BI park plans to keep weeds under control

Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation is taking over managing invasive weeds since Kitsap County lost its weed-eater position.

At its most recent meeting, Natural Resources manager Lydia Roush shared the ways that invasive weeds were managed in 2022 and how staff plans to manage them in 2023.

Herbicide was applied to less than 0.006% of park land in 11 parks. Using manual labor, more than half of which was done by volunteers, more than 340 yards of invasive species were removed. Staff mowed about 34 acres of land in both summer and fall. Staff and volunteers spread over 130 yards of mulch. Staff provided education about invasive and native plant species at over 50 events.

Staff has received a grant from the BI Parks & Trails Foundation to pay to bring goats in again at Blakely Harbor Park to help manage invasive species. Another grant received from BIPTF will fund boot brush stations at several trailheads so that hikers can remove any seeds they may have picked up before traveling to another location.

Roush reviewed ways to manage invasive species such as cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical controls. Chemicals are used only when other methods don’t work, when they are not economical or effective, or when the invasive populations are just too big, a parks news release says. Last year staff asked for an expanded capacity to treat invasive species with herbicides because the county’s noxious weed position was vacant and still is.

In other news, parks attorney Hayes Gori talked about condemnation for an approximately 10-acre property on High School Road adjacent to Strawberry Hill Park. A third-party asked Gori if he could buy 1-2 acres including the existing building, but commissioners said no. Parks did not want to assert eminent domain, but Comcast was more interested in selling to a developer, per documents.

Park Services Division director Dan Hamlin said that staff has all the parts to finish reconstruction of the Blakley Harbor Park restroom that was vandalized. Staff also has been pruning at the Fort Ward Parade Grounds. There will be a pre-application meeting for BI city staff regarding the Strawberry Hill Park turf field. Staff has confirmed with BI Football Club that there is no issue with putting up fencing at Hidden Cove Ballfields as requested by Little League. Permitting is still underway for Williams-Olson Park and is now underway for restrooms at Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve and the west Grand Forest.

Recreation Division director Mark Benishek said the new motor for the lazy river in the Don Nakata pool was installed. Open swims have been averaging about 90 participants, the best since before the pandemic. Dodgeball open gym had 20 participants last week. About 90% of patrons placed on gymnastics waitlists got into programs due to new staff being hired. There was a middle school dance recently at BIRC with 110 kids preregistered, the first such dance since before COVID.

Commissioner Ken DeWitt said that he has some concerns about elected bodies doing a better job communicating with each other, especially the City Council. He would work on that.

Commissioner Janow said that the troll project is back. The Scan Design Foundation has agreed to allow the project to move forward. The foundation will be the lead agency and parks will be hosting the troll.

In public comments, Edith Cobourn supports retaining the courts at Battle Point Park for tennis because they dry faster than the ones at Strawberry Hill Park.