West Seattle, Washington
On this Earth Day, congratulations go out to the local students who competed in this year’s Environmental Slam, presented by the Washington Foundation for the Environment this past Thursday night at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Each team gave a five-minute presentation about a local/regional environmental issue and what people can do about it. Above is West Seattle High School senior Annie Means, overall winner, whose presentation was about trash trouble in Seattle city parks. Her prize: $750 to be donated to the environmental group of her choice. She’s heading to Whitman College next year and was pronounced by the judges as “our activist of the future.”
The audience was brought into the presentation by the People’s Choice winners, “Killer Whales or Killed Whales?”, by these Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) students:
The presenters: Violet. Avery, Shona (who played a killer whale), Julia, and Frances. They had interview questions for Shona and orca-related quiz questions for the audience (also involving the salmon on which orcas depend.)
Also from Explorer West, Sofia and Peter with “Another One Bites the Coal,” looking at coal’s impact on Puget Sound:
Explorer West students Cece and Faye presented “Fleeced,” about microfibers in the food chain:
“Rescue” was the presentation from Explorer West’s Paloma, Ruby, and Grace, focusing on the importance of animal rescue and adoption:
A team from Madison Middle School competed, too: Tim, Ethan, and Staten examined how pollution affects Puget Sound:
The rules, judges, and full list of participating schools (including two from outside West Seattle) are on the event webpage. Explorer West teacher Tim Owens, who’s on the WFFE board, coordinates the slam.
Two hours down, four to go for the spring Recycle Roundup, coinciding this year with Earth Day. The Fauntleroy Church Green Committee partners twice a year with 1 Green Planet, which has multiple trucks on site to collect a long list of recyclable items (see it here). No matter what the weather, every year hundreds of West Seattleites drop off tons of recyclables, but it’s a bonus that this year the sky’s clear. Recycle Roundup continues until 3 pm, but organizers hope you will NOT wait until the last minute, as the lot (9140 California SW; map) doesn’t have much room for a queue.
Coast to coast and around the world, the Earth Day Groceries Project is celebrating its 25th anniversary today. It was founded by now-retired teacher Mark Ahlness at Arbor Heights Elementary, where he and students posed with some of the bags they decorated in 2010:
Mark shared this year’s official news release with us:
On April 22, 2018, the Earth Day Groceries Project will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Starting out in 1994, with 43 schools participating, the activity has grown and brought together thousands of schools and millions of children and grocery store shoppers worldwide in an annual event on Earth Day.
Here’s how it works. School children decorate paper shopping bags from a local grocery store with inspirational Earth Day messages and artwork. The bags are then returned to the store, which uses them to bag groceries for shoppers on Earth Day, April 22. Students become teachers in their communities.
*“Thanks to Kroger…our students have the opportunity to do their part along with our school’s white paper and newspaper recycling program to show that they care about the environment” – S.L. Lewis Elementary, College Park, GA
*“Our efforts were written about in the local newspapers and carried on 3 local TV stations. The third graders were even proclaimed “Home Town Heroes.” – Kunkel Elementary, Middletown, PA
*“On the trip to deliver the bags back to the grocery store, we cleaned the neighborhood sidewalks and boulevards.” – Victory School, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About the project website: At earthdaybags.org, interested schools can find information on how to participate, helpful tips, video presentations, desktop/phone backgrounds, award certificates, and more. Participating schools are asked to send in a report describing the effort at their school.
Visitors to the website can read through thousands of amazing stories and pictures from schools and children who care about the celebration of Earth Day. From all over the world. For the past 25 years.
We don’t have a list of local participants for this year so we don’t know if there are any local stores where you can get a special bag today, but thought you would want to know that a West Seattleite-founded project has continued going strong far beyond the peninsula.
Start your Earth Day with some help around the spot where Harbor Avenue, SW Avalon, and Spokane Street meet. Tools, gloves, coffee, snacks provided! In case you haven’t already seen it in the WSB calendar, here’s the reminder from organizer Roxane Rusch:
You are INVITED to Our Neighborhood EARTH DAY Harbor Avalon work party!!!!!!!
