West Seattle, Washington
The state has announced a fine for a diesel spill that followed a tugboat incident in our area one year ago. Here’s the Ecology Department news release:
The Washington Department of Ecology has fined Island Tug and Barge $8,000 for a spill of diesel fuel into the Duwamish River on Feb. 28, 2017. The penalty cites the company for the spill itself and for not making immediate notifications, as required by state law.
The company’s tug Island Wind struck a barge in the West Waterway of the Duwamish on that date, , breaching its hull and a fuel tank, spilling approximately 1,340 gallons of diesel. The company and its contractor, Global Diving and Salvage, mounted a prompt response and recovered 1,273 gallons of the spill. Small, unrecoverable sheens escaped into Elliott Bay.
The notification to the state occurred more than 90 minutes after the incident. Oil spills to water must be immediately reported to the Washington Emergency Management Division and the National Response Center. See Ecology’s website for details.
In addition to the penalty, Ecology is billing Island Tug and Barge $3,000 to recover the state’s costs to oversee the response.
The company also faces, under state law, a Resource Damage Assessment for harm caused to public resources. Compensation could include a restoration and enhancement project or study, or the spiller may be assessed a monetary amount, to be paid into a state fund that issues grants to local governments for environmental restoration projects.
Two rounds of upcoming citywide awards will celebrate sustainability – and both have West Seattle ties.
HEART OF SEATTLE AWARDS: Adam Werner of Clean Air Lawn Care in West Seattle sent word of these – not just because his business is nominated, but also because, as he points out, other West Seattle businesses are too. You can vote here; note the locally linked businesses in the dining, grocery, and sustainable-services categories.
SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP AWARDS: You can’t vote on these – the finalists already have been chosen – but the event at which they’ll be announced is happening here in West Seattle, and you’re invited. Sustainable Seattle will present the awards the night of March 2nd at a party at Brockey Center on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. Finalists are listed here, and they include West Seattle restaurant Mashiko in the Business category as well as Plant for the Planet (which has a WS group) in the Resilience category. Tickets include a cocktail reception, dinner, and auction, and you can get yours here.
3:34 PM: Almost 10 months after the city announced its first settlement in the infamous West Seattle illegal tree-cutting case, another has just been announced. From the city news release:
The City has settled the second of two civil suits against West Seattle homeowners who the City alleged hired people to cut down a swath of a greenbelt in late 2015 or early 2016 to improve the homeowners’ views.
The unpermitted tree cutting near the 3200 block of 35th Ave. SW occurred in environmentally critical areas on a steep slope near the defendants’ homes. In its two lawsuits, the City alleged that two separate groups of people were responsible for cutting two distinct areas of City trees. Between the two cuttings, 153 trees of varying sizes, including many big-leaf maples and Scouler’s willows, were felled and left crisscrossing the area. The first suit settled in 2017 for $440,000. In the second suit the City sought damages from Kostas Kyrimis, Linda Kyrimis, Nancy Despain, Wendy Sweigart, Leroy Bernard, Joyce Bernard, Charles King, Shirley King and Bruce Gross. The defendants have agreed to pay the City a total of $360,000 to resolve the matter.
Parks remediation of the area is already under way, and Parks plans to use the settlement funds to continue its work restoring the site and other greenbelt areas in the City.
Read the full news release here; our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is quoted as saying, “I expect these clear consequences will make someone think twice before considering arboricide in the future.” You can also read the settlement document here; we’re reading it now and will add any details of note that the city announcement didn’t include.
4:05 PM: A few other notes:
-Before the settlement, the case had been scheduled to go to trial this May.
-City-led restoration work continues at the sites where the trees were cut; volunteers helped out on Green Seattle Day last November.
-If you are new, or need a refresher on where this happened, our March 2016 story included a map.
A new addition to the RainWise-enhanced grounds of Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood – a new permanent sign explaining the stormwater-diverting program and the congregation’s commitment to it. In the photo sent by Pastor Erik Kindem is congregation president Michael Truog, who is also chair of the church’s Green Team. So next time you walk or ride by 39th SW/SW Thistle, take a look! You can also take a look at this PDF showing what’s on the sign. (The church celebrated its RainWise improvements at an event we covered last year.)
