West Seattle, Washington
If you have stuff to turn in for reuse/recycling – and/or documents to shred – here’s your less-than-two-weeks-away warning for the West Seattle Junction’s big event, coming up 9 am-1 pm on Saturday, June 30th. Toplines of what will and won’t be accepted are here and here. The West Seattle Junction Association is teaming up with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Public Utilities, Waste Management, and Windermere to present this – free – just bring your recyclables and shreddables!
ORIGINAL REPORT, 1:54 PM: Get over to Fauntleroy Park and see what it’s like to set salmon fry free in the creek, as thousands of students have done via the Salmon in the Schools program. They had 200 leftover fry this year and are offering community members the chance to walk to the bridge over the creek (from the park entrance at Barton/Henderson) and release them. Volunteers are there to guide you, until 3 pm.
5:13 PM: Added a few more photos. Above, the stars of the show; below, more of the people who stopped by to participate:
Shoutouts to this year’s Salmon in the Schools program at the creek were in our June 1st wrapup of the school-visit season.
ORIGINAL REPORT, THURSDAY: Thanks to Jill for the photo. She asked about the red water along the shore south of Fauntleroy. Chances are that it’s the nontoxic algae bloom known as noctiluca, which has shown up time and again over the years – compare that photo to others we’ve published, such as 2014 and 2012. As explained by this state Department of Ecology webpage, noctiluca blooms are nontoxic.
MONDAY UPDATE: Thanks to Kersti Muul for turning up this new Ecology link confirming ongoing algae blooms.
As we reported at the end of last week, the Salmon in the Schools program has wrapped up this year’s releases into Fauntleroy Creek – but there are leftover fry, so you are invited to the creek on Saturday to experience what it’s like. If you haven’t already seen the announcement, Judy Pickens from the Fauntleroy Watershed Council explains what’s happening:
This spring more than 700 students in the Salmon in the Schools program entrusted their coho fry to Fauntleroy Creek, where they will grow until heading to saltwater next spring. Schools were especially successful this year in rearing their fish from eyed eggs, as was Jack Lawless, who rears fish for schools in the program that loose a lot or for preschools that don’t bring their own to release.
The Fauntleroy Watershed Council invites the community to put Jack’s remaining 200 fish in the water on Saturday, June 9, 1:00-3:00 pm at the big bridge in Fauntleroy Park. Volunteers will be on hand to keep everyone dry and answer questions about salmon, habitat, and the Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund.
Enter the park from the SW Barton Street kiosk and turn left at the trail T a few yards ahead. The bridge is about a three-minute walk east on a nearly flat, well-maintained trail. Expect to kneel on a rock at the water’s edge to release your fish; no boots are required. Dogs will need to be secured away from the water.
Can’t easily walk? The trail is suited to a walker or wheelchair. Can’t easily kneel? You’ll still be able to get up close and personal with your fish.
Here’s a map to the park.
A rare honor for our area’s newest Seattle Fire station – it’s been certified as Platinum LEED, the city has announced, recognizing sustainable design and construction practices. From the announcement:
… The Fire Station 32 project incorporated sustainable features such as solar hot water systems, photovoltaic arrays, green roof, water-efficient landscaping, energy-efficient LED lighting systems, energy-efficient HVAC systems, recycled building material use, low volatile organic compound (VOC) building material use, natural daylighting of common spaces, and individual thermal controls of sleeping areas. …
Station 32, the city says, is one of only two Platinum LEED-certified fire stations in Seattle, one of three in the state. The Bohlin Cywinski Jackson-designed station opened last August, on the same site in The Triangle (38th/Alaska) as the former Station 32.
Back in 2014, we noted a flood-control plan in the works for the neighborhood along 24th SW in mid-Delridge. Now, it is getting closer to reality – and a community conversation is the next step.
Here’s what they’ll be talking about:
Project Area: Longfellow Creek Corridor between SW Willow St and SW Graham St, including 24th Ave SW and Longfellow Legacy Creek Trail
• 24th Ave SW often floods during rainstorms, affecting access to homes
• Water from rainstorms does not drain well from the street and forms large puddles, creating unsafe conditions in the winter
• 24th Ave SW is a confusing area for users of the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail because it’s difficult to see where the trail ends are and there’s nowhere to walk except the middle of the street
The Solutions – What we want to hear from you:
Based on community input, ideas will be developed on how to change 24th Ave SW to reduce flooding, improve trail connections, and make other improvements the community is interested in.