This is a work party to celebrate Earth Day and maintain the work completed through our Neighborhood Street and Park fund grant project.
Please join our party and help us positively and uniquely brand this West Seattle gateway area for all to enjoy!
Don’t worry about RSVP’ing if you haven’t already – just show up to help!
From the historic headwaters of Longfellow Creek at Roxhill Bog (above), to the shore of the Duwamish River at T-107 Park (below), hundreds of volunteers spent much of their Saturday taking care of the river and its watershed.
This was the spring edition of the twice-yearly Duwamish Alive! multi-site mega-work party, and it was grander than ever. T-107 was the site of the opening ceremonies, starting with Duwamish Tribe chairperson Cecile Hansen welcoming volunteers and other visitors:
She and other opening speakers talked for about 18 minutes, all of which we recorded on video:
Toward the end, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition leader James Rasmussen spoke of naming anything that you plant – and that is exactly what one of the other speakers, Mayor Jenny Durkan, did minutes later, with Duwamish Valley Youth Corps members, as they prepared to plant a tree:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) April 21, 2018
Rasmussen said that Durkan was the first mayor to participate in a Duwamish Alive! opening ceremony, and that Fred Felleman, a few speakers before her, was the first Seattle Port Commissioner to do so. Their presence – along with new Port executive director Steve Metruck, also in our video – was welcomed by Rasmussen as more signs of a new era of collaboration between the city, the port, and community advocates such as his organization. “This city’s wealth was built on the back of the river … it’s time to start giving back,” Rasmussen said. Shortly afterward, it was time to get to work.
T-107 and Roxhill Bog were two of a dozen sites where volunteers worked today. But it’s far from the only chance to help Seattle’s only river and its watershed – there are many work parties throughout the year (many featured on our Event Calendar), and Duwamish Alive! has an October edition too.
Quick reminder while you have time to collect whatever you might want to drop off – the spring edition of Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church is tomorrow (Sunday, April 22nd – Earth Day!), 9 am-3 pm. No charge to drive up/ride up/walk up to where 1 Green Planet will be set up in the church lot (9140 California SW) – just check the list (PDF) to see what they are and aren’t accepting this time.
Judy thought you might want to know, if you are heading to Alki any time soon, that the sign above was up for a while this morning after Seattle Parks sprayed herbicides in the 2800 block:
This morning the parks department sprayed roundup and another chemical on the new landscaping by the obelisk. Picture attached. The worker pulled up the signs after 30 minutes for the inexplicable reason that people panic if they forget and leave them too long. Talked to Brad, the parks employee, listed on the sign. He said he was spot hitting the weeds that popped up. Noticed on the sign afterwards that he also sprayed the sidewalk.
The city has said it is working to use less herbicides and pesticides.
It’s a special spot in West Seattle, unlike any place in the entire city … Schmitz Preserve Park, a 53-acre forested oasis with old-growth trees, streams, and more. So special that it draws visitors from many miles around … including this high-school group from Scriber Lake High School in Edmonds:
Their visit to the park on Tuesday with teacher Chris Brown included work to assess the value of a tree – from a variety of viewpoints. And studying their value leads to appreciation for preserving them. Brown has a special link to this forest – he’s a member of the Schmitz Family, whose donated land created the park more than a century ago. And so another Schmitz Family member dropped by the park to say hi while Brown’s students were doing their work in the woods:
Standing in front of Brown are, from left, Vicki Schmitz Block, Jack Block, and Bruce Stotler – the Schmitz Park neighbor who made news recently for selling his home to the city, far below market price, so it will become part of the park when he’s gone. Its enduring importance was exemplified by the students’ project; Brown explained that the students spent 10 weeks “combining environmental science with art, PE, and (other disciplines).” After we talked with them briefly, they continued northbound on the main park trail to Alki:
If you’ve never visited Schmitz Preserve Park – its main entrances are on the east side of Alki Community Center and from Admiral Way east of the historic bridge. (Here’s a map.)
