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The Healthy Lands Project (HeLP) provides invasive weed control and stewardship assistance to keep open space healthy for people and the environment. HeLP controls invasive weeds on both private and public lands in cities and unincorporated areas throughout King County, primarily on recently protected conservation lands and open space. The project's goal is to increase the success of conservation by providing invasive weed control when it is most needed. In addition, through workshops, technical assistance, tool loans and other resources, HeLP makes it easier for county residents to practice stewardship on their own lands.

News and events

On November 21 in White Center, HeLP is hosting a community open house about the restoration project at the Seola Pond green space and a free workshop on invasive weeds. HeLP will hold a volunteer planting event at Seola Pond on December 7, where neighbors can get hands-on experience planting native shrubs and trees and removing weeds to help make the green space a better place for people and nature. Volunteers at the work party will receive a free native plant to take home. Kids and families welcome.

Community Workshop and Open House
Thursday Nov. 21, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Grace Church, 10323 28th Avenue Southwest, Seattle, WA 98146

Seola Pond Work Party
Saturday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Seola Pond, 30th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 105th Street, Seattle, WA 98146

These events are part of HeLP's effort to support the community-led project to restore Seola Pond. In addition to the community events, HeLP contractor DIRT Corps will be removing invasive weeds this fall to make room for more native plants. For more information about events in White Center, contact Marta Olson, Education Specialist. For information about other upcoming events, Healthy Lands Project plans and how to participate, contact Dan Sorensen, HeLP Project Manager.

Healthy Lands Project crew controlling invasive plants

Resources

Project overview

King County’s Healthy Lands Project (HeLP) provides invasive weed control assistance and stewardship planning for open space and conservation lands. The goal is to reduce the impacts of invasive and noxious weeds in order to keep open space healthy for people and the environment.

The project is aimed at lands protected beginning in 2016 through conservation easements and current use taxation programs such as the Public Benefit Rating System (PBRS) or through open space acquisition. HeLP serves properties in cities and unincorporated areas of King County, and works on both public and private lands, in cooperation with landowners.

Why HeLP?

An example of a healthy landscape
King County has embarked on a bold mission to save the last, great places in the county for future generations. Known as the Land Conservation Initiative, King County has joined with cities, businesses, farmers, community groups and non-profits to preserve the most important resource lands and open space opportunities that remain. Farmland, forests, natural lands, rivers, trails and urban green space are all being protected as quickly as possible before the opportunities are lost.

However, invasive plants can create a major challenge for conservation on these lands. They can overwhelm native trees and plants that provide habitat for wildlife, protect air and water quality, and provide natural places for people to enjoy. Working farms and forests can be overrun by invasive and noxious weeds that are costly and difficult to control. The significant impacts of invasive plants and noxious weeds can undermine the benefits generated by the region’s investment in conservation.

In particular, for lands that are not currently in an open space or conservation program, the initial cost of controlling invasive weeds can be a significant hurdle for an individual, organization or agency considering conservation. HeLP lowers that hurdle by reducing invasive weeds to a manageable level and setting in place a long-term stewardship plan to sustain the benefits of open space protection for future generations.

How does HeLP work?

Noxious weed crew heading in to work
Trained crews map and control invasive plants in open space, trail corridors, riparian, and forestry lands in cities and unincorporated areas that are in the process of being protected (or have been recently protected) through acquisition, conservation easement or other property owner agreements. HeLP also controls infestations on immediately adjacent infested lands and rights-of-way to prevent weeds from re-infesting protected lands. HeLP controls both state-regulated noxious weeds and non-regulated invasive plants that impact natural areas. Control work is done in coordination and cooperation with property owners and public agencies and includes education and stewardship planning to ensure long-term maintenance and protection of the lands.

What is the cost to the landowner?

There is no charge for HeLP services. The only expectation is that after the weeds are controlled, the landowner will work with HeLP or project partners to implement a stewardship plan to sustain the benefits of the invasive weed control. To help property owners achieve the goals of the stewardship plan, HeLP can provide assistance such as plants for restoration, training on weed control and restoration, permitting assistance, equipment loans and help organizing community volunteer events. The key to the success of any invasive plant control work is long-term stewardship.

How does HeLP achieve equitable outcomes?

Equity is a cornerstone of HeLP. Top priority is given to areas of King County where people have limited access to open space, a high level of poverty, or more pollution, all of which impact their health and well-being. Contractors are also required to find ways to improve access to jobs for people of color and underserved communities when recruiting crew members.

How is HeLP funded?

King County funds the Noxious Weed Control Program primarily through the Noxious Weed Assessment, a per parcel charge applied to all properties in the county, as authorized by the Washington Noxious Weed Law, RCW 17.10. In 2019, each parcel was assessed $5.32 plus 38 cents per acre. A portion of the noxious weed fund supports HeLP, with the remainder going to other work of the Noxious Weed Control Program to implement the State Noxious Weed Law.

Conservation is good, but conservation with HeLP is better!

HeLP delivers significant short-term reduction in noxious weeds and a long-term legacy of stewardship to maintain benefits over time.

A diverse landscape of forests, roads, valleys and mountains

HeLP is a project of the King County Noxious Weed Program. For information, contact Dan Sorensen, HeLP Manager, at 206-477-9333 or email helpweeds@kingcounty.gov. To learn more about noxious weeds, visit King County Noxious Weeds.

Download a printable version of the information on this page: Healthy Lands Project Information Sheet

Alternative formats available: 206-477-4800  TTY Relay:711

Para la traducción de esta información en español, envíe un correo electrónico a noxious.weeds@kingcounty.gov.

Related information

Related agencies

Languages

Find information on noxious weed identification and control in multiple languages:


Program offices are located at 201 S. Jackson St., Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98104. To contact staff, see the Noxious Weed Control Program Directory, send an email, or call 206-477-WEED (206-477-9333).