Kincaid Ravine Restoration Project

Executive Summary:


We seek to restore Kincaid Ravine, a 2.2 acre urban forest in the northeast corner of campus. Our project will transform this neglected ravine from a declining and unsafe area to an ecologically healthy campus forest. This work will increase native species biodiversity, and enhance the ravine’s ability to perform important ecosystem services. It will also create an upland forested outdoor laboratory for academic exploration on main campus, as well as a space for students to engage with the natural world just steps from their residence halls.

Project Goals

1. Ecological restoration of Kincaid Ravine through removal of invasive species and re-establishment of appropriate native plant communities.

2. Engagement of students and academic units in both the initial restoration and long-term stewardship in order to create learning opportunities and environmental awareness.

Key Stakeholders

This project is being designed as a partnership between Martha Moritz (student project manager), Howard Nakase- UW Grounds (land manager), UW Botanic Gardens (faculty/administrative sponsor unit), and EarthCorps (outside expertise on restoration and major volunteer event coordination). Other project stakeholders in support of the restoration efforts include: Kristine Kenney,(Campus Landscape Architect), Josh Kavanagh (UW Transportation), Mike Ward- Seattle Department of Transportation (adjacent land owner), Kern Ewing and Jim Fridley (UW faculty members), the UW Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity (key volunteers), and a variety of other Registered Student Organizations (RSOs).


Project Phases

Planning - Spring and summer of 2013. We will lay the groundwork for success by: cementing important partnerships and conducting critical outreach with UW staff, academic units, RSOs, and other stakeholders for the initial restoration and long-term site stewardship; developing a restoration design; conducting baseline ecological monitoring; and preparing to launch the restoration work beginning in Autumn 2013. Prior to beginning the restoration efforts, the homeless encampments will be addressed in partnership with the UW Police Department, the Seattle Police Department and UW Grounds to remove any trespassers and clean up the associated debris.

Phase I - Autumn, Winter, Spring of 2013-2014. The work will involve major removal of invasive species, installation of hundreds of native plants, and other restoration work (e.g. slope stabilization, installing mulch, and creating maintenance access). This will involve EarthCorps crews and hundreds of student volunteers.

Phase II - Summer 2014-2016. The work during this time involves two to three years of maintenance, including ongoing invasive species monitoring which will guide continued removal of undesirable species regrowth, care for installed native species, and replanting when necessary. This phase will be performed in partnership with UW Grounds, EarthCorps, and student volunteers from academic units (e.g. UW Botanic Gardens) and RSOs.

Phase III - 2016 and on. The primary task will be minimal and ongoing invasive species maintenance. Based on the knowledge gained from decades of restoration experience in Seattle parks, we believe robust stewardship during the two years of Phase II will set the site on a trajectory for success and minimal maintenance in Phase III.

Student Involvement:

Our project will provide a great variety of opportunity for student involvement, including one student project manager, leadership opportunities for RSOs and a Fraternity, and significant volunteer opportunities. From the creation of the Kincaid Ravine as an open space decades ago, students have played an integral role in the protection of this urban forest. Below, we describe the history of this involvement, as well as the current opportunities for student involvement this project would provide.

Education & Outreach:

For our project to succeed, extensive outreach and educational opportunities are essential. Outreach is built into our work recruiting volunteers for restoration, and is critical to maintain the visibility of the ravine. Educational opportunities are incorporated into our work parties, and are inherent in the service learning partnerships we are developing with academic units. Our specific approaches for the various phases of the project are described below.


Planning Phase and Phase I Outreach Approach:

Partner with key academic units and other groups for volunteer recruitment, including: the Carlson Center, Program on the Environment, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, the UW  Restoration Ecology Network, and the UW Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association.

Develop and implement informative presentations to appropriate classes for volunteer recruitment and general outreach and education, including ESRM 100, ENVIR 100, restoration courses, and more.

Seek an article in The Daily in Autumn 2013, just as the project begins, to promote project visibility.

Formalize the partnership with UW Society for Ecological Restoration (SER-UW) and Phi Kappa Theta, who will take on long-term stewardship in future phases; engage EarthCorps volunteer specialists to provide technical assistance on this effort.

Phase II and III Outreach Goals:

Continue established volunteer outreach and student involvement on campus through the developed partnership with SER-UW and Phi Kappa Theta.

Environmental Impact:
  • Living Systems and Biodiversity
Project Longevity:

Environmental Problem:

Kincaid Ravine is one of the last remaining pieces of undeveloped land on campus, and one of the last such tracts of land in the entire University District. It plays an important role in the campus and neighborhood ecological landscape -- providing critical ecosystem services such as stormwater retention and purification, air filtration, and habitat provision for native plants and wildlife. Equally important, the ravine has the potential to offer students the experience of “nearby nature,” whether for recreation or academic exploration.

Unfortunately, after decades of neglect and a variety of deleterious human impacts, the ravine’s ability to provide these important ecological and social services is seriously threatened. Like many forested greenspaces in Seattle, the ravine’s canopy is made up of deciduous trees that are coming to the end of their natural lifespan, and its understory is dominated by invasive plants that smother new native trees and shrubs. On its current course, the ravine’s ecosystem will decline precipitously over the next generation.                               

We are proposing a large restoration project to reset the ecological trajectory of the site, and to engage students in stewardship. Through a year of intensive work removing invasive species and planting a variety of appropriate native plants, and two to three years of intensive maintenance, we put the ravine on a course to sustain itself. By involving hundreds of students in this work, the ravine will serve as a “campus forest,” providing educational and recreational opportunities for years to come.

Explain how the impacts will be measured:

We will monitor the site’s ecological conditions before and after the project:

During the Planning Phase, we will perform baseline ecological monitoring to determine the exact composition and abundance and native and invasive species, through line transects and photo-points.
We will repeat this monitoring process after the restoration work in Phase I  in order to determine our immediate impact.
By documenting the change in species inventory of both native and invasive vegetation, we can provide quantitative evidence of increased native biodiversity in the Kincaid Ravine.

This data will be used to guide the maintenance in Phases II and III. The invasive species data will be important when creating a long-term stewardship plan. Specific management goals will be set for individual invasive weed species in order to prioritize the maintenance in areas where the greatest ecological need is present.

Total amount requested from the CSF: $70,179
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:


Stipend for Student Project Manager6,50016,500
Phase I Restoration Expenses
-EarthCorps Crew days for invasive removal1,5971219,164
-EarthCorps volunteer management Event Coordination1,59757,985
Contingency Budget for Phase I Restoration
-Potential for 5 additional crew days, additional supplies, etc7,985
Phase II Restoration Expenses
-EarthCorps Crew Days for invasive removal or volunteer management1,5971219,164
Outreach Materials for Student InvolvementNANA1,200
Mulch$23/yard23 yards3,450
Other restoration materials300
Contingency for Phase II Materials2,500

Non-CSF Sources:

Project Completion Total:


Please see the timeline in our attached supplemental materials.TimeframeEstimated Completion Date