What you see on the barge in our photo above are hundreds of creosote-treated pilings removed from the north end of the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 in West Seattle. We reported back in October that the removal was about to begin, as explained in this document. This morning, the port invited news media to T-5 for an update.
So far, the port says, 2,300 pilings have been removed; back in 2000, the port had an estimated 18,000 of them, and with this and other removal operations, they are down to 8,000. As the port news release explains:
Creosote-treated pilings and timbers were used for more than 100 years throughout Puget Sound, as fundamental structural elements in marine cargo and transportation infrastructure. Present-day marine facility piers and docks have replaced creosote construction with inert steel and concrete pilings, and in many cases fender systems requiring no piling have been installed.
The show-and-tell today also included an underwater camera nicknamed Ringo, used in the removal operation:
This part of the cleanup operation also involves restoration of more than four acres of habitat. The importance of the continuing restoration and cleanup was underscored by James Rasmussen of the nonprofit Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition:
Port commissioner Fred Felleman, who has a decades-long background in marine conservation, spoke as well:
And state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz was there.
The $6.8 million pilings-removal project has a state angle, as noted in our October report – this part of the cleanup was related to the termination of a state lease more than a decade ago.
Our October report also included details on exactly how the pilings were to be removed. They are to be barged up the Duwamish River to the Waste Management facility, from which they will be sent to the Columbia Ridge landfill in Oregon for permanent disposal.
This could be the tastiest fundraiser in West Seattle – and it’s days away.
One week from Friday, 5:30-8 pm on January 19th, the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group is hosting its third annual Chocolate Fest at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse (4705 W. Marginal Way SW). DRCC/TAG invites you “to drink beer, eat chocolates and cupcakes, and celebrate the cleanup and stewardship of Seattle’s only river, the mighty Duwamish.”
You can get tickets now by going here.
Christmas tree still up, and drying out? Curbside pickup or transfer-station dropoff options not quite working for you? Tomorrow brings another option – the West Seattle Rainbow Girls’ annual dropoff event in The Junction. They’ll be at the Masonic Center parking lot (4736 40th SW) between 9 am and 1 pm Saturday (January 6th) to accept your tree. It’s a fundraiser, so the fee is whatever you want to donate for the service.
Again this year, Seattle Public Utilities is giving you more than a month to get your Christmas tree turned into compost – either via curbside pickup, or Transfer Station dropoff. Today’s announcement:
From Dec. 26, 2017, to Jan. 31, 2018, Seattle residents can compost holiday greens, including wreaths and trees, for free curbside or at a Seattle Public Utilities transfer station.
At the Curb
Place your holiday greens on the curb next to your food and yard waste cart on your collection day. Please keep in mind the following:
Remove all decorations and lights, tinsel, metal clips, ornaments and bows.
Trees must be cut into lengths to 4-feet or shorter.
Bundle each section with sisal string or twine (not plastic).
Flocked and plastic trees or wreaths will be charged as extra garbage.
At apartments, one tree may be placed next to each food and yard waste cart at no extra charge each collection day.
At the Transfer Station
Bring Christmas trees and other holiday greens to a city transfer station. Starting Feb. 1, 2018 regular fees will apply.
Trees should not exceed 8-feet in length and must be free of decoration.
Trunks should not exceed 4-inches in diameter.
The stations will accept up to 3 trees per vehicle.
The South Transfer Station is just east of West Seattle, 130 S. Kenyon (here’s how to get there).
P.S. And remember that for the next two weeks, curbside pickup day for everything is one day later than your usual day, because of the Monday holidays.
A local greenspace is a little greener tonight thanks to the hard work of dozens of student volunteers – and a man with a vision.
The site is Seola Pond, near 30th SW/SW 106th. The students who worked there this afternoon, getting native plants into the ground, were from nearby Explorer West Middle School and Westside School (both WSB sponsors). The man with a vision – Scott Dolfay.
