Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph E. Montemarano, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
EVERETT, Wash. – Naval Station Everett sailors and civilian personnel volunteered to help restore habitat at Union Slough, removing invasive plant species, on April 19. The project was part of the Navy’s celebration of Earth Day during the week.
Twenty-five Navy volunteers joined with participants from Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and EarthCorps. Union Slough is one of the natural areas along the Snohomish River included in the Port of Everett’s environmental restoration project.
“It’s important that sailors understand the connection to the habitat near their base,” said Thomas Dildine, NSE environmental program director. “This site is part of the Snohomish River, which connects to Puget Sound right next to the Navy piers. By being out here, we can better understand the marine and bird life and their habitat needs.”
Volunteers spent the day removing blackberry bushes and turning the uprooted plants into compost to improve growth for native plants. Invasive plant species, such as blackberries and tansy ragwort, overtake native plants that provide habitat for local fish and birds. By removing the invasive species, volunteers are helping to restore the land back to its natural habitat.
“In the Navy, one of our jobs is to be good stewards and protect the environment that we train in,” said Capt. Mark Lakamp, NSE commanding officer. “Being out here today is one way we can contribute positively toward the environment.”
In addition to supporting the local environment, NSE held various Earth Day activities on base to raise awareness on how military and civilian employees could make a difference at work and at home. Sponsoring organizations provided educational information on the many ways to reduce waste, reuse materials, and recycle. Guest speakers were also invited to discuss unique fish, wildlife, and bird presence at NSE and the Navy’s Jim Creek Radio Station site that includes a protected old growth forest.
NSE has partnerships with both natural and cultural resource agencies to cooperate on protecting natural and cultural resources, while enabling military readiness.