Shelley Lake Shoreline Habitat Management Project

    Much work has been done trying to establish a natural habitat on the Shelley Lake shoreline. When we took over the HOA from the developer, the lake shore was badly infested and overrun with noxious weeds. In conjunction with Spokane County Conservation District (SCCD), a plan for shoreline restoration was developed. Unfortunately, it proved to be overly ambitious. Funding for the Habitat Management Plan was obtained from the developer.
    In 2007, the homeowners turned out in force, weed whacking the shoreline to remove the growth of noxious weeds; scores of bags were filled and hauled to the dump. SCCD next applied an approved weed killer and then seeded portions of the shoreline with native grasses. Planting of native trees and shrubs were planned for 2008. Regrettably, high water over the winter washed away most of the seed or killed the small grass sprouts. We reseeded larger areas in 2008 with similar results. The culprit seems to be the high water levels reached in the spring runoff from Saltese Flats.
    We have continued our weed eradication program. Many of the noxious weeds drop seeds that remain viable for up to 10 years. This requires that our weed eradication program continue for an indefinite period.
    In the meantime, we have started to plant some shrubs and trees, concentrating on the upper bank where we hope to have better success. To improve the chances of the plantings surviving the summer and as required by Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Ecology, we installed nearly a mile of irrigation system around our portion of the lake shore. Establishing vegetation is particularly important on the North bank which encounters erosion and where the soil is the least stable. We will continue our plantings to help hold the banks as well as determine which plantings offer the best chance of success.
    In early 2009, we were able to get the long promised bridge over Saltese Creek finished. This has been a great addition, as it completed the health trail circuit around the lake. This, combined with the arduous work of realigning and widening the trail on the hillside, was a significant improvement. Benches were placed at several spots around the lake and two picnic tables were also added one on the north end and on one the southeast island.
    This year we will be continuing our weed eradication/clearing as well as planting a few hundred plants, trees and shrubs. This is large effort and we will put out a call for homeowners to come help; consider giving a few hours of your time. Our goal is to establish native plants on the shoreline to provide habitat for wildlife, for all in the community to watch and enjoy. It will also help enhance lake water quality.
    Some of the native plants that may be planted include:
         Willow                                      Wild rose                             Austrian Pine
         Hawthorne                              Mockorange                       Douglas Fir
         Chokecherry                          Oregon Grape                    Red-twig Dogwood
         Serviceberry                          Oceanspray                        Wild Red Cherry 
         Elderberry                               Wild Syringa                       Ponderosa Pine
         Bunchberry                             Vine Maple                         Native wildflowers
    One proposed project that may significantly improve the lake is the Saltese Flats Wetlands Restoration Project. Spokane County is considering buying farm land on Saltese Flats and restoring wetlands that were drained a century ago. If this project is implemented, it can lead to a more stable flow of water into Shelley Lake which would promote our shoreline restoration by avoiding the large annual water level fluctuations now encountered. Currently, the Saltese Flats land acquisition is #5, out of 10, on the Conservations Futures list.
    The lake and shoreline provides us with a very unique asset, enhancing our community lifestyle and adding to the value of our homes. Help us protect and improve it.


    Shelley Lake Estates Homeowners Association, PO Box 1872 Veradale, WA 99037 @ 2009. All rights reserved.