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Thursday, June 05, 2003

Open Space Trust Board members present
Jim Owens, Chairman, Ira Appelman, Vice Chairman, Bill Duvall, Gail Magnuson, Rita Moore, Jim Pearman

Open Space Trust Board members absent
Marguerite Sutherland

Pete Mayer, Director, Parks and Recreation, Paul West, Arborist


There were no public appearances.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of May 6, 2003 were unanimously approved with the following changes: Jim Pearman should be added to the trustees present.

Old Business

Forest Management Plan Update
Paul has been working with the GIS analysis of tree canopy. He thinks the analysis looks accurate based on his walks through the park checking the maps he generated. He has asked the City's GIS analyst for statistics on quadrants.

Paul presented illustrations of three management scenarios for Pioneer Park--Deep Forest, Purely Native, Basic Canopy. He described each of these strategies. These are prescriptions that can be applied to parts of quadrants or an entire quadrant. The question the Board needs to answer is: What is the character of forest that we want?

In the discussion that followed, several perspectives were expressed. Several people thought that the Forest Management Plan should represent a vision for the park, mapping the steps towards that vision several years in the future that represent good stewardship. Trustee Appelman raised the question about whether the available resources should restrict the goals. The discussion of this was not conclusive.

Trustee Duvall clarified that the plantings along the east side of Island Crest Way represent a Deep Forest strategy. Trustee Appelman wanted to know what the independent variables are that we are managing for in each strategy. The variables discussed were the type of canopy tree being planted or fostered, the amount that invasives would be controlled, and the type of understory that would be fostered in each scenario. Through this discussion it became evident that some trust members felt strongly about controlling invasives thoroughly, rather than allowing them to remain, as in the Basic Canopy strategy. Paul pointed out that areas of the park not receiving intensive treatment still might be treated in a cursory way to prevent further deterioration. Some felt that the Deep Forest was too expensive and that a mixed conifer/broadleaf forest was desirable; however, there was also the vision for the park over the longer term moving towards a Deep Forest character. Out of the feedback given by the trustees, Paul suggested a hybrid strategy that would be like the Purely Native scenario with some conifer planting in areas where conifers would be viable.

There was some discussion about where to apply these strategies. Trustee Duvall suggested that the NW quad is used the most and therefore should be high priority. Trustee Moore proposed an opposite tactic of preserving the best habitat. Trustee Owens suggested that Paul come back with suggestions for where to apply different strategies. He suggested that these strategies could be implemented through adaptive management and modified as the Trust board evaluates the results.

Ravine Trail East Mercer Way Trail Connection
Paul requested that the Trust become co-applicant with Youth and Family Services for a proposal to Starbucks Coffee requesting a $7,000 grant for the ravine bridge. The grant would pay for a 10% contingency for the construction and allow the building of the connecting trails to the bridge. The trail coming in from East Mercer Way has not been cleared or graded for a pedestrian trail. On the south side of the ravine the trail will have to cross through the edges of a wetland and some boardwalk or turnpike will be needed. This grant will take care of those issues. The Voice Program, a youth community service program, which is part of the City of Mercer Island's Youth and Family Services Department, would be a co-applicant. The bridge contractor is specially qualified to work with volunteers in building the bridge and is happy to do so. This is a great opportunity for the youth of Mercer Island to work on a substantial construction project. It is very likely that both the south Mercer Island Starbucks and the Tabit's Square Starbucks will support this Neighborhood Grant. The Youth and Family Services Foundation will act as fiscal agent for the grant.

Paul advised that item #2 on the application requires "A Creative
Demonstration of why your organization and neighborhood want and need this project." Paul asked whether someone from the Board could produce this. The Board discussed options for meeting the criteria of #2 on the application. Paul can provide the board with a schematic of the trails. Chairman Owens, Trustee Duvall, and Trustee Moore decided to meet at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10, to develop the response to #2 on the Starbucks application.

Motion by Trustee Moore that the Trust Board and Youth and Family Services apply for the Starbucks Neighborhood Park Grant. Trustee Duvall seconded the motion. Trustee Appelman commented that he would need more time to study and evaluate the application before he would be comfortable voting for this motion. Motion approved with Trustee Appelman voting no.

Paul advised that he is working with the Parks Maintenance Department to get the ravine included in their watercourse variance which is being submitted to the Planning Commission for the bridge and in-stream work to be done this summer.
Permits have been submitted to the State of Washington for working in the watercourse.

Conservation Corps Grant
Paul advised that he and the Director are talking about applying for a grant for Washington State Conservation Corps workers to work on Mercer Island. Washington Conservation Corps has a grant deadline soon, and the City can get matching grants to get a 6-month to 1-year conservation crew to work here.

Trillium Progress Report
Trustee Moore advised that there's been no progress. The deadline for information to be submitted to the recreation guide is July 1, 2003. Chairman Owens will re-send his information to Trustee Moore. It was agreed that the Board should review the Trillium before it is submitted to the recreation guide or the web site.

Priorities Planning Discussion
The two highest priorities previously determined by the Trust Board are the Forest Management Plan and the Ravine Trail. Both of these projects are being worked on cooperatively between the City and the Trust Board through Paul. Chairman Owens reminded the Board that its third priority was education programs and developing relationships with constituencies such as Mercer Island service clubs. He encouraged the Board to use the summer months to explore possibilities of how to develop these goals. The Board decided to table this discussion until its next meeting.

Summer Celebration Booth
Volunteers from the Board are needed to work shifts on July 12, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and July 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The space will be shared with the Ivy Brigade. Staff will print out the trails map and there are still copies of the Natural History of Pioneer Park available to sell.


The meeting adjourned at 10:00 pm. The Board will meet at July 1, 2003 at 6 p.m. at the Marilyn Hathaway memorial bench on SE 68th Street in the northwest quadrant of Pioneer Park. The Board agreed to meet on July 17, 2003 at the City's Council Chambers at 7:30 p.m.

[Important Note: The proceedings of the Open Space Trust Board meeting were recorded on tape and are filed in the Parks & Rec Department. The complete agenda and official minutes of this meeting are also filed in the Parks & Rec Department.]


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