Kincaid Ravine Restoration Budget Amendment Proposal

Executive Summary:

Since February of 2014 the UW Campus Sustainability Fund has substantially supported the restoration efforts in Kincaid Ravine (located in the NE corner of campus along the Burke-Gilman Trail and 45th Street Viaduct). The grant funding from CSF has primarily gone to pay for EarthCorps crew days (to perform restoration work), project materials (plants, mulch etc.) and support for student project management and outreach. Over the past two years Kincaid Ravine has been transformed from a neglected urban jungle covered in invasive species and void of biodiversity and trash to an amenity along the Burke-Gilman Trail as you enter campus.

While much has been accomplished already, longer term funding and stewardship is necessary to ensure that Kincaid Ravine continues its trajectory towards a healthy urban forest full of biodiversity and opportunities for education and respite. Currently about 2.5 acres of the 3.6 acre ravine are in active restoration. With the remaining funding available (only 3-4 EarthCorps crew days are left) original targets to restore the last acre of the ravine are not feasible. In order to achieve this goal and others, a budget amendment of $35,000 is being requested from CSF to continue funding restoration efforts through the 2016/2017 academic year.

Below are the major components of the budget amendment request:

  1. North Slope Invasive Removal – This involves phase I invasive species removal and planting of a suite of native species in the last acre of the ravine that is not yet in active restoration. EarthCorps will primarily use mechanical removal of invasive species, though herbicide treatment will be considered as a last resort on steeper slopes to minimize soil disturbance and erosion. No herbicide has been used in Kincaid Ravine so far.
  2. Conifer Tree Planting – A major goal in the restoration of Kincaid Ravine is to re-establish conifer cover. Mature conifer canopy in the ravine is almost non-existent which is representative of a highly disturbed forest. We propose to plant larger (5 gallon pots) conifers to accelerate this process and ensure for better survival of conifer trees. The majority of conifers planted in the ravine have been bare root or in 1 gallon pots with an estimated survival rate of only 50-60%.
  3. Site Maintenance – Maintenance work is essential part of stewardship at Kincaid Ravine. It is typical for restoration sites to require 3-4 years of continued invasive species control to ensure invasive species cover does not re-establish. Maintenance work will be focused around native plants that have been installed to give them a better chance for long term survival. Maintenance will also include some summer watering.
  4. Surface Water Drainage Improvements – Enhancing wetland habitat through hydrology modifications. This will also reduce flooding of the Burke-Gilman Trail.
  5. Student Project Manager Stipend – Explained in student involvement section. Monitoring statistics will continue to be collected on invasive species cover and native species survival and composition. Websites:

Student Involvement:

The restoration work at Kincaid Ravine directly involves graduate students from the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) and the College of Built Environments, undergraduate classes in Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM), the UW Restoration Ecology Network and the University of Washington chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER-UW). SER-UW, the Kincaid Restoration Team and EarthCorps hold 1-2 quarterly volunteer work parties in Kincaid Ravine (over 40 student volunteers participated in the autumn quarter of 2015) and the site will continue to serve as a laboratory for graduate and undergraduate students to study hydrology, soils, ecological restoration and wildlife.

SER and students in SEFS will continue to lead these volunteer opportunities and work to further develop relationships with project partners on campus, such as UW Environmental planners, UW’s landscape architect, UW Grounds crew management and non-profit groups such as Stewardship Partners and EarthCorps, who have been essential in the restoration efforts at Kincaid Ravine. Partnerships with other UW RSO’s have been formed over the past year too, including the Society for Ethnobotany and Sustainability and Stewardship for Northwest Women.