On our partner site White Center Now, we’ve covered his updates at recent meetings of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council – the site is along the city-county line and Dolfay’s been talking with NHUAC about his work to restore the site, and working for many months to secure help, not just volunteers, but also donated materials.
He explained that the site, where he bought property in 2010, “acts as a de facto neighborhood park” and was historically a peat bog that would dry up in the summer, and held runoff because of all the construction around it. He has had help from EarthCorps and Nature Consortium, too. If you’re interested in future work at the site, you can reach him at satomiscott (at) q (dot) com.
In the wake of last August’s Atlantic salmon farm collapse in north Puget Sound, King County Executive Dow Constantine wants to ensure no new pens are built in waters over which the county has jurisdiction. The announcement:
Citing the threat to native salmon populations, King County Executive Dow Constantine today called for a six-month moratorium on allowing any new Atlantic fish farming facilities along marine shoreline in unincorporated King County.
“The hundreds of thousands of farmed, invasive Atlantic salmon that spilled into the Salish Sea in August threaten our native fish populations and our way of life,” said Executive Constantine. “Atlantic salmon don’t belong here. Beyond a six month moratorium, we need to ensure these operations can never again pose a threat to indigenous salmon already struggling to survive.”
Legislation enacting the moratorium will be transmitted to the King County Council (today). Indian tribes including the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Suquamish Tribe reviewed and approved the proposed moratorium to ensure it did not interfere with their local fisheries and treaty rights.
In the State of Washington, commercial net pens are required to obtain federal and state permits. Local governments like King County can also require permits as part of implementing shoreline master plans.
While the state has issued a moratorium on permits they administer for net pens, an applicant could still apply for and receive a county shorelines permit.
The moratorium announced by Executive Constantine will enable King County to review and strengthen its shoreline regulations to eliminate the risk of harm from non-native salmon farming to native salmon runs and sensitive shorelines.
King County rivers are home to seven native salmon species, including chinook, steelhead, and bull trout populations that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Puget Sound is where these and other salmon species spend much of their lives, feeding for a year or more, before returning to their home streams to spawn.
King County and a host of partners, including treaty Indian tribes, cities, counties, and state and federal agencies have invested heavily in salmon-habitat preservation and restoration efforts.
Executive Constantine’s proposed moratorium coincides with a state-mandated review and update of King County’s Shoreline Master Program. The program includes policies, regulations and plans that manage the shorelines within King County’s jurisdiction, and is incorporated into the County’s comprehensive plan.
The Shoreline Master Program must be reviewed, updated and delivered to the Washington Department of Ecology by June 30, 2019.
The nearest Atlantic-salmon-farming facilities right now, according to what we’ve found out via research so far, are off Bainbridge Island, which is part of Kitsap County.
During the Green Seattle Day work parties, our photographer stopped by two other spots where volunteers were planting trees and shrubs – in Highland Park, volunteers worked east of the off-leash area at Westcrest Park, where some Friday snow was still on the ground:
And in east Admiral, the Duwamish Head Greenbelt drew dozens of volunteers to work at 34th and City View, one of the sites where the city is restoring damage done by illegal tree-cutting:
Steve Richmond from Garden Cycles was leading the work today, and told us they were planting larger evergreens as well as understory plants such as ferns.
The city is committed to work at the east Admiral restoration sites for five years, Jon Jainga from Parks noted.
The 21 Green Seattle Day sites with work parties today included two others in West Seattle – Camp Long and Lincoln Park.
Before we get too much further into fall, it’s still prime time for planting, and that’s what Green Seattle Day is all about next Saturday (November 4th). If you can help out 9 am-noon, three West Seattle spots would appreciate your tree-planting TLC, including:
Westcrest Park in Highland Park – get details and RSVP here
Duwamish Head Greenbelt in East Admiral – get details and RSVP here
Me-Kwa-Mooks along Beach Drive – get details and RSVP here
All ages welcome – tools (and more) provided.
Though the annual gathering along Fauntleroy Creek is billed as singing and drumming, today, the messages resonated most – messages written by participants of all ages, to tie to the fence at the creek overlook across and upslope from the ferry terminal.