It’s your one-week warning – 9 am-3 pm next Sunday (April 22nd), Fauntleroy Church‘s Green Committee presents the spring Recycle Roundup, with partner 1 Green Planet on site to receive your drop-off recyclables. Check the updated list (PDF) before you gather up what you plan to take down to the no-charge event. It’s in the lot on the north side of the church, which is at 9140 California SW, and organizers request that you come as early in the six-hour window as you can, to avoid big backups toward the end.
(WSB file photo from past Duwamish Alive! volunteering)
Are you ready to help along our area’s river and in its watershed? The spring’s biggest day of volunteering is getting close. Here’s the announcement of what’s planned:
A popular community Earth Day event, Duwamish Alive!, is restoring local native habitat on Saturday, April 21st, at 16 urban parks and open spaces to support the environmental health of the river and wildlife. Starting at 10:00 am, volunteers at multiple sites throughout the watershed will participate in a day of major cleanup and habitat restoration in the ongoing effort to keep our river alive and healthy for our communities, salmon and Puget Sound. The Green-Duwamish River is home to the critical Chinook salmon which the Southern Resident Killer Whales depend upon for food.
Duwamish Alive! is a collaborative stewardship effort of conservation groups, businesses, and government entities, recognizing that our collective efforts are needed to make lasting, positive improvements in the health and vitality of the Green-Duwamish Watershed. Twice a year these events organize hundreds of volunteers to work at multiple sites in the river’s watershed, connecting the efforts of communities from Seattle to Auburn. This year, Duwamish Alive is supporting Auburn City’s Clean Sweep event by helping restore habitat in Fenster Park along the Green-Duwamish River.
Volunteers’ efforts include a river cleanup by kayak, salmon habitat restoration, native forest revitalization, and creating the Delridge Wetlands outdoor classroom and bioswales for Louisa Boren STEM K-8.
A special visit from National Wildlife Federation’s Ranger Rick at Delridge Wetlands [5601 23rd SW] and Pigeon Point [20th SW/SW Genesee] for families is scheduled between 10:00 and 11:00, to thank youth volunteers for their efforts in helping local wildlife.
To volunteer, visit www.DuwamishAlive.org to see the different volunteer opportunities and RSVP to the
contact for the site of your choice, or email email@example.com.
The day will open at T-107 [4700 W. Marginal Way SW, at 9:45 am] with a special welcome from the Duwamish Tribal Chair Cecile Hansen and Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire speaking about the dramatic reduction of air pollution from maritime-related equipment in the greater Puget Sound region (Puget Sound Maritime Air Emissions Inventory, PSEI). Much of this is pollution that has affected Duwamish communities in the past. The latest results show that air pollutant emissions decreased by up to 97%, depending on the type, including a 69% reduction for fine particles that are harmful to human health. Steve Metruck, the Port of Seattle’s new Executive Director, will present about social equity and the EPA’s near port projects.
We covered the port’s announcement last month here.
By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog
Sixth-grade science students from Our Lady of Guadalupe School, with teacher Jackie Ellis, descended on lower Fauntleroy Creek this morning to do the annual stonefly exoskeleton count and learn about other research on the creek.
Stonefly larvae are a major food source for juvenile salmon and an indicator of water quality. This is the time of year they take wing, leaving their exoskeletons behind.
Teams counted a total of 42 exoskeletons on trees, bridges, fences, and the ground in the study area. Last year’s count, done nearly a month later, was 28. Torso size averaged a typical 4 cm.
Environmental analysts with Seattle Public Utilities were on hand to summarize the city’s ongoing bacteria study in the creek, which is monitoring electrical conductivity and temperature to help identify sources of water pollution.
