Habitat Improvement

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Jan 29

Rappelling for Restoration: Crews Share Steep Slope Safety Skills

Posted on January 29, 2024 at 1:35 PM by Gracie DeMeo

Crew supervisor Dan Nakamura demonstrating knots for the team assembled.

Tacoma crew supervisor Dan Nakamura demonstrates safety knots.

Earlier this winter, restoration crews from Pierce and Thurston Conservation Districts spent the day with the City of Tacoma’s Washington Conservation Corps crews at the McKinley Slope Restoration area overlooking the Tacoma Dome and the Thea Foss Waterway. Through a dense fog, crew members watched demonstrations of knot tying, rope work, and safety instructions for accessing steep slopes for restoration planting. The City of Tacoma’s crew supervisors Kevin Sandin and Dan Nakamura bring over ten years of experience to steep slope restoration and generously shared their best techniques and lessons learned. 

TCD crew members try their hand at erosion control fabric installation after a demonstration from th

Tacoma crew supervisor Kevin Sandin teaches the crew members techniques for installing and planting into erosion control fabric.

By mid-morning it was time to hit the slopes. With continued instruction, the crews planted, mulched, and installed erosion control fabric on the McKinley Slope to supplement previous planting efforts.

PCD’s WCC crew finishes their installation of erosion control fabric to support a restoration planti

 Crew members try their hand at erosion control fabric installation after a demonstration from the City of Tacoma.

Conservation Districts and municipalities partner with a number of restoration crews from organizations like AmeriCorps’ Washington Conservation Corps program, to accomplish on-the-ground conservation. These are the folks who get things done! 

Pierce Conservation District and City of Tacoma’s WCC crews at the steep slope training.

Pierce Conservation District’s Washington Conservation Corps crew finishes their installation of erosion control fabric to support a restoration planting.

Starting this year, the Pierce crew is gearing up to support our Shore Friendly Pierce program, which sponsored this training opportunity. Restoration crews take on all kinds of projects, gaining new skills and experience along the way. Cross-trainings like this one expand the work our crew is able to do for conservation in Pierce County. 

Pierce Conservation District and City of Tacoma’s WCC crews at the steep slope training.

Pierce Conservation District and City of Tacoma’s WCC crews at the steep slope training.