The Broad Branch and Linnean Streams have become a lot more friendly to visitors of the human and the wild variety since their restoration in 2014. An effort now under way will make the area even more welcoming.
Katrina Weinig moved to the Forest Hills neighborhood in 2014 after ten years managing a farm near Lexington, Virginia. She has raised grant money to develop the area into a community park and diverse wildlife habitat, as a project of the Forest Hills Citizen Association under its nonprofit arm, the Forest Hills Neighborhood Alliance. Weinig brings a great deal of experience to this project as a certified horticulturalist and principal of Down To Earth Designs, providing landscape design, restoration and hand pruning services throughout the Washington DC region. – Marlene Berlin
by Katrina Weinig
The District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) has awarded a $19,960 RiverSmart innovation grant to the Forest Hills Neighborhood Alliance, in partnership with Rock Creek Conservancy and Casey Trees, for restoration of wildlife habitat in the area around Broad Branch and Linnean Streams. The site has also received a Casey Trees community tree planting grant. Together, these grants will build upon the award-winning, $2.2 million stream daylighting and restoration work that was completed in 2015 by DOEE and the National Park Service (NPS) in the upper Broad Branch Stream and its Linnean tributary.
Under the RiverSmart grant, the partners will first develop a comprehensive design and planting plan that will beautify the site, increase woodland habitat, and support biodiversity with native trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses. The plan will be developed by Darlene Robbins, who holds a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Sustainable Landscape Design, in consultation with NPS and Casey Trees. It will identify planting areas, as well as trails and seating areas.
Casey Trees will then host a community tree planting in November 2016, at which volunteers will plant 100 trees and shrubs. Rock Creek Conservancy will host a second volunteer planting of an additional 75 to 100 shrubs, as well as perennials flowers and grasses, in spring 2017. These plantings will attract and support birds, pollinators, and other wildlife.
There are other volunteer opportunities at the site, too: Rock Creek Conservancy will also host monthly invasive species removal events, as well as periodic trash cleanup events. The Conservancy has already removed bush honeysuckle from the site. Future events will focus on removing burning bush eonymus, porcelain berry, wine berry, and other invasives.
Additional activities under the RiverSmart grant will address litter and dog waste; public education around stormwater management, invasive species, and native plants; and citizen science projects to collect data on bird and amphibian species at the site.
A community-wide information and volunteer sign-up event is planned for fall 2016. The project’s manager, Katrina Weinig, hopes that community members of all ages will become involved in making this site beautiful and inviting to both humans and wildlife, and a true asset to the neighborhood.
Information about volunteer opportunities will be posted within the next few weeks on the Rock Creek Conservancy’s website, rockcreekconservancy.org, and on Forest Hills Connection.