. The plan is to remove 22 poplars, replant 21 and retain five existing young trees.