“In terms of what we’re sampling, Fauntleroy Creek has some of the cleanest water in all of Seattle’s urban creeks,” analyst Chapin Pier said. “This student research provides additional data, from another perspective.”
Dennis Hinton and Pete Draughon told the class about the spring out-migration study that’s been going on since 2003. Using soft traps in the upper and lower creek, these volunteers have caught and released 18 smolts so far as they head to saltwater, compared to 15 this time last year. Monitoring will continue through May.
Next up on Fauntleroy Creek will be Salmon in the Schools releases involving at least 750 students. The first of 20 releases in Fauntleroy Park will be April 26.
The watershed council’s Fauntleroy Stewardship Fund has received $4,275 in donations since March 1 to enable timely work to keep this outdoor classroom safe for students and healthy for aquatic life. The fund’s initial goal is $30,000.
Two weeks from today, you’ll be able to drop off recyclables at Fauntleroy Church, during the spring Recycle Roundup. There’s been one change since we first published the list of what they will accept this time, so take a close look before you finish rounding up whatever you plan to drop off: Instead of “flat screen” computer monitors, 1 Green Planet will only be accepting LCD computer monitors. Here’s the updated list (PDF). Dropoff hours will be 9 am-3 pm Sunday, April 22nd, in the lot outside the church at 9140 California SW. As usual, no charge, but the church’s Green Committee always appreciates donations.
(Raw Seattle Channel video of mayor’s announcement on Queen Anne this morning)
“Congestion pricing” – tolls on city roads – is getting all the buzz from the mayor’s announcement today about what she wants to do to fight climate change. But that’s only part of the announcement. Here’s the news release from the mayor’s office:
Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced new bold actions in Seattle to reduce carbon pollution from our transportation and building sectors and make Seattle a national leader in fighting climate change. As part of Seattle’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, this set of short-term and long-term actions provides a roadmap for our City to act in the absence of federal leadership, particularly on leading contributors of greenhouse gases: transportation and buildings.
“Seattle can lead the world by taking bold action to reduce our carbon footprint while protecting our communities from the worst impacts of climate change. We are already seeing these impacts – from wildfires that choke our air to extreme rain events flooding our streets – and they are being disproportionately felt most in communities that are already disadvantaged,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our actions to reduce emissions from transportation and buildings will help create a healthier and more just city, with a stronger economy.”
Two-thirds of Seattle’s climate emissions result from road transportation. While Seattle is leading to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips, this strategy identifies actions that will reduce the climate and air pollution from Seattle’s cars and trucks by using Seattle City Light’s carbon-neutral electricity, including:
Improving mobility through congestion pricing in the upcoming years. At the conclusion of a new SDOT-led study, the City will develop a strategy over the next few years to address congestion and transportation emissions through pricing, coupled with investments in expanded transit and electrification in underserved communities.
Electric vehicle readiness ordinance for new construction. Mayor Durkan will transmit legislation requiring the inclusion of electric vehicle infrastructure in new construction or renovation that includes parking.
Green Fleet Action Plan update. Already a national leader in building a clean energy fleet, the city will update the Green Fleet Action Plan to phase out the use of fossil fuels in all fleet vehicles.
Ride share and taxi fleet electrification. The City will work with stakeholders to develop recommendations for electrifying all rideshare vehicles and taxis in Seattle. …
After transportation, building energy is the second largest source of climate emissions, which is why Mayor Durkan has introduced two bills to unlock more energy efficient buildings:
Creating the City’s Most Sustainable Buildings. Announced by Mayor Durkan in her first State of the City, this pilot will offer additional height and floor space incentives for up to 20 major renovations in urban centers for significant upgrades in energy and water use, stormwater management, and better transportation efficiency based on the standards to create carbon neutral buildings.
Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaS). Expand City Light’s successful, first in the nation, pay-for-performance energy efficiency pilot program to eliminate barriers that keep building owners from investing in deep energy efficiency upgrades. …
With many buildings and homes still using fossil fuels as a primary energy source for heating and cooling, the new actions that address building energy use include:
Oil to heat-pump conversion. Develop a funding strategy to accelerate the transition of 18,000 homes from heating with oil to an electric heat pump, including financing the switch for low-income residents.
Extending and expanding municipal building energy efficiency program through 2025. Currently on track in meeting the 20 percent by 2020 goal, Mayor Durkan will nearly double the funding through 2025, aiming to cut energy use and carbon emissions nearly 40 percent in our buildings. …
Finally, as part of the City’s ongoing commitment to leading by example, the strategy calls for City departments to assess the GHG emissions and cost impact of City plans, policies, and major investments. The Office of Sustainability & Environment will be responsible for tracking the progress of these climate initiatives and reporting back to City Council.
The ellipses above mark three spots where we omitted non-mayoral quotes for length. The full news release, including those quotes, is here. You can also see even more details in this PDF that is linked in the release (elaboration on congestion pricing, for example, is on page 14):
SIDE NOTE: The congestion-pricing study was mentioned here while the council was going through the budget process last fall, specifically in relation to whether it might help with diversion once the Highway 99 tunnel opens. The only other mention of the phrase in our past coverage was 10 years ago, also during discussion of the post-Alaskan Way Viaduct future.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
On a morning when rain was busily washing the air clean, the Port of Seattle hosted an event in West Seattle to talk about progress in reducing air pollutants related to maritime industry.
The occasion: The newest report from the Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum, described in the announcement as “a committee of seven ports, six government agencies, and three industrial partners” (most listed here). They first started tracking maritime-related emissions in 2005, and the report shows some major decreases.
To showcase the newest results of the every-five-years study – the Puget Sound Maritime Air Emissions Inventory – the port invited media to the Terminal 5 administration building to hear from reps of many participating organizations and to see examples of what’s being used to take less of a toll on the local air.
Those examples included semi-trucks powered with alternative fuel (top photo) and jars showing the dark heavy-oil fuel that’s declining in use, next to lighter fuel whose use is on the rise:
Opening the event, Seattle Port Commission president Courtney Gregoire described the report as “good news.”
She says it’s a “voluntary effort” that launched more than a decade ago. It “informs our strategy about future investments” among other things, and she says it is a reminder that “climate change is real.” This is the third inventory since 2005. The international standard for fuel has factored into it.
This is the first one that has tracked “black carbon” though it doesn’t remain in the atmosphere for long. And she says it shows good news though what they’re serving has grown, including the Seattle cruise boom. “It comes with a cost,” of course, she notes.
Exactly one month from today, Fauntleroy Church hosts the spring Recycle Roundup, a free drive-up/ride-up/walk-up dropoff event for a wide variety of recyclables. But this time around, the company that partners with the church, 1 Green Planet, has made some changes to what it’s accepting, so you’ll want to take a close look at the new list if you’ve been saving up items to drop off. In particular, notes Judy Pickens, “Books are now on the list, for instance, but freezers and refrigerators are not any longer.” The hours are the same – 9 am-3 pm, Sunday, April 22nd, in the lot at 9140 California SW.
Our area’s precious green spaces can’t be taken for granted. In realization of that, the Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund was announced earlier this month, and we have an update from creek steward Judy Pickens:
The fund to enable ongoing stewardship of Fauntleroy Creek and Fauntleroy Park now has $3,600 toward its initial goal of $30,000.
The Fauntleroy Watershed Council announced the fund on March 1 in the wake of ever-decreasing grant funding for restoring and maintaining Seattle’s natural areas. EarthCorps, an international conservation training program, is accepting tax-deductible donations on behalf of the council and its trainees will do the lion’s share of the work that’s funded.
“This early response is greatly encouraging,” said Peggy Cummings, a member of the council’s executive committee. “Our main concern is being able to maintain restoration already done at public expense so those investments aren’t lost.”
