Fay Bainbridge Park Cabins
Materials from old facilities were upcycled to build the cabins.
Ray Williamson Solar Panels
During the summer months the Ray Pool is heated by solar power.
Self watering planters save water and reduce staff time.
Solar Energy at Rotary Park
These panels kick back energy to the grid and there is a vehicle charging station.
LED lighting has been installed at Island Center Hall, the Nakata Pool and the maintenance shop at Battle Point Park.
DISTRICT ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP
Park District Mission Statement
To build a healthy community through effective, sustainable stewardship of the District’s parks and open space, and through the development and delivery of innovative cultural and recreation opportunities.
District Environmental Stewardship Committee Goals:
- Identify and inventory current sustainable practices that demonstrate commitment to sustainability
- Keep up to date with current sustainable trends and access if/how we should implement
- Raise employee awareness regarding sustainable practices
- Develop outreach/accessibility to District’s Environmental Stewardship plan and practices
- Maintain fiscal responsibility – identify grants/funding opportunities
- To enhance our community by understanding and fulfilling our role in the Park District’s mission
Environmental Sustainability Practices — Parks and Open Space Management Areas
Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District manages nearly 1600 acres of parks and open space property, including 13 sportsfields and other sporting facilities, 2 community gardens, nearly 1300 acres of natural areas, 36 miles of trails, 80+ acres of park land with shoreline attached, 9 play areas, and 2 off leash dog areas. The Park District focuses on impacts of managing these properties that affect stormwater, water and infiltration.
The Park District primarily irrigates sportsfields with some additional landscape systems installed, primarily for establishment of vegetation. Park District staff continually seek and attend seminars and courses to stay educated on current best management practices in water use and management. In 2019 Park District staff installed a Central Control system to better manage the use of water at all sites. This system allows staff to monitor and adjust system components remotely, so systems can be turned down or off when unexpected weather happens, saving the water resource from being wasted. The Strawberry Hill Park ballfields utilize an underground catchment system that collects seasonal rain water in the winter and is then used to water the ballfields through the summer. In 2018 self-watering planters were purchased and tested at the Strawberry Hill Administration office and the Aquatic Center, allowing for landscaping to thrive while only using the water the plants need with no wasted water resource. This program is being expanded at the Aquatic Center in 2019.
Water Runoff and Water Quality/Infiltration Management
The Park District utilizes gravel parking lots that allow for infiltration with very limited asphalt or concrete usage for parking purposes. Parking lots at trail heads are kept small and plans are to spread them out throughout the trail system rather than build large parking areas in one location. The Park District boasts a ratio of less than 2% of pervious to impervious footprint on the Island.
Water runoff is encouraged and planned to stay on site and be filtered back into the ground in most of the Park District open space and park properties.
Park District horticulture staff use limited amounts of herbicide and are beginning to try organic solutions to weed management as concerns grow regarding the use of glyphosate and other herbicides. Park District use of glyphosate has reduced from around a low amount of 5 gallons of product per year across the Park District to .2 gallon of product in 2019. In October of 2019 the Park District stopped using glyphosate products. After October 2019 glyphosate will not be used at all, except in extreme cases where weed populations are out of control and all other methods have proven ineffective. Staff works closely with the Kitsap County Noxious Weed Control Program Coordinator on the use of other herbicides in the fight to eliminate invasive weeds on the Island.
Planting plans typically utilize native or similar plants in parks and native plants in open space and natural area sites. The Blakley Harbor Park revegetation project is a great example where a true Integrated Pest Management plan has been implemented with everything from beneficial bugs and goats, to focused herbicide treatments and mechanical mowing being employed in the transformation of that site. Once covered with invasive weeds, much of Blakely Harbor Park is beginning to show the benefits of focused volunteer and staff time over the last decade.
Park District staff employ a sound primary cultural program in the management of sportsfields. Proper mowing, watering, aerating, and fertilizing are essential in the battle to keep fields playable and safe. Secondary practices of over seeding, topdressing, and dethatching are employed annually to fields as needed. Fields are tested annually to determine soil ph and balance of available nutrients. This enables the Park District to utilize a prescription for each field that ensures only required nutrients are placed on each field. Low to no phosphorus is used in fertilizer mixes and staff has experimented with organic fertilizers in recent years as well.
The Park District encourages recycling by utilizing the “no can left alone” practice. Where use is expected to include waste of varying types recycle cans are placed next to garbage cans for everyone’s convenience.
The Park District has initiated a forestry management plan with Chickadee Forestry LLC for the Moritani Preserve. This effort will develop a template for creating recommendations for management of the larger forest land within the Park District. Currently the Park District seeks to save trees in development of park land by selecting only non-significant trees, or diseased or dying trees for removal when adding trails, or other park features during development. Trees are protected during construction activities and trees that are to be removed, after careful consideration, many times are taken down to habitat height and left for wildlife use.
Trails are a very popular use in Park District parks with 36 miles of trails the Park District is constantly working with other agencies and organizations to connect our many trails together. The Park District is proud to be able, through the acquisition of specialized trail construction equipment, to build and maintain these trails in a very environmentally sensitive manner. Trails are constructed without ever leaving the established trail tread footprint making the impact of the construction very minimal. Often once complete the trail seems to have always been there with soft edges and undisturbed shoulders. Wetland crossings are conducted with auger pier piles that allow for the construction of boardwalks without ever putting the equipment on the ground. The equipment builds the structure 10 feet at a time and walks across the wetland on top of the boardwalk being constructed. Trails are no more than six feet wide with many built to four feet or less, minimizing their impact on the environment.
The Park District recently began utilizing battery powered leaf blowers, and other small equipment options. This reduces the amount of emissions discharged. It provides the park user with a much more pleasant experience, while engaged in activity in a park at the same time maintenance staff is present working.
The Park District fleet utilizes biodiesel in the vehicles and equipment that utilize diesel fuel. All other equipment is inspected and maintained on a regular schedule to ensure it is running efficiently.