Here are some of the nearly 1,000 douglas fir, noble fir, cedar, and hemlock tree seedlings potted by the Busch family and donated to the Lower Elwha tribe for use in the Elwha Watershed Restoration project. Photo by Pam Busch

Here are some of the nearly 1,000 douglas fir, noble fir, cedar, and hemlock tree seedlings potted by the Busch family and donated to the Lower Elwha tribe for use in the Elwha Watershed Restoration project. Photo by Pam Busch

Busch family celebrates 10 years helping Elwha with tree donations

Family has donated more than 5,000 trees to the Elwha watershed restoration project

About ten years ago, Sequim’s Pam and Bruce Busch decided that digging up all the fir tree seedlings in their yard wasn’t worth the effort to just throw it all away. But instead of letting their yard get overtaken by trees, they did something productive and donated to the Elwha Watershed restoration project.

Tribal representatives recently picked up nearly 1,000 seedlings of mostly Douglas and noble fir trees, with a number of cedar and hemlock seedlings in the mix as well.

According to the Busch family, that brings their 10-year total to more than 5,000 trees donated to the tribe.

“The Busch family have been an amazing partner in our work,” said Kim Williams, the revegetation supervisor of the Lower Elwha Tribe.

“Their trees have been an amazing supplement to all our planting for the (Elwha watershed) project.”

This year, according to Williams, the Busch family’s trees are heading to the Pysht River, east of Lake Crescent; until now, all of their trees had gone to the area around the Elwha River itself.

The Busch family’s tree-raising methods are fairly simple. They keep an eye out for seedlings starting to sprout in their yard, then mark them with small flags to make tracking their growth easier.

Once they’re large enough to pull out without killing the seedling, they get transplanted into composted soil in 1-gallon pots donated by the former McComb Nursery, the New Dungeness Nursery and Around Again.

More basic care follows while the health and stability of the seedlings is evaluated, and then it’s time for Lower Elwha Tribe watershed restoration crew members to come get the trees.

When asked about their inspiration to give their trees to the Elwha restoration effort, Bruce mentioned reading about the then-impending removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams and the needed replanting efforts downstream of them afterward.

The trees play a crucial part in the revegetation phase of the restoration project going on around the Elwha Watershed, which started in 1992 when Congress passed the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act. That action allowed for the removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, a pair of hydroelectric dams built in the early 1900s, to help fuel growth in the area as the timber economy boomed.

The dams also blocked the migration of salmon that had long used the river for spawning, and flooded historic cultural sites of the Lower Elwha Tribe.

The planning process for the dams’ removal was lengthy, but finally the Elwha dam was removed in 2012, and the Glines Canyon Dam came down in 2014 in the largest dam removal project to date in the U.S.

Now the tribe’s focus is on rebuilding the fish habitats in the area, which Williams says that the trees the Busch family provides are important for.

“Our main goal is to create and support fish habitats along the rivers,” Williams said. “And conifer trees like firs and cedars give vital shade and wood to the river itself and the ecosystem around it.”

The Lower Elwha Tribe plants a healthy diversity of plants around the rivers they work on, Williams said, and “reliably getting hundreds of conifers” donated each year is a huge help to their efforts.

She also said that the tribe is always looking for volunteers to help with the watershed restoration project, including people to help them with removing invasive plants and replanting more helpful vegetation.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Williams at kim.williams@elwha.org.

Here are some of the nearly 1,000 douglas fir, noble fir, cedar, and hemlock tree seedlings potted by the Busch family and donated to the Lower Elwha tribe for use in the Elwha Watershed Restoration project. Photo by Pam Busch

Here are some of the nearly 1,000 douglas fir, noble fir, cedar, and hemlock tree seedlings potted by the Busch family and donated to the Lower Elwha tribe for use in the Elwha Watershed Restoration project. Photo by Pam Busch

More in Life

Get It Growing: Grow small fruits for a big reward

Small fruits are so named because they produce small edible fruits on… Continue reading

Milestone: Peninsula College professor Brock picked for ‘Thinkerer’ honor

For making an impact in both the real and virtual worlds, Renne… Continue reading

Port Angeles Symphony redesigns new season: Five double-concert dates set

The Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra’s concert season will look different come this… Continue reading

Albert Haller Foundation names 2020 scholarship recipients

The Albert Haller Foundation last week announced the recipients of the organization’s… Continue reading

School milestones — May 20, 2020

Tingelstad earns Phi Kappa Phi honor Kim Tingelstad of Sequim was recently… Continue reading

Pioneer group awards scholarships

A pair of Sequim High grads-to-be are getting a boost from local… Continue reading

Parenting Matters: Words, words and more words

By Cynthia Martin For the Sequim Gazette Words are one of the… Continue reading

Milestone: Kiwanis Club donates to Sequim Food Bank

The Kiwanis Club of Sequim-Dungeness recently donated $1,350.00 to the Sequim Food… Continue reading

Milestone: Olympic Medical Center honors credentialing specialists, financial team

Olympic Medical Center leaders honored seven employees at a board of commissioners… Continue reading

Most Read