Have you ever seen Victor Falls? Have you ever been to the mouth of Fennel Creek? Have you ever taught second graders about the trillium? Do you ever drink water from Fennel Creek aquifer? Do you like to walk or ride bikes?
I was at the July 23 Council meeting when Councilman Donn Lewis respectfully reported that the previous evening he had attended the Bonney Lake Fennel Creek Habitat Team meeting at the Bonney Lake Library. The team is about maintenance of Fennel Creek from the headwaters all the way to where it joins the Puyallup River in a nature wise environment; basically, keeping it as much as possible environmentally sound ensure the waters are clean, running through with no disturbance.
He said one of the opportunities for the city is the Fennel Creek Trail, Safe Routes to Schools as they call it. The first mile is under construction and should be open in one or one-and-a-half months. Shortly it should be ready to go. Paving is done behind Victor Falls Elementary and is progressing down the hill and of course the bottom part is behind the subdivisions down near Angeline Road.
Lewis pointed out a lot of people don’t know Fennel Creek is the one that goes over Victor Falls. Many just think Victor Falls is the name of an elementary school; they don’t even know the falls are there.
He shared this is an opportunity for the group to get the word out at their booth at Bonney Lake Days to educate people whether they are from the city or other areas. There will be maps, displays and kid friendly exercises to engage youth while their parents look at the bigger profile things. There will be great displays and a chance for us all to educate ourselves.
We can benefit in the future from tourism. Victor Falls is not developed, but you can get to it if you are careful.
We get fresh water from our city well on Fennel Creek. It is very important we all know what it is.
The high school is looking forward to the trail for jogging, exercises and PE classes, running up and down the hill.
Lewis thinks as we get more exposure to the creek we are going to get more and more people interested in Fennel Creek. People will say “where does Fennel Creek go? Oh that’s over by Kelley Farm” or “oh that’s over by Eastown.”
He said he is looking forward to future meetings. He lives near Fennel Creek behind Victor Falls Elementary. He has a desire to ensure that habitat is preserved as well as the park like atmosphere. He felt WSDOT did a good job by Kelley Farm near the creek reworking to prevent washout and creating stability that is a benefit to the City. The group is looking for new members so visit their booth at Bonney Lake Days and stay tuned.
After listening to Councilman Lewis’ report I subsequently contacted Marian Betzer, who is the go to person about the Fennel Creek Watershed, from its headwaters in Eastown to the mouth at the Puyallup River. She has taught me and many others of all ages about the importance of the Fennel Creek. She told me the new BL Fennel Creek Habitat Team is off to a good start thanks to the keen interest and participation from Donn and Mary Lewis and others.
Like Winona Jacobsen, who at that same council meeting spoke in favor of the Fennel Creek Trail portion of the six year transportation improvement plan. 2013 Victor Ceola Community Volunteer Award winners Judy Eagle and Victor Cissell were also in attendance at the council meeting, wearing their t-shirts in support of the Fennel Creek Trail. Victor and Judy have welcomed many visitors to their home on Fennel Creek, from state senators to the Victor Falls second graders who visit annually in the spring to learn the importance of the watershed.
The group is aligned with the National Wildlife Federation. Betzer indicated the group will be putting out a press release soon. Look for volunteer sign-up sheets at their booth at Bonney Lake Days.
Remember when I talked in one of my first columns about bird counts in the WSU forest? Well, part of the beauty of Bonney Lake and the Fennel Creek corridor is the flora and fauna who we share our homes with. Coexisting with nature and being eco-friendly is important. Turn your yard into a haven for wildlife by providing food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young, your garden can join the more than 150,000 certified wildlife habitat sites across the country. I did this online at www.nwf.org. Then I gave a copy of my certificate to Marian Betzer to be part of the habitat team.
To certify your yard, you need to provide the following:
Food sources such as native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries and/or nectar.
Water sources can be from a birdbath, pond, water garden and/or a stream like Fennel Creek.
Cover examples are a thicket, roosting box, brush pile or mature trees.
Providing places to raise young could be in dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond or the shores of Lake Bonney, Lake Debra Jane or Church Lake.
Certification can be as little as about $25 up to a higher amount if you wish to get a sign for your yard. Why not consider registering your yard, print up an extra copy of the certificate and deliver it to Marian at the booth at Bonney Lake Days? Or at the very least, provide the habitat and be a good steward. The birds, bees, beetles and bats of Bonney Lake will thank you merely by their presence. And I cannot wait to walk on that new trail.