Some were simply notes of welcome. One even carried an apology. And of course there was also singing and drumming, led by Jamie Shilling:
The songs urge the salmon to return:
And the singing/drumming begins. Volunteer watchers counted 7 coho spawners in Fauntleroy Creek last year. pic.twitter.com/NgFIZNisoU
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) October 23, 2017
And then there’s an urging of environmental respect, “Habitat,” to the tune of the half-century-plus-old “Lollipop.” Some wore salmon hats, decorated during the Fauntleroy Fall Festival a week earlier:
Leading the activity then, and emceeing the gathering today, was creek steward Judy Pickens, who noted that the welcoming event goes back to 1994:
She provided updates including the explanation that volunteers will now be watching for coho spawners, likely into mid-November, since the prediction this year is that they’ll arrive late. She also says a UW researcher will be studying pre-spawning mortality in the creek and will be waiting for word of any fish in obvious distress – less of a problem on Fauntleroy Creek than Longfellow Creek in eastern West Seattle, which has more of a runoff-pollution problem.
With Judy’s help, we’ll have updates during salmon-watcher season – and she says they’re hoping to organize another weekend event where you can come to the creek and talk with volunteers; we’ll let you know as soon as we get word of that.
(Mouse over center of image to reveal ‘play’ button)
Pastoral, industrial, vital. Our Instagram video clip is the view of the Duwamish River from Terminal 107 Park, steps away from the kickoff event for today’s installment of the twice-yearly Duwamish Alive! work parties. As James Rasmussen had told the gathering of volunteers, this is “the last stretch of the old Duwamish River”:
Rasmussen spoke both as leader of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition and as a member of the Duwamish Tribe, whose longhouse is across West Marginal Way SW from T-107. “This place would not have been saved if not for my ancestors,” Rasmussen explained, recounting how the discovery of shell heaps – evidence of a long-ago Duwamish village – stopped work at the site years ago. While so much of the Duwamish River’s shore has been the focus of restoration, so much of the riverbed itself the subject of cleanup, this stretch, including mudflat Kellogg Island, remains “original habitat,” Rasmussen said. And now, the intent is to improve its health so it can serve as “A River for All”:
Rasmussen promised one of those buttons to City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who also spoke:
After a few speeches – in light rain – it was time for everyone to get to work:
Much of today’s work involved planting. Rasmussen urged volunteers to name their plants – “(they’re) not an inanimate object, they know you’re there” – and come back to visit them as they grow.
P.S. If you weren’t able to work at one of the Duwamish Alive! sites today – there are work parties in the area almost every weekend (often featured on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar) – and another long list of them on November 4th for Green Seattle Day – see that list here, including five locations in West Seattle (and easy RSVP links for each).
With rain in the forecast, Fauntleroy Creek steward Judy Pickens tells WSB that Sunday’s annual drumming and singing to call the salmon home will be on her porch as it was last year – just down the path from the northeast edge of the Fauntleroy Creek overlook at Fauntleroy/Director (across and upslope from the ferry terminal). “If more people than last year brave the weather, we’ll move into the back under cover of our boat shed.” Start time is still 5 pm. “In addition to drumming and singing (led again by Jamie Shilling), we’ll make welcome flags for the spawners, which I’ll hang at the viewpoint during a break in the rain.” Judy adds, “The watch officially starts Sunday. State Fish and Wildlife is predicting a strong but somewhat late return of coho to the Sound, so we expect to watch into mid-November.” Seven spawners were counted last year – which was seven more than the spawner-less previous year. By the way, all ages are welcome at Sunday’s drumming/singing event.
10:25 AM: Until 1 pm, you can drive up, ride up, walk up to drop off your recyclables in the 42nd SW (south of SW Oregon) lot in The Junction! It’s off to a fast start, Lora Swift of the West Seattle Junction Association tells us – more than 100 vehicles went through in just the first hour. But they’re using the entire lot, lots of room, no line. Go here to see what they’re taking and not taking before you go.
