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Green Kent Steward secures grant to build wildlife habitat
King County officials notified Green Kent Steward volunteer Amy Schillinger that she secured a $2,400 grant through the “Wild Spaces in City Places” program for a project to increase wildlife snags at Kent’s Green River Natural Resources Area.
Schillinger partnered with Rainier Audubon Society and the city of Kent to write the successful grant to build, install and monitor six artificial “snags” with volunteer help. King County awarded the grant May 1.
City of Kent Environmental Engineering wetland biologist Matt Knox said snags provide critical wildlife habitat, especially for birds that use them as hunting, resting and song perches as well as for nesting.
“Snags are typically old trees in the last stages of their lives or already dead," Knox said. "They provide open, bare limbs, great views and nesting cavities, but they’re in short supply in our natural areas due to the logging and land clearing that has occurred in the Puget Sound over the past 150 years."
The artificial snags will be made using steel poles on the lower sections and a salvaged natural “trees” on the top.
“This design is the brainchild of Roger Orness, a former Boeing designer and avid birdwatcher and Green River Natural Resource Area volunteer," Knox said. "It looks natural, yet will stay standing much longer than a natural snag, which often rots quickly at the base."
Two prototypes were built and installed last year at the natural resources area and are used by many different species of birds.
For more information about the 304-acre Green River Natural Resources Area, visit www.KentWA.gov and search for Green River Natural Resources Area. The Green Kent Partnership is working to restore and manage 1,344 acres of forested park lands and other natural areas. To learn more, go to www.GreenKent.org.