Camas Meadows Monitoring at Burke Museum

Project Size: Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $9,000

Letter of Intent:

Please accept this letter of interest as an initial proposal to the UW Campus Sustainability Fund to support a program for monitoring the establishment of the prairie plant communities recently installed as part of the landscape for the new Burke Museum. The design and planting of this native habitat type on campus offers an excellent learning opportunity to for students, faculty, and Burke visitors and employees to learn more about rare and endemic ecosystems.

In a recent survey, it was estimated that in the early stages of Euro-American settlement in the region there was more than 5,000 acres of prairie habitat of what is today King County. While not a dominant ecosystem type within the region the prairies offered critical habitat for many plant, insect and animal species, while further providing resources for nourishment of native communities and peoples. Today, very little of the historical extent of prairies in the region remains, with only a few scattered remnant patches of any significance in size and the plant communities of both have been heavily impacted by the encroachment of invasive grass species.

The landscape design for the Burke Museum included eighty thousand native plants. Most of these plants were propagated by locally collected seed. For example, much of the camas seed was collected on a small island in the San Juans and the bulbs were nurtured for up to four years in a nursery prior to planting. Our team, which includes students, a faculty member, and the landscape architect of the project propose to monitor the establishment, growth, and plant community development of the habitat over a 3-year period. The results of the monitoring research will be a findings report and recommended maintenance manual to be shared with UW Grounds and Facilities and other agencies and design teams interested in understanding how to establish and nourish this rare habitat type.

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Jocine Velasco