West Seattle, Washington
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 email@example.com – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The grand total is in from the most recent Recycle Roundup in Fauntleroy. Judy Pickens sends the report:
A total of 370 vehicles bearing 13.5 tons of recyclables passed through the Fauntleroy Church parking lot during the Sept. 24 Recycle Roundup. This take brings to 204 tons the amount collected from West Seattle households for responsible recycling since twice-yearly roundups began in 2010. The church’s Green Committee will host the spring roundup on Sunday, April 22.
That’s up almost 50 percent from last fall’s 9.25-ton dropoff day.
P.S. If you can’t wait until spring – the West Seattle Junction Association‘s recycle/reuse event is coming up a week from Saturday – 9 am-1 pm October 14th!
The international Plant for the Planet youth movement is having its next daylong Plant for the Planet Academy for interested kids this Saturday (October 7th), 8:30 am-3:30 pm, at Puget Ridge Cohousing (7020 18th SW). The flyer above explains, including how to register – it’s free but your interested 8- to 14-year-old needs to sign up ahead of time (here’s the direct link). It’s a day-long workshop to find out “how they can take action to protect and heal our environment, as part of Plant For The Planet – an international group of 63,000+ young people worldwide who are planting trees and leading communities to solve the climate crisis now.” As explained on the flyer, there’s an optional 2-hour parent workshop too. (If you can’t see the flyer embedded above, here’s a PDF version.)
The fridge and bed frame are just some of the items dropped off in the early going at the fall 2017 edition of Fauntleroy Church‘s twice-yearly Recycle Roundup. Until 3 pm, you can drive up, ride up, or walk up to drop off your recyclables, free – as long as they’re on the list – in the church parking lot at 9140 California SW. The crew from 1 Green Planet is again filling truckloads, fast – they’ll get you through in mere moments.
One more reminder that Fauntleroy Church‘s twice-a-year Recycle Roundup is now just two days away – 9 am to 3 pm Sunday (September 24th). Drive up, ride up, or walk up to drop off, free, whatever the Recycle Roundup partner 1 Green Planet is accepting (scroll through the list above, or see the PDF version here). As always, the church – which is at 9140 California SW [map] – advises that lines are shorter in the early going.
We’ve already previewed the next Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church – just a week and a half away, 9 am-3 pm Sunday, September 24th – and now a second West Seattle event is set for this fall: The West Seattle Junction Association has announced a recycle/reuse event for 9 am-1 pm Saturday, October 14th (in the parking lot on 42nd SW just south of SW Oregon).
The two events are complementary to some degree – while the Fauntleroy event has a long list of what will be accepted, it also has a short list of what won’t, and some of those items WILL be accepted at the Junction event – clothing, Styrofoam, wooden furniture, for example.
Both events are free!
As we’ve tracked the smoky, ashy air in recent days – with murky skies, and reddened sun and full moon (photo at right is by Jim Spraker), plus Weather Service alerts – one question came up in comment discussion: Why didn’t the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency order a burn ban this time? We sent the question to the agency’s communications team two days ago. Today, they sent air-quality scientist Phil Swartzendruber our way to explain. And even though the smoke is clearing, so it’s a moot point for now, we thought you might be interested in how he explained it during our phone conversation:
With morning views like that one from Don Brubeck riding on the low bridge, above, and from Roy van Duivenbode, riding on the Water Taxi, below, you won’t be surprised to hear the National Weather Service has extended its wildfire-smoke-fueled Air Quality Alert for the area into tomorrow, now set to expire at 5 pm Wednesday.
The NWS’s latest “forecast discussion” acknowledges “many reports of falling ash” (we first mentioned it late last night), saying it “will likely continue” this afternoon. Here’s a car-top view of that, from David Hutchinson on Alki:
Back to the NWS update:
The smoke will actually help keep high temperatures down today. Have updated the morning forecast to reflect this with highs generally reaching into the mid to upper 80s over much of the area … The thermally induced surface trough along the coast will move into the interior late this afternoon helping start the transition back to onshore flow along the coast in the afternoon and evening. The heat advisory remains in effect for parts of the area today.
Weak low-level flow onshore tonight will help marine clouds work onto the coast and to a limited extend into the interior, reaching as far as (Shelton) by Wednesday morning. This will help improve air quality somewhat as smoke clears from the west overnight. It is likely that this clearing will mostly affect the coast and strait tonight, with smoke likely lingering into Wednesday over much of the interior. Have extended the air quality alert through Wednesday afternoon to reflect this.
No burn ban, though; we have a question out to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency seeking information about that.
P.S. Expect another red moon tonight – moonrise is at 7:41 pm, and it’s officially full just after midnight.
9:49 PM: Thanks to Ben Hutchinson for the photo! We were discussing the smoke-reddened almost-full-moon view on Twitter thanks to a heads-up from @WestSeaWx, but no image until Ben’s photo arrived. The color’s a lot like what we saw at sunset, vivid orange-red, now that wildfire smoke has moved back in – this time the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says it’s coming west from the Cascades. And the National Weather Service has an Air Quality Alert for our area through midnight tomorrow night, citing Montana smoke moving this way too. This map shows the fires around the region:
Meantime, we’re also still under a Heat Advisory alert from the NWS>, through 10 pm Tuesday night.
11:11 PM: If you go out to look at the moon, you might notice ash in the air, too, and a light dusting on parked vehicles.
Got a little spare time this holiday weekend? See if you have anything to drop off at the upcoming fall edition of Fauntleroy Church‘s legendary Recycle Roundup. Above (or here, in PDF), you can see the list of what 1 Green Planet will (and won’t) be accepting this time around. When the big day arrives (Sunday, September 24th), just walk/ride/drive into the church parking lot at 9140 California SW, 9 am-3 pm, and drop off your item(s). It’s free, though of course the church’s Green Committee will gladly accept donations to help cover their costs for this twice-a-year community event.
Kersti Muul sent that photo of what she identified as a two-foot-long Atlantic salmon, caught tonight at Seacrest Pier in West Seattle. She wondered about the timing, given that it turned up days after thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon escaped from a collapsed pen in the North Sound. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife news release about the situation says there’s no size or catch limit for Atlantic salmon, as long as you’re fishing in an area where it’s already open for Pacific salmon, among other caveats – here’s the latest info on salmon fishing in Elliott Bay.
Here’s a state-produced page showing how to identify Atlantic salmon. The North Sound pen collapse has rekindled long-running concerns about farming them in Northwest waters; as summarized by WDFW: “Potential impacts by escaped Atlantic salmon include competition, predation, disease transfer, hybridization, and colonization.