Swaner EcoCenter Looking For Persons Responsible For Cutting Down Vegetation
In late September, a number of trees on the Swaner Preserve were cut down. These trees are part of the ongoing restoration at the preserve and serve as habitat for nesting birds, forage for elk and deer and also dampen sound and light pollution away from the Preserve.
The Swaner EcoCenter and Preserve have put the word out on their social media channels asking whoever might be responsible for the damage to step forward. Executive Director Nell Larsen says whoever cut the trees had to jump over a fence with the equipment to do so.
“In an ideal world, we're hoping that the people that did it well come forward and work with us to help restore the area,” Larson said.
While the preserve has cameras – and motion detectors, she says none captured this area at the time it happened.
The trees were cut about the same time a strong windstorm come through the area and knocked down a lot of trees. But when they got on scene, she says they knew it wasn’t wind or beavers that caused the damage.
“We know it’s not beaver because they have a very distinctive method of cutting down trees and vegetation and we know that it didn't happen during a volunteer event just because of the scale of it and you know volunteers wouldn't have equipment to cut down a huge tree,” she said.
The Preserve lost ten narrow leaf cottonwoods - one of them a foot in diameter as well as a handful of willow stands – and a number of native rose bushes.
“It’s really sad to see these things leave,” she said. They were planted almost 20 years ago as part of a restoration project and were really well established and were thriving and in just an instant, we lost them.”
The vegetation she says is important for the wildlife on site...
“Those plantings were designed to provide a little bit of a buffer from the closely neighboring development” she said. “So, for example, they provide a buffer from light pollution - so in the evening the light that's coming out of people’s windows or maybe they have a light out on their deck or Christmas lights on their railing or whatever – trees like this and bushes can help provide a buffer to the wildlife from being impacted by that and that's really important because wildlife’s diurnal cycles impact when they feed, when they breed, when they sing, when they nest, and so a buffer for that is important. The other thing it provides a little bit of a buffer from is actually sound -- so noise that may be coming from the trails or the amphitheater things like that.”
If you have any questions about plantings or if trees are blocking your view – she asks that you contact them first.
“These kinds of things - while it may look like brush or totally natural, there is an intention behind every restoration project we do. and they are really carefully planned and funded by grants and powered by volunteers in many cases... so, please before taking anything into your own hands, please come talk to us.”
She says they have talked to some of the neighbors who live south of the Eco Center along the trail and are working with them. If anyone has any information, please email the preserve here.