The budget amendment would fund the current student project manager and a student project manager for the 2016-2017 academic year. There has been a precedent in previous funding of this project to give a stipend to project managers of roughly 3,500 dollars for the academic year. The first three student project managers (including the current project manager) have all taken this project on as part of requirements for completing their master’s in environmental horticulture (MEH). This requires enrolling for a minimum 9 independent research credits over the course of the degree. 9 credits with an expectation of 4 hours of work per credit per week multiplied by a 10 week quarter gives you a total of 360 hours. That would equate to roughly ten dollars per hour ($3,500 stipend / 360 hours = $9.72/hour). This funding is not supposed to constitute an hourly rate, but a stipend that compensates partially for the time and energy invested in managing work at Kincaid Ravine.

Responsibilities include managing budgets and grant reporting, updating project partners on work, coordinating and leading volunteer work parties, preparing outreach materials, collecting monitoring data, creating planting plans, coordinating work plans with contractors, and leading “pet” projects such as wetland hydrology assessments, planting of pollinator gardens, “place making” and trail development. The current student project manager will far surpass the 360 hours (and 9 credits) and has actively been involved at work at Kincaid since December of 2014 without taking any compensation to date. Funding a project manager to oversee the work conducted under the budget amendment is also essential for the 2016/2017 academic year.

Ideally there will be another MEH student project manager who has to take credits and report their work to their committee as part of graduation requirements. If not, funding would be used to compensate an SER officer position at Kincaid Ravine. This will require a very detailed job description with responsibilities (similar to the ones listed above) and hour expectations for management work next year. Student project management is responsible for coordinating many student activities at Kincaid Ravine. This includes: Master’s in Landscape Architecture Interns - Two landscape architecture students have been working to put together designs for the “place making” aspects of the ravine.

The design includes trails, interpretive areas and also incorporates plans for restoration and wetland hydrology improvements into the design. UW-REN – The UW Restoration Ecology Network is in its third year working at Kincaid Ravine. This relationship has been hugely successful in bringing in students to the ravine who learn the full process of restoration from site assessment and planting plans to invasive removal, planting and planning for long term maintenance. The student project manager mentors this group and helps facilitate volunteer work parties and secures materials for the UW-REN work site. ESRM- ESRM 100 students are regular volunteers at the ravine. Intro to Restoration Ecology (ESRM 362) also uses Kincaid Ravine as a field trip site when studying restoration projects. SER-UW. The Society of Ecological Restoration UW-Chapter is a student group that is essential for recruiting volunteers and advertising events. SER-UW includes the work at Whitman Walk and the SER-UW nursery.

The partnership between the nursery and Kincaid Ravine has been especially successful over the past year. Plants are readily available on campus and donated to the ravine. Communication with nursery managers is important so they are aware of planting needs in the near future. Student involvement is very important to the work at Kincaid Ravine. This budget amendment would ensure that this connection with the student body would continue while restoration at the ravine is completed.

Education & Outreach:

We already have some pretty well established channels for education and outreach at Kincaid Ravine. This includes the Facebook and SER-UW website pages for Kincaid Ravine (listed in the executive summary). We also use EarthCorps and the SER-UW email list to publicize events at Kincaid Ravine. Kincaid Ravine has also given multiple presentations for CSF events and presented to ESRM 362, UW-REN and SEFS 549. Monitoring data collected last spring and this coming March will be presented at the annual SER-NW regional conference in Portland this April. Kincaid Ravine newsletters are sent out quarterly to an email list of about 40 project stakeholders and volunteers. These newsletters are also posted to the Facebook page and the most recent one had a reach of about 250 people. Outreach goals are meant to inform the campus community and general public about the work at Kincaid Ravine and to make the ravine a more recognizable and utilized open space on campus. Outreach is also an attempt to engage people directly in work at the ravine through volunteer opportunities or internships. For example, the landscape architect interns found out about this work and got involved through SER-UW meetings. With extended restoration work and student project management under the proposed budget amendment these outreach channels will continue to be used to educate people about the ravine and get students involved. Education efforts include interpretive signs, scientific reports and presentations at conferences, classes and student group meetings. The use of “before and after” photos have been particularly useful at showing the difference the work at Kincaid has made since 2014. There is also the original restoration management plan and year 2 management report created by the previous two student project managers as part of their thesis requirements. These documents are excellent for detailing the work, challenges and needs for adaptive management at Kincaid Ravine from year to year.

