Please bring your family and friends to a volunteer English Ivy pulling work party this Saturday, March 16 starting at 9 AM on the pedestrian ramp that connects Oak Street behind Country Aire Natural Foods in Port Angeles (Oak St. and Second St.). English Ivy smothers slope-stabilizing native plants and the berries on its vertical growth can spread this noxious weed to other locations in our city. Manually pulling English Ivy is no small task and we really need YOUR help! We will work together to safely remove as much English Ivy (and trash) as possible from the city-owned portion of the slope behind Country Aire that connects Oak Street. We have approval from the city for this work. Please bring weather-appropriate layers of clothing, heavy-soled shoes, leather gloves (for additional “protection” against possible sharps, the ivy itself, and the unlikely possibility of Giant Hogweed), hand pruners, limb pruners or small hand saws (some of the ivy is >2” thick), hard rakes, tarps (to carry ivy vines up/down the ramp), and cardboard boxes (to place between the ivy and the soil for ivy that is to be composted on site under the ramp). Possible city council pullers include Deputy Mayor Kate Dexter and Councilmember Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, so join us and bend their ear on additional ways to decrease our carbon footprint and improve our city! The Lower Elwha Klallam tribe (LEKT) revegetation team is donating their time, resources, and some native plants including red flowering current, mockorange, red elderberry, snowberry and ribes divaricatum. Peninsula Urban Forestry is lending us some equipment. Lazy J Tree Farm has been kind enough to offer to compost some of the ivy itself though chipping and baking in their compost facility! The city has also agreed to allow us to pile the ivy under the ramp and compost it on site. All of these groups are donating their time, expertise and resources for FREE because they want to make the slope safer from potential landslides, enhance wildlife habitat, decrease our carbon footprint (by composting rather than trashing the vegetative material), and preserve biodiversity. My name is Carolyn Wilcox and I am the owner and wildlife guide for Experience Olympic. I started living in Port Angeles in 2007, and I started my business in 2013. I have a Master’s in Environmental Science from the University of Nevada, Reno and my thesis dealt with plant physiological ecology – specifically desert shrub roots in the Mojave Desert. In case you are wondering how I decided to focus on the Oak Street Ramp, I would like to take a moment to describe some background. In August, 2018, I noticed that native trees and shrubs along the ramp had been razed or topped, and only English Ivy (Hedera sp.) was left. Several native plant species (Bitter Cherry - Prunus emarginata, Salmonberry - Rubus spectabilis, Nootka Rose - Rosa nutkana, and Thimbleberry - Rubus parviflorus) were razed or topped. Native Roses are referred to as “slope-stabilization workhorses,” as originally published in the Seattle Times on March 10, 2012 (https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/if-you-use-native-plants-theres-hope-for-slopes/) and should be purposely planted on slopes in order to protect against erosion and slope destabilization. Native plants maintain slope stabilization for free, while also providing beneficial habitat for birds and other wildlife. Native plants assisting in slope stabilization on the pedestrian ramp were already being smothered by English Ivy and although the roots of the native plants have not yet been removed, healthy stem and leaf growth will struggle without the removal of the more competitive and established English Ivy. Removal of English Ivy is paramount. English Ivy is listed as a Class C noxious weed by Washington State Noxious Weed Board (https://www.nwcb.wa.gov/weeds/english-ivy) and listed by the National Park Service (NPS) as an Exotic Plant in Olympic National Park (https://www.nps.gov/olym/learn/nature/english-ivy.htm). According to NPS, "the easiest treatment of English ivy is hand-pulling. To help revive smothered trees and shrubs, the strangling ivy vines are simply cut near the ground. While hand-pulling, the vine is followed back to its primary root and carefully removed completely." English Ivy is choking our native slope stabilizing plants, destroying our riparian corridors, and is a blight on the city of Port Angeles. English Ivy can smother and kill trees. As a wildlife guide, the Oak Street ramp used to be one of the easiest locations to view the elusive Mountain Beaver (Aplodontia rufa). Sadly, Mountain Beaver have deserted their burrows near the ramp since August of 2018 because there is no longer as much food. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mountain Beaver find the majority of their food and water within 150 feet of their burrows. I have watched these unique rodents on numerous occasions from the Oak Street ramp as they gather food and my participants have even photographed them. Large numbers of mountain beavers are often trapped to prevent damage to newly seeded or planted commercial forests despite being an important prey source and improving soil quality.