FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Eradication Continues With Grant Received From National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Press Contact Information:
Justin Clary, Interim City Manager/Public Works Director
Ridgefield, WA, June 30, 2006 – Using $12,500 in grant funding received from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the City of Ridgefield is finishing its second year of work with an AmeriCorps team of eight individuals provided through the Northwest Service Academy in support of the ongoing Gee Creek Rehabilitation Project.
Work completed this year by the AmeriCorps team includes continuing efforts to eradicate invasive, non-native weeds from the areas bordering on Gee Creek and re-vegetation of these areas with native plant species. Himalayan blackberry and English Ivy have been cleared and Japanese knotweed treated with a safe herbicide. Native plants, including western red cedar, red osier dogwood, willow, snow berry and wild rose, have been planted in streamside areas. This is another step in a planned multi-year project to improve Gee Creek, its wildlife habitat and public access.
The Gee Creek Rehabilitation Project is a community effort. Project efforts focused on the section of Gee Creek between Pioneer Street and Main Avenue. While much of the work was completed on public property associated with Abrams Park, some work was completed on private land after obtaining permission from the property owner. Mayor Gladys Doriot said, "Gee Creek runs through the heart of Ridgefield. The City is very pleased that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation agreed to support this important project and that the Northwest Service Academy has provided eight hard working individuals through its AmeriCorps services."
Japanese Knotweed was first observed in the Gee Creek System in the vicinity of the upper end of Abrams Park. Japanese knotweed is a highly aggressive invasive species. The plant commonly grows to a height of 7 feet or higher in a single season. The plant spreads through seed, roots and pieces of the plant. To mow it merely prepares hundreds of small pieces to facilitate its further spread. While the plant often develops an extensive root system, the roots are fragile and do not significantly contribute to stream bank stability.
Northwest Service Academy
Northwest Service Academy is an environmental service and leadership development organization that partners with more than 130 community-based organizations, government agencies and schools to address significant environmental issues in communities across Oregon and Washington. Northwest Service Academy’s more than 200 part & full-time AmeriCorps members, with help from countless community volunteers, are able to accomplish a wide variety of projects including restoring watersheds, building trail, teaching environmental education, coordinating volunteer programs and much more.
AmeriCorps, often described as the "domestic Peace Corps," is a national community service program that was established by Congress, with bi-partisan support, in 1993. AmeriCorps provides thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds with education awards in exchange for a year or two of community service.
More than 1,000,000 people have served in AmeriCorps since its inception. AmeriCorps Members are "Getting Things Done," through service in five target areas: Public Safety, Education, Human Needs, Homeland Security and Environment. Across the nation, AmeriCorps members serve daily to revitalize America, one person, one classroom, one community at a time.
AmeriCorps members receive an education award that can be used to help cover the costs of education or to pay back qualified student loans. Full-time members may also receive a living allowance, medical insurance, loan forbearance and/or child-care. Beyond these benefits, members also have the opportunity to gain new skills, take on new responsibilities, make new contacts and know the satisfaction of Getting Things Done.
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The City of Ridgefield, incorporated in 1909, is a rapidly growing community located in northern Clark County, Washington approximately 10 miles north of Vancouver, Washington. Over the next 10 to 15 years, the City of Ridgefield expects to grow to a population of over 15,000 persons with an employment base of over 5,500 jobs. The City has adopted a Council-City Manager form of government. The City Manager acts as the chief executive officer of the City overseeing daily operations, annual budget development and implementation, and personnel. The City Manager works with a management team composed of the Director of Communications and Administration, the Controller, the Community Development Director, the Public Works Director and the Police Chief to insure that community services are provided and that the policy directives of the City Council are carried out in the most efficient manner possible.