For more information on the project, go here.
Last October’s recycle/reuse event in The Junction was so popular, an encore is set for next month – and this time, shredding is included! 9 am-1 pm Saturday, June 30th, bring your recyclables, reusables, and shreddables to the southwest corner of the West Seattle Junction Association parking lot off 42nd SW, just south of SW Oregon. WSJA is partnering with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Public Utilities, Waste Management, and Windermere to present the event – see this flyer for guidelines on what they will and won’t be taking.
Thanks to Judy Pickens for the update from Fauntleroy Creek:
Salmon-release season passed the midpoint this week, with nearly 400 students, plus 170 adults and younger siblings, having put just over 700 coho fry in upper Fauntleroy Creek. Reared through the Salmon in the Schools program, the fish will spend the next year in the creek, then head for two years in saltwater.
EarthCorps trainees restoring habitat along the middle reach of the creek were special guests on Pathfinder’s May 15 field trip, joining students to release fish and answer questions about their work and career plans.
Keeping the creek safe for such students as well as healthy is a major objective of the Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund administered by EarthCorps. Since March 1, individuals and school groups have donated $6,300 toward a goal of $30,000.
Salmon releases will continue through June 1.
Here’s the backstory on the stewardship fund.
This month’s Southwest District Council meeting had an environmental theme. Two guests spotlighted that. First, Craig Kenworthy, executive director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency:
In our photo, Kenworthy was showing a test strip that indicated air dirty enough for a burn ban. He gave the SWDC a primer about the most common particulates in our area – mostly fine particles that come from engine combustion – diesel and gas, cars, rail, or ships. (Added – here’s his slide deck):
So many people showed up for Fauntleroy Church‘s Recycle Roundup on April 22nd, it was a record-setting event, Judy Pickens tells WSB. With 500 vehicles – the most ever – “1 Green Planet relieved West Seattle of 14.6 tons of recyclables for responsible disassembly.” The fall edition will be in September – no date yet, but we’ll announce it when we find out. And in the meantime, the West Seattle Junction Association will have a drop-off recycling-and-more event in late June.
“Current Research to Support Recovery Actions for Southern Resident Killer Whales”
Presentation by Brad Hanson, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Tuesday, May 1, 7:00 – 8:30 (doors open at 6:30)
Cost: $5 suggested donation; kids free
Advance tickets: brownpapertickets.com
With just 76 orcas in J, K and L pods, the Southern Resident Killer Whale population is nearing its all time low of 71 individuals. Is the population still viable – can they be saved? What have we learned over the past year that will help these orcas recover, and what are the most pressing questions still to be addressed?
Join us to hear the latest findings and future research directions, presented by Dr. Brad Hanson, NWFSC lead killer whale researcher. Buy tickets now to reserve your seat. And hurry – this will likely sell out. This is the first in the 2018 Orca Talk series hosted by The Whale Trail in West Seattle. Thanks to Nucor Steel for sponsoring this Orca Talk!
About the Speaker
Brad Hanson joined the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in April of 2003. Previously, Brad worked as a Wildlife Biologist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, WA. Brad received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington where he worked on the development of improved tag attachment systems for small cetaceans. He also holds an M.S. in Fisheries from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Zoology also from the University of Washington. Brad is an ecologist and is currently studying foraging and habitat use of Southern Resident killer whales and health assessment of harbor and Dall’s porpoises.
About The Whale Trail
The Whale Trail is a series of sites where the public may view orcas and other marine mammals from shore. Our mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of whales and our marine environment. Through our current sites and signs, including two on every Washington State ferry, we reach more than 50 million people each year. The Whale Trail is currently adding new sites along the North American west coast, from California to British Columbia.
The Whale Trail is led by a core team of partners including NOAA Fisheries, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Seattle Aquarium, the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, the Whale Museum. Donna Sandstrom is the Founder and Executive Director. The Whale Trail is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, registered in Washington State. Join us!
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.