Environmental Impact:
  • Living Systems and Biodiversity
  • Water
Project Longevity:

We have funding from King Conservation District to have maintenance days at Kincaid Ravine through 2018. This CSF budget amendment would allow us to ramp up work and put the entire 3.6 acres of the ravine into restoration by the end of the 2016/2017 school year. After this we will utilize the King Conversation District grant. After 2018 the goal is that the need for active management in the ravine will be greatly reduced. We have discussed long term stewardship through occasional SER-UW run work parties and a more active partnership with UW Campus Grounds. We will be presenting the work at Kincaid to the Campus Ground gardeners in the spring of 2016. At that time we will discuss ways for grounds to have an active role at the ravine after funding is gone.

Environmental Problem:

Kincaid Ravine was a neglected open space on campus overrun by invasive species and trash from homeless encampments until restoration began at the site in early 2014. The lack of biodiversity (from a plant and wildlife standpoint), degraded wetlands, erosion and public safety were all problems at Kincaid prior to restoration. The project has already seen a transformation from 100 percent invasive species cover to less than 10-15% in most restored areas, and 4,000 native plants have been installed in the ravine. Biodiversity is already much improved at the ravine, and by installing benches and interpretive signs and removing lots of trash and debris the ravine is a much more inviting place. Funding the budget amendment will allow us to continue these efforts into the last portions of the ravine (as delineated by last year’s Memorandum of Agreement signed by the University’s vice president) while also performing better long-term stewardship (maintenance), addressing the hydrology issues and improving wetland habitat and establishing a denser conifer cover. These results are already happening, but we need one last funding push to make sure the entire area of the ravine is moving towards a healthy and sustainable forest.

Explain how the impacts will be measured:

Monitoring efforts will really ramp up this spring now that we are 2 years into active restoration. We will measure invasive species coverage, native species survival, species richness and conduct an inventory of mature trees in the ravine so we have a baseline to measure our canopy composition off of going forward. We will continue to track the number of plants installed at the ravine (currently at 4,000), the number of volunteers and continue to monitor the hydrology of the wetlands (flow volumes, infiltration rates, sediment deposition etc.). Outreach metrics referenced in the Education and Outreach section will be used to quantify how aware the public is of Kincaid Ravine. We have used and will continue to use modeling tools like iTree to estimate the effect the ravine has on carbon sequestration and air quality.

Total amount requested from the CSF: $35,000
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:


ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
North Slope Invasive Removal$1220 per EarthCorps Field Day6$7320
North Slope Invasive Removal$75/hour EC project management12$900
Conifer Tree Planting$1220 per crew day4$4880
Conier Tree Planting$75/hour project mgmt8$600
Conifer Tree Planting materials$7-8 per tree plus delivery $75500$3575
Surface Water Improvements$1220 per EC crew day2$2440
Surface Water Imrprovements$75/hour project mgmt4$300
Site Maintenance$1220/ EC crew day4$4880
Site Maintenance$75/hour project mgmt20$1500
EarthCorps Parking$15/day16 days$240
Taxes9.60% of above costsn/a$2557
Student Project Mgmt stipends$2904 stipend per year2 years$5808

Non-CSF Sources:

King Conservation districtfunds 12 maintenance days at ravine through 2018
Project Completion Total:


TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Conifer PlantingNov-Feb 2016/2017Feb 2017
North Slope Invasive RemovalSummer 2016 through Feb 2017Feb 2017
Surface Water Drainage ImprovementsSummer/Fall of 2016end of 2016
Site Maintenance Spring 2016-summer2017end of summer 2017
Student Stipend2016-2017final payment in early 2017

Project Approval Forms: