West Seattle weekend scene: Duwamish Alive!, Pigeon Point edition

October 18, 2014 at 6:33 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | No Comments

From West Seattle to Tukwila, hundreds of volunteers teamed up today for another productive Duwamish Alive! multi-site work party. In the West Duwamish Greenbelt at Pigeon Point Park, Nature Consortium and EarthCorps led the way – volunteers we saw there included NC founder Nancy Whitlock:

The 100-plus people at work at this site alone also included Green River Community College students. And we even met Harriet the helpful Corgi:

Eleven sites were on the list for Duwamish Alive! today. Watch duwamishalive.org for word of next spring’s edition. And watch WSB for other opportunities to help with cleanups and planting parties around the community just about EVERY weekend (for example – North Delridge could use your help one week from today!).

Murray CSO million-gallon tank project: Late-night work tomorrow

October 9, 2014 at 8:23 pm | In Environment, Utilities, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

(Murray CSO storage-tank-site excavation, photographed Monday by Richard)
An alert for Lowman Beach-area residents: The contractor for King County’s Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project plans four hours of late-night work tomorrow night. The county sent the notification this afternoon; the work involves pipe inspections that have to be done under certain tidal and pipe-use conditions, and those conditions happen 11 pm Friday night until about 3 am Saturday. Workers will be inspecting pipes beneath two manholes, one on the south side of Lowman Beach Park, one alongside the CSO project site on Lincoln Park Way. A map is part of the notification document you can see here (PDF). The county says neighbors are being notified, and reminds anyone with questions/concerns that they can call the 24-hour project hotline at 206-205-9186.

Also, a reminder: This Saturday is also scheduled to be the first of several Saturdays with extra excavation work, as previously announced.

You can help: Choose where you’ll be part of Duwamish Alive!

October 8, 2014 at 4:18 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | No Comments


View Duwamish Alive! 2014 in a larger map

From West Seattle, south along the Duwamish River, and even to a few spots southeast of where our map ends, October 18th is the fall edition of Duwamish Alive! – 11 work parties to help the river, its watershed, and everyone/everything living in/along them. You only need to commit four hours that day – registration is at 9:30, then you’ll be helping out 10 am-2 pm. Here’s where to go to choose your site and sign up.

Followup: What West Seattle’s Lafarge plant is doing, after federal settlement of water-pollution investigation

September 30, 2014 at 9:13 am | In Environment, West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A long-running water-pollution investigation involving the Lafarge plant in West Seattle has ended with a settlement and fine. As first reported Sunday by seattlepi.com, the company was fined $300,000, confirmed operations manager Jonathan Hall in an interview with WSB.

Click to read the rest of Followup: What West Seattle’s Lafarge plant is doing, after federal settlement of water-pollution investigation…

Ready to ride? Denny teachers to lead bilingual community bike tour on Longfellow Creek Trail this Saturday

September 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm | In Delridge, Environment, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Another quick look ahead to Saturday – this time to make sure you know about a community bicycle ride along the Longfellow Creek Trail, to be guided in Spanish and English by Denny International Middle School teachers Andrew Chase and Ben Evans. Its goal is “to connect students and their families to local ecology” – but everyone, whether connected to a local school or not, is welcome to be part of it. Above, the invitation in English; for the Spanish version, click here. Meet at 9 am Saturday (September 27th) at the baseball fields by Roxhill Elementary (30th/Roxbury).

Followup: Farewell to 8 tons of recyclables at Fauntleroy roundup

September 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm | In Environment, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(WSB photo of 1 Green Planet crew at Recycle Roundup last Sunday)
From the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee, via Judy Pickens:

Despite the sunny weather and afternoon Seahawks game, Sunday’s Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church netted 7.8 tons of recyclables from West Seattle. An estimated 325 vehicles brought everything from water heaters to wire fencing and keyboards. We’ll do it again on April 26.

If you missed the roundup and can’t wait that long – the county website has a directory of who takes what, starting with the search box here. And for items that weren’t accepted on Sunday, the Green Committee has suggestions on this flyer they were offering to participants.

Get ready to recycle more: Seattle to require food-waste composting

September 22, 2014 at 6:16 pm | In Environment, Utilities, West Seattle news | 34 Comments

Don’t look at it as a ban on throwing away your food scraps, suggested City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw before this afternoon’s vote – look at it as expanded recycling. And with that, she and the rest of the City Council voted to require recycling of food scraps and compostable paper, starting next year. The enforcement teeth won’t be very sharp – $1 fines, and only after a “massive” informational campaign – but the city believes this is what’s needed to jolt the “stalled” shrinkage of Seattleites’ recycling rate. (Also, as noted on the city website, “Food waste is one third of the residential garbage in Seattle … and is transported by train 300 miles to an Oregon landfill.”) Details of how it would be enforced are in this slide deck from a briefing earlier this month.

Happening now: Take it away! Busy ‘Recycle Roundup’ in Fauntleroy

September 21, 2014 at 11:11 am | In Environment, Fauntleroy | 2 Comments

That’s the most unusual item we saw during a brief stop at the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee‘s “Recycle Roundup,” under way until 3 pm – someone’s recycling a watercooler. Tons of items (literally) are dropped off during these six-hour, twice-yearly, FREE events – and one-third of the way into today’s roundup, it’s busy:

1 Green Planet‘s team will unload your stuff and get it into their containers. Just make sure what you’re taking is on this list. If you want to recycle something that isn’t, the committee’s Green Ideas” handout (with other sustainable-living advice) has suggestions.

