LETTER: Resident has concerns about sodded grass at Seahurst Park Beach

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Friday was the ribbon cutting for the restored Seahurst Beach and the weather and Puget Sound were beautiful. And while it is nice to see the park open again, it raises the question as to whether we as humans have still gotten the restoration of this beach correct.

In the 1970’s, we were told that Seahurst Beach wasn’t proper and it needed to have a seawall installed to make it suitable for nature and human use. Now in 2013-2014 humans have again put their hands to this beach to correct what they think they did wrong in the 1970’s, so that all will be right with the beach again and the salmon will return.

While this restoration is a good start, it raises some questions. In viewing the beach today, things still don’t seem to fit the pattern. I can’t remember a natural beach along the Pacific Coast or Puget Sound that has a green Fescue lawn planted right up the the Ordinary High Water Mark Line. Yet Seahurst Beach has at least three planting areas like this. These sodded grass areas will take lots of water, fertilizer, care and money to maintain in the hot summer, besides, lawns/grass were labeled the “devil plantings” for shoreline areas during the Shoreline Master Plan. Citizens who lived in the shorelines were vilified for having lawns and told that they should be replaced with native plantings. So why did the city put sodded grass in this newly restored natural beach? Maybe it needs to practice what it preaches for all the other shorelines? These areas could have been a good native planting demonstration for the public to learn from.

I would hope that in the near future the city will restore these areas with drought resistant native plants found along natural Northwest beaches.

– Robert Howell

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Sept. 6, this was posted on the Seahurst Park Facebook page:

“Recently a resident inquired whether the new design would necessitate the use of chemicals in the new lawn areas. The Parks Dept has never used fertilizers, herbicides or any other pesticides in the turf areas at Seahurst and it doesn’t plan to start doing so. Also, the project had planned to use a native turf mix for the playground lawn area but it was not available for several more months. So that the park could be as user-friendly as possible when the park reopened, it was decided to go with what could be installed rather than not finishing certain areas until next spring. For some park users, the turf adjacent to the playground serves a functional purpose in that it provides a space for spreading a blanket to sit down and watch the kids or have a picnic lunch, or to lay down on a towel to soak up the sun. The Parks Dept plans to start over-seeding to slowly convert these turf areas to more native grasses, like what is in the north area of the park. Incidentally, the project also removed 75% of the lawn areas that were previously there, and has planted several thousand native plants.”

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2 Responses to “LETTER: Resident has concerns about sodded grass at Seahurst Park Beach”
  1. Tricia Falcon says:

    I agree completely – even from an aesthetic viewpoint, it looks completely unnatural

  2. Touche says:

    If Mr. Howell is so concerned about ‘green’ lawns up to the waterline, perhaps he and his “eco minded” neighbors should look in their own backyards?

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