1:30 PM: Unofficial count of vehicles dropping off recyclables at today’s event, which is now over – 362, per Lora, who was there along with others volunteering from the partner organizations that presented it, also including the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. She’s expecting to find out the turned-in tonnage next week – so stand by for another followup.
Still time to do some fall cleaning tonight and amass items to take to tomorrow’s dropoff Recycle/Reuse event in The Junction: 9 am-1 pm Saturday, in the lot along 42nd SW just south of SW Oregon – here are details of what will and won’t be accepted. It’s free!
From the state Ecology Department:
The Washington Department of Ecology has fined Seattle-based electronics recycler Total Reclaim, Inc. $67,500 for illegally storing hundreds of thousands of pounds of flat screen TVs and monitors. Washington law requires e-waste to be either recycled or disposed of as dangerous waste in a timely manner.
This is the second recent dangerous waste penalty for Total Reclaim. In 2016, Ecology fined the company $444,000 after an independent investigation found the company was shipping e-waste to Hong Kong.
An Ecology inspection in February of this year found that, for more than a year, Total Reclaim stored thousands of flat screen TVs and monitors containing mercury in dozens of semi-trailers parked on Harbor Island.
Washington’s electronics recycling policies and dangerous waste laws prohibit what is known as “speculative accumulation,” because it can lead to waste being abandoned, environmental contamination, or force taxpayers to pay for a cleanup.
“After receiving a very large penalty about a year ago, Total Reclaim knew it needed to fully comply with Washington’s recycling policies and dangerous waste regulations,” said Darin Rice, manager of Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program. “Electronic waste contains toxic chemicals – it’s not good enough to simply store it for months or years. It needs to be properly and safely recycled in a timely manner.”
Since Ecology’s inspection, Total Reclaim has shipped flat screens stored longer than 180 days to a facility in South Carolina for recycling.
Total Reclaim has 30 days to pay the penalty or file an appeal with the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.
Just received tonight from the Duwamish Alive! Coalition – official word of the fall event on Saturday, October 21st, with opportunities for volunteers at multiple spots along the Duwamish River and in its watershed:
The salmon are running and leaves are brilliant with fall colors – it’s time for our annual Duwamish Alive! fall event throughout West Seattle. Join us in improving the health of our green spaces, creeks and especially our Duwamish River as we celebrate these special community places! Volunteers are needed at many local sites which provide critical habitat for our community and our river.
Duwamish Alive! celebrates the connection of our urban parks and open spaces to our river, wildlife and community. Starting at 10:00 am, volunteers of all ages – at multiple Duwamish sites throughout the watershed from river to forest – 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.
A special opening ceremony will be held at T-107 Park, across from the Duwamish Longhouse, at 10:00 with special guest Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold opening the day along with Duwamish Tribe members and the Port of Seattle. Included is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Washington Environmental Council’s work in restoring and protecting both our Duwamish watershed and Puget Sound. . The community is welcome and encouraged to attend.
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 14 sites in the river’s watershed, connecting the efforts of Seattle and Tukwila communities.
To volunteer, visit DuwamishAlive.org to see the different volunteer opportunities and to the contact for the site of your choice, or email firstname.lastname@example.org – this is a family-friendly event for all ages — tools, instruction and snacks are provided.
Direct link to see the list of where you can volunteer, and to sign up, is here.
Three Junction notes:
TAGGING VANDALISM TO BE CLEANED UP: Thanks to everyone who tipped us about the particularly big and brazen tagging across the front of the former Radio Shack store at 4505 California SW. We checked in with West Seattle Junction Association executive director Lora Swift, who had just put up the sign you see in our photo – informing everyone interested that it is scheduled to be cleaned up tomorrow.
Also in The Junction, more bike-share bicycles were dropped off today:
RENTAL BIKES REPLENISHED: The orange bicycles in the truck are from Spin; the truck was replenishing/adding them at spots along California, judging by what we later saw as we headed south, all the way to the bottom of Gatewood Hill. The green rental bicycles are from LimeBike, also in view along the sidewalk (we see them most often in use), and there’s also been a recent multiple-bike appearance by the third company authorized to operate in the city, Ofo, whose bicycles are yellow. Anna sent this photo as they appeared on corners in the heart of The Junction a few days ago:
Those three companies have permits to have thousands of bikes out around the city. The trend is spreading nationwide.
