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Mville gets $9,800 grant to pull Jennings Park weeds

MARYSVILLE Ask and you shall receive. The Marysville Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded $9,800 from REI to remove invasive weeds from Jennings Nature Park next spring.
The Allen Creek watershed has been plagued with two alien plants that choke the streambed and threaten salmon habitat. Parks workers and community volunteers will spend two or three days to remove Japanese knotweed and Himalayan blackberries; there are already 35 folks signed up for Februarys weed picking.
Ann Boyce is the executive director of the Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force who angled for the money through an REI employee she knew at her martial arts class. The initial request was for $5,000 and the department ended up with twice the amount.
They said We thought it was such a great program we wanted to give you more money, Boyce said. That was a pretty sweet deal.
According to Boyce, Japanese knotweed is the Nightmare on Elm Street weed. Its considered one of the top 10 invasive weeds in the world, Boyce said.
Its crazier than kudzu because some knotweed varieties can reproduce without seeds; breaking off a stalk of the bamboo-like grass can produce splinters and segments that can spout anew. Each plant can grow three feet in circumference each year, and shoots can poke through concrete and roots stretch up to 60 feet.
It multiplies exponentially. In England its considered a hazardous waste and you cant transport it off site, Boyce warned. Are you getting the picture here?
A DNA study in the United Kingdom found that all the knotweed choking streams and rivers could be traced back to one plant, Boyce said, adding, And its all over Marysville by the way.
The patch of ground the grant will help is in Jennings Nature Park, next to the parking lot off of 64th Street NE/SR 528, according to Mike Robinson, maintenance manager for the Marysville Parks and Recreation Department.
Were looking at probably a couple acres, Robinson said. Its the area between the formal park and the Allen Creek corridor.
Some call the plant Mexican bamboo and certain varieties can grow from eight to 15 feet tall. Boyce and the parks department are always looking for more volunteers for next springs clean up, and Boyce encourages private citizens to call if they are concerned about the invasive weeds on private wetlands or creek shores.
After ridding Jennings Nature Park of the unwanted foliage, workers and volunteers will replant the area with beneficial plants that help salmon. Workers from REI and volunteers with the Seattle Audubon Society have already signed on for the work, according to Boyce. More folks are welcomed and they can call her at the task force at 425-252-6686 or the Marysville Parks Department at 360-363-8400.
I think its a good opportunity for a cooperative endeavor, Boyce said.
Its a good project, were really excited, said Robinson.
The department can always use more volunteers; to sign up or to get more information call the Marysville Parks and Recreation Department at 360-363-8400.
Thats also the number to call to pre-register for the first Halloween Haunted Egg Hunt on Monday, Oct. 30. The nighttime event is for teens ages 11 to 15, and cost $3 per head. Kids should wear costumes and bring a flashlight, according to athletic coordinator Dave Hall.

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