East Wenatchee’s landscape began a transformation in 1908 with the completion of the Columbia River Bridge and its life-giving irrigation pipeline. Like Wenatchee before the Highline Canal, the east side was characterized by sagebrush, rabbit brush and other tough shrub-steppe plants that could survive through hot, dry summers and only a few inches of rain a year. Irrigation changed this, not only for orchards but for small residential lots where gardens and flowering shrubs now could thrive.
Today, only a small percentage of the land within East Wenatchee’s boundaries remains as dry shrub-steppe terrain. Unfortunately, some of this land now is dotted with unwelcome invasive species such as knapweed and the goathead plant (tribulus terrestris). One such plot is located in the 1600 block of Sunset Highway and belongs to the Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.