Ensuring that the creek is safe for students is a particular focus for donations. Volunteers will be hosting 19 salmon releases starting April 27, which will bring an estimated 750 students to the watershed.
Find out more about the fund at the council’s table at Tuesday night’s Fauntleroy Food Fest, 6 pm in the Hall at Fauntleroy, or at www.fauntleroywatershed.org.
The FFF is the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s annual membership meeting – community members are invited to enjoy tastings from local restaurants, to find out more about what’s going on in the community – with a multitude of groups (like the Watershed Council) and agencies participating – and to renew FCA membership. (The Hall is at 9131 California SW.)
Two ways to go green this St. Patrick’s Day (next Saturday, March 17th) without leaving the peninsula:
BEACH CLEANUP: The photo is from Puget Soundkeeper, which invites you to help clean up Alki, for the benefit of life offshore as well as onshore:
Marine debris includes human-made trash, litter, discarded equipment, and other solid material that enters our waterways and oceans and ends up floating out to sea or fouling our beaches and shorelines. Ninety percent of marine debris is plastic, which breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, accumulates pollutants, and ends up in wildlife and in the food we eat. Through ingestion, strangulation, entrapment and injury, marine debris kills and injures thousands of animals every year. Due to the long life of these products, litter and debris will continue to harm the environment until someone comes along to clean up the mess.
Soundkeeper holds cleanups around the Puget Sound region to get trash off our shorelines and out of our waterways, and works to support policies that can move us towards more responsible consumption habits and waste management infrastructure. Cleanups are open to everyone and only require a willingness to get dirty! Soundkeeper will provide trash bags, grabbers, and gloves and will help properly dispose of trash when finished.
Time: 10 am – 12 pm. Location: Alki Beach (1702 Alki Ave SW) The 37 bus runs adjacent to the beach. Free street parking is available along Alki Ave SW. Volunteers will meet up at the Statue of Liberty Plaza near the beach.
What to bring: Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. Wear athletic clothing that can get wet and/or muddy, and bring an extra set of clothes if you wish to change afterwards. Old tennis shoes are a good option if you don’t have water shoes. If it is sunny, consider wearing a hat and sunscreen and bring plenty of water. All cleanup equipment is provided.
Waivers: Everyone will need to sign a Puget Soundkeeper waiver. Participants under 18 will need a guardian to sign the waiver on their behalf. To RSVP: Call 206-297-7002 or email Hillary (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GO GREEN WITH SWS @ C & P: Then on Saturday night, as announced by Stu Hennessey of Sustainable West Seattle:
Sustainable West Seattle is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and the saving of a West Seattle green space and public gathering area, C & P Coffee.
Celebrate the GREEN and the victory of C & P Coffee keeping their very public, open Green Space and valuable community small business. This is a victory for all of us! There will be music and the usual menu from C&P available for purchase. We will be glad to talk to you about being GREEN in West Seattle.
Saturday, March 17th, from 6:30 to 9 pm at C & P Coffee, 5612 California SW.
Lots of nature fans in WSB-land. If you’re among them, this volunteer opportunity from Seattle Audubon just might be something you would enjoy:
Help Sanislo and Lafayette students have FUN!
Finding Urban Nature (FUN) is Seattle Audubon’s free environmental education program in Seattle Public Elementary Schools. The program needs volunteers at Sanislo and Lafayette Elementary Schools for lessons in April and May.
FUN introduces 3rd and 4th grade students to the nature in their own schoolyard habitat, and examines how each organism depends on others to survive. Volunteers lead small groups of four to six students through a series of outdoor investigations, which teach kids to use their senses and scientific practices to discover the importance of urban biodiversity firsthand.
Volunteers devote about two hours a week for four weeks to lead 4-6 students through each lesson, with the support of the school’s FUN Team Leader and classroom teachers. No previous teaching or science background is necessary. Training is provided and a background check is required.
