Brightwater’s meadows grow greener

The Brightwater Trails area in Woodinville has been popular for families, dog walkers, birders, and runners since it opened. Three miles of trails have connected people to nature and art for over 10 years. This year, the trails provided a welcome breath of fresh air for people looking to get some socially distanced exercise outside.

Now, trail users will pass by a much greener landscape. King County’s gardeners will implement more sustainable maintenance practices in meadow areas. Aside from a strip by the trails, meadows will be allowed to grow longer, with less frequent mowing. The meadows will take on a more lush, natural look, with benefits to wildlife and our goals for addressing climate change.

Mowing less often has several benefits:

  • Longer grass holds more carbon dioxide (CO2, a greenhouse gas). Less frequent mowing reduces fuel use, emissions, and equipment wear and tear.
  • Deep grass reduces evaporation and water needs. Grass blades shelter one another and protect the soil from drying effects of sun and wind.
  • Reduced mowing lets native meadow plants like lupine thrive.
  • A lush meadow hosts beneficial insects that provide food for wildlife and help control pests. Frogs and other small wildlife find shelter in deep grass.

Reduced mowing is already helping our local wildlife! One trail user called to report a Savannah Sparrow nest in the lush grass. She and her grandson were thrilled to learn that updated mowing practices will protect this bird and her chicks.

Wherever we live, we can all help in some way to confront climate change. Here are a few resources to help you learn about what King County is doing, and what you can do.