Cedar River Watershed newsletter, Issue 19
Discover Learn Connect
Connecting people to the source of Seattle's drinking water, inspiring confidence, stewardship and sustainability.
Questions? Comments? Contact Cedar River Watershed Education Center
or (206) 733-9421

Adventures with Watershed Forest Ecologists

Featured news photo

The municipal Cedar River Watershed (CRW) is managed under a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), which protects forests, fish, and drinking water. Rolf Gersonde and Bill Richards, forest ecologists with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), will lead the Adventures in Forest Ecology tour on September 19th. Together, they have spent a total of 30 years working in the forests of the Cedar River Watershed. Here is a sneak preview.

Can you explain what forest ecology is?

Forest ecology is the study of how various forest life forms and interact with each other and the environment. This includes flora, fauna, topography, climate and humans.

How do you know so much about forests? What is your background?

Bill – Early on I worked primarily on endangered species issues in Pacific Northwest forests. That grew into an interest in sustainable forest management at the landscape scale. Most recently I managed the restoration thinning program under the HCP.

Rolf – Since childhood I have explored forests and learned about ecology and silviculture in Germany and California. “Forests are complex and there seems to be no end to learning about them. I love sharing this exploration with people.”

Are there unique characteristics to the forests in the CRW?

Not really, the CRW has classic Cascade mountain tree ecology, dominated by a few species of conifers with a few deciduous species sprinkled in. However, the watershed is a unique protected reserve spanning from the Puget lowlands to the Cascade crest. We have forests ranging in age from about 30 to over 750 years old. We have habitat for spotted owls and northern goshawks, as well as black bears, cougars and elk. Our forest management makes the existing habitat better by increasing structural diversity and connectivity.

What’s your most memorable forest experience?

Bill - I was near a stream in an old-growth forest before dawn on a warm summer morning, listening for marbled murrelets. I got to watch the sunrise and experience the forest awakening. The light and sounds were spectacular!

Rolf - A wet February day in the rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula is a memorable moment for me, big trees and small mosses made a whole forest. It was fantastic!

What will tour participants discover on the field program?

Folks will see how the long history of active forest management in the CRW has impacted forest structure and habitat. We will explore forests of different ages, including our oldest old-growth and younger forest restoration sites where we’ve attempted to facilitate old-growth structure and function.

Rolf and Bill continue to learn about forests from each other, and they look forward to sharing their passion and knowledge with you.

Quick! Register for Adventures in Forest Ecology before all the spaces are gone!

Did You Know?

watershed resevoir

August 12, 2015 is International Youth Day. International Youth Day serves as an annual celebration of the role young women and men play as essential partners in change. It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and problems facing the world’s youth, like clean water protection and conservation.

We invite you to celebrate the teenagers in your community this summer by bringing them along on one of our Signature Watershed Tours to see first-hand where Seattle’s drinking water comes from. Have them bring their digital devices so that they can stay connected and share their experiences with friends and family.

Breaking News

Last Chance

You have 5 more days to use the 2 for 1 discount on The Watershed Tour! Get your discount now >

Upcoming Programs

The Watershed Tour - Saturdays & Sundays from 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Family Watershed Tour - Saturdays & Sundays from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Browse & register for programs >


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Visit Us

Education Center

19901 Cedar Falls Rd SE
North Bend, WA 98045

April thru October
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

November thru March
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area

19901 Cedar Falls Rd SE
North Bend, WA 98045
All Year
6:00 a.m. – Dusk

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Cedar River Watershed  email   |  (206) 733-9421  |  (425) 831-6780