FUN trainings are held at the end of March and in early April. Contact Wendy at FUNvolunteer@seattleaudubon.org or call 206-523-8243 ext. 110 if interested.
By Dennis Hinton
Special to West Seattle Blog
If you value natural areas in West Seattle and want to keep them healthy and safe, you may now make a tax-deductible donation toward ongoing stewardship of two of them: Fauntleroy Creek and Fauntleroy Park.
Initial goal for the new Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund is $30,000.
The Fauntleroy Watershed Council has arranged for EarthCorps, a 501(c)3 international environmental training program headquartered in Seattle, to receive one-time and monthly donations to the fund. Gifts will help pay for work along the creek and in the park that otherwise would not be funded.
“We’ve made a lot of progress since 1989 in restoring natural features of the neighborhood, primarily
with $2 million in public and foundation funding,” said Judy Pickens, a member of the council’s executive committee. “In recent years, grants have become so scarce that we’re in danger of losing these gains.”
Of particular concern is maintaining the safety of areas used as both classroom and lab by the nearly
11,000 students who have visited the creek and park since 1995 to learn about clean water, a healthy
environment, and salmon-friendly habitat.
Pickens noted that governmental priorities have shifted just when the effects of climate change are becoming evident. Peak flows in the creek are now seven times what they were in 2007, putting pressure on weirs designed decades ago for milder conditions. Also, summer droughts have become the norm, threatening vegetation that holds soil and cools the water for salmon and other aquatic life.
The $30,000 would fund permits, design, supplies, and EarthCorps labor to upgrade weirs and vegetation in the lower creek to withstand heavy flows and improve bank stability, spawner access, and student safety over the long term.
“The work that’s now needed is often too hazardous for volunteers or it requires the expertise and equipment of contractors,” explained Peggy Cummings, one of two volunteer forest stewards for the watershed. “This fund gives residents a tangible way to continue to be involved.”
You can donate:
-Online. Go to the donation page at earthcorps.org, select “This gift is in honor or memory of someone,” and write “Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship”
-By postal mail. Write “Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship” on the memo line of your check and mail to Development Office, EarthCorps, 6310 NE 74th St., #201E, Seattle, WA 98115.
-In person. Give your check to any member of the council’s executive committee: Judy Pickens
(email@example.com; 206-938-4203), Peggy Cummings (firstname.lastname@example.org; 206-369-4830), or Dennis Hinton (email@example.com; 206-937-1410).
For a full prospectus, stop by the council’s table at the March 20 Fauntleroy Food Fest or visit www.fauntleroywatershed.org/donate.html, where you’ll also find the 2017 watershed annual report.
Another ceremonial groundbreaking today – this one, just outside West Seattle, at the sprawling site that used to hold several business buildings, including a Taco Time and service station, just east of the north end of the 1st Avenue South Bridge [map]. The announcement from King County:
King County Executive Dow Constantine today led the groundbreaking ceremony for a major infrastructure project that will protect the water quality of the Duwamish River and the surrounding community.
The Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station will treat up to 70 million gallons of polluted stormwater runoff that currently flows into the Duwamish River during severe rainstorms. It is the first of eight capstone projects that will complete King County’s four-decade work to control the combined sewer overflow that still occurs in parts of Seattle where sewer lines were installed in the early to mid-20th century.
“Today, we start work on a major King County infrastructure project that will protect the Duwamish River from stormwater pollution for the next century,” said Executive Constantine. “This is a key part of our broader effort to protect Puget Sound, restore salmon habitat, and honor treaty rights.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected it as one of a dozen projects nationwide that qualifies for low-interest loans through its highly competitive Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program. King County’s project in Georgetown is eligible for $134.5 million in loan funding, which would cover nearly half of the cost and potentially save sewer ratepayers up to $34 million.
“EPA’s new infrastructure finance and loan program aims to accelerate local investments in regionally significant and innovative water infrastructure projects,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick. “King County’s wet weather treatment station will build on EPA’s renewed efforts to update our nation’s water infrastructure. Completing this project will help restore and protect the Duwamish River and Puget Sound, which are among EPA’s top priorities in the Pacific Northwest.”