RECYCLING REMINDER: Our third and final Junction note – just four days until the dropoff Recycle/Reuse event on Saturday (October 14th), 9 am-1 pm, in the Junction lot along 42nd SW just south of SW Oregon – here are details about what they will and won’t take.
5:04 PM: A $6.8 million Port of Seattle project to remove 2,000 creosote pilings from the north end of Terminal 5 is about to start. Port commissioner John Creighton mentioned it in his “State of the Port” speech to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce last month, and port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells WSB it’s about to begin:
he Port of Seattle will remove more than 2,000 creosote treated piles and 5,000 sq. ft. of overwater coverage from Elliott Bay, off the north end of Terminal 5, beginning this week.
The port has worked with the EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington State departments of Ecology and Natural Resources and the Muckleshoot and Duwamish Tribes to plan and execute removal of the piles/overwater cover. The work is being done in advance of a Superfund cleanup project being undertaken by the Lockheed Martin Company in the same area.
Removal of the piles is required as part of a lease termination agreement with the Department of Natural Resources.
Through 2016 the port has removed 11,420 creosote treated piles and is on track to remove 80 percent of all creosote treated piles from port-owned facilities by 2026.
The Terminal 5 pile removal project is expected to be completed by the end of March, 2018.
There’s more backstory in this document from a Port Commission meeting back in June, and we have followup questions out about exactly how the pilings will be removed and disposed of.
ADDED TUESDAY MORNING: Port spokesperson McGraw has answered those questions with information from the contractor’s Demolition Work Plan – read on for the details: Read More
Another call today for salmon-creek volunteers in West Seattle – this time, it’s Fauntleroy Creek that can use your help watching for spawners starting later this month. From creek steward Judy Pickens:
Salmon Watch 2017 will start on Sunday, October 15, on Fauntleroy Creek and new volunteers are welcome. Watchers monitor the lower creek after daytime high tide to record any spawner activity. Sign up as often as you want, with training during your first watch. Contact Judy Pickens at email@example.com for details.
Seven coho were counted last year – which was seven more than the year before.
P.S. Whether or not you plan to volunteer as a watcher, you’re invited to the fish-ladder overlook (upper Fauntleroy Way and Director, across from the ferry dock) for drumming to welcome the salmon home at 5 pm October 22nd.
It’s almost salmon-spawning season, and two West Seattle creeks will be watched. One needs your help. Puget Soundkeeper‘s announcement explains:
Puget Soundkeeper is searching for dedicated volunteers to survey the coho salmon that return to Longfellow Creek in West Seattle. Salmon surveys are a great way to observe one of nature’s most amazing migrations and experience scientific field work. The data we collect from these surveys help us understand the effects of toxic runoff on one of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic species and determine the best methods to protect them in the future!
·The nature of this work is geared toward adults only.
Surveying is a weekly commitment that takes approximately 1 hour to complete. The salmon run begins in mid-October and finishes mid-December, during which there will be a survey every day. Volunteers will be divided into teams of 2-3 people and assigned a weekday to conduct their survey.
We’re looking for adventurous volunteers! Surveying requires handling fish carcasses found in the creek (with gloves) and dissecting the female salmon to check for eggs.
Volunteers should be in good physical condition. Surveying in Longfellow Creek requires climbing up and down steep muddy embankments and wading through shallow water on uneven terrain.
Surveying is conducted in varying weather conditions. If conditions are dangerous (e.g. a downpour), we will cancel on that day. Otherwise, we survey rain or shine.
Volunteers will be provided with surveying kits and waders (unless you have your own pair). Data collected during the survey will be uploaded by the volunteers into Puget Soundkeeper’s database.
Volunteers will attend an orientation meeting on Tuesday, October 10th from 6:30-8:30pm at Chaco Canyon Organic Café in West Seattle (3770 SW Alaska St).
More info – and the registration form – can be found here.