King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division conducted extensive community outreach throughout design phase to ensure the $262 million project reflects the local character. The sustainable design includes a green roof and cisterns to filter and collect stormwater. King County will also plant trees to improve air quality in the Georgetown neighborhood, which has one of the highest asthma rates in Seattle.
The treatment station will also provide a space for school programs and environmental education.
The five-year construction project will also generate family-wage jobs in the community. It is one of three King County construction projects that are part of a pilot program, Priority Hire, which requires contractors to train and hire construction workers living in local ZIP codes with high levels of poverty and unemployment.
In 2017 and 2018, King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division is leading more than $400 million in major capital programs that will build and upgrade existing infrastructure. The projects will create more than 900 family-wage construction jobs.
The WTD has had stormwater-related projects in West Seattle in recent years – most notably the Murray Wet Weather Facility across the street from Lowman Beach, completed last year.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Over its decade-plus history, Sustainable West Seattle has launched and/or nurtured a multitude of community-enhancing projects.
SWS also supports West Seattle Meaningful Movies, the West Seattle Timebank, Hate-Free Delridge, and more, as listed by president Stu Hennessey toward the start of last night’s SWS meetup at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction.
But even more than projects and programs … the biggest change can be made in cumulative small actions by people who care, and that was the theme.
(Orcas seen with West Seattle in background, 2009 photo by Terry Wittman)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Our theme for this year is matching our learning with action,” says The Whale Trail‘s executive director Donna Sandstrom.
She made that declaration toward the start of her West Seattle-based, but far-ranging, organization’s latest event, an educational/social/inspirational gathering at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) a month and a half ago. The featured topic was the salmon on which Southern Resident Killer Whales – our region’s endangered resident orcas – depend. How to help ensure their survival, and that of the SRKWs, was the focus of guest Jeanette Dorner, executive director of the Mid-Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group, speaking to TWT for the third time. Dorner said she has been working for 20 years to restore salmon in Puget Sound, starting with a salmon stream along her parents’ property in Pierce County.
The orcas eat salmon that come from all over the region, so “what we can do … there’s a seed of hope in that,” Sandstrom said. “It may take decades to take down a dam,” but there’s other action that can be done right now. She shared views of whales and salmon – which have “been in the news a lot lately.” Mainstream media coverage can leave people a bit confused and without context about the biggest issues facing salmon here, she warned. “Many people are not aware that we have a federal recovery plan for Puget Sound salmon,” Dorner noted. “We have a road map in the salmon recovery plan … there’s a chapter for every watershed.” She said the plan wasn’t written by “a bunch of NOAA scientists in a back room,” it was written with assistance of communities. The Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed Chinook Salmon Conservation Plan has a 10-year update, in fact.
Her main focus: Habitat. That’s what affects salmon the most, she said.
Ever wonder what you can do to make a difference, even just a bit? Set aside a little time for a Monday meetup that can answer the question in some memorable ways. Here’s the announcement from Sustainable West Seattle‘s Stu Hennessey:
Sustainable West Seattle would like to hear from our neighbors on a variety of subjects that we can have a lasting effect on. If you would like to be part of the solution, we would like to work with you. We will be hosting a public meetup on Monday, February 26th, at the West Seattle Senior Center, 4217 SW Oregon St, Nucor Room. The meeting will start at 7 pm.
Come to this meetup and take a Virtual Puget Sound underwater tour with diver Laura James, West Seattle’s famous underwater videographer. Find out which “Pesticide-Free” playgrounds in West Seattle are using increasing amounts of glyphosate toxic Roundup where your kids are playing. Learn how you can be a part of the 11th year of Sustainable West Seattle and the GreenLife Festival contribution to the West Seattle Summer Fest street fair.
You’ll also find out about helping our region’s endangered orcas.