P.S. The church lot is at 9140 California SW, but don’t try to drive south on the California straightaway to get there – it’s a short section that is best reached by heading west on SW Barton from 35th and following the curves (and name change), or by heading southbound past the ferry dock, and following the eastward curve up toward and just beyond the Endolyne business district.

One more nudge: Recycle Roundup tomorrow at Fauntleroy Church

September 20, 2014 at 7:59 pm | In Environment, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Twice a year, the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee brings in 1 Green Planet to collect dozens of types of items that are recyclable but not routinely picked up in your curbside service. Tomorrow is this year’s second Recycle Roundup, 9 am-3 pm at the church parking lot (9140 California SW; map). Here’s the list of what you can drop off, with a few notes about what you can’t. As usual, no charge for your dropoff (the Green Committee does accept donations to help cover the cost, if you are so moved; they’ll also be offering a flyer with some green-living tips).

Two ways to make a difference Saturday morning in West Seattle: Alki Beach cleanup, Boren Building parking-lot party

September 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Before you move entirely into weekend mode, early reminders about two ways you can start your weekend in grand community-contribution style, both happening Saturday morning:

ALKI CLEANUP: Join Puget SoundKeeper Alliance and friends on International Coastal Cleanup Day. Check in by Statue of Liberty Plaza (61st/Alki) at 8:45 on Saturday, clean the beach 9 am-noon. Full details here.

PARKING LOT PARTY: The big lot at the Boren Building (5950 Delridge Way SW) is now used by two schools, with Arbor Heights Elementary joining K-5 STEM these next two years. They could use some community help with safety upgrades and cleanup 8 am-noon Saturday: “Projects include painting, unearthing a hidden sidewalk, adding new signage, and beautifying the grounds. We’ve got the supplies & tools – we just need your help to make it happen!”

After all that, TONS more ways to enjoy your Saturday – preview them on our calendar.

Followup: Where the dirt from overflow-control tank dig is going, and other questions answered

September 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | Comments Off

One of West Seattle’s biggest digs is under way.

Excavation started today at the site of King County’s Murray Combined Sewer Overflow control project, a million-gallon underground tank across from Lowman Beach. The announcement published here Wednesday – noting that up to 55 trucks a day will travel two nearby routes – brought lots of questions in WSB comments, so we asked KCWTD’s Doug Marsano for answers. We also went to the site overlook along Lincoln Park Way for a firsthand look (see the short video above, and the photo added here).

HOW MUCH DIRT? At an earlier community meeting, it was described as “enough to fill Colman Pool twice.” Specifically, we now know – 21,000 cubic yards.

WHERE IS IT BEING TAKEN? Basically, east King County: “Cedar Hills Landfill at 16645 228th Ave SE, in Maple Valley, and Reserve Silica Corporation on Black Diamond Road in Ravensdale.”

ARE THE TRUCKING HOURS SAME AS THE WORK HOURS? The latter, according to this week’s update, are 7 am-6 pm. But, we learned today:

Haul hours are 8 am- 3:30 pm. There may be additional trucks entering or leaving the site outside of those hours, but the bulk of the trips will occur between during haul hours.

IS IT ‘UP TO 55 TRUCKS A DAY’ FROM THE START, OR RAMPING UP? The latter, replied Marsano: “Today, for instance, crews removed about 30 loads. The most intense period will be through early October when the tank hole is relatively shallow. Truck trips will slow to about 20 a day (or 3-4 an hour) when the hole is at its deepest.”

WHERE ARE THE TRUCKS STAGING? “The initial plan is to stage trucks on Fauntleroy. Adjustments will be made as necessary to ease congestion and accommodate ferry traffic, including use of 48th Ave and the east side of Beach Drive.”

The project website is here; the 24-hour project hotline, for questions or to report problems, is 206-205-9186. Current timeline for completing the storage-tank facility is the second half of 2016.

Up to 55 trucks a day, as Murray CSO storage-tank digging begins across from Lowman Beach

September 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 28 Comments

(PHOTO ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON, with digging & trucking under way)
Just got word that tomorrow is the start of the next major phase of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow control project – digging the hole for the million-gallon tank across from Lowman Beach:

Now that the contractor has completed secant pile installation, crews will begin digging to clear space for the underground storage tank tomorrow, September 18, 2014. Excavation will be complete by early 2015. Crews will dig out an area about 80 feet deep and 100 feet wide. All of the material removed will be trucked off site. These activities will bring as many as 55 trucks per day to the project site to load and haul off material. Trucks will access the project site from 48th Avenue SW or Lincoln Park Way SW. Please be aware of traffic as trucks move in and out of the site.

Here’s the haul route:


(Click map for full-size, PDF version of map)
More info is on the county’s site for the project; if you have questions or concerns, there’s a 24-hour hotline at 206-205-9186.

P.S. As discussed in comments about an hour after we first published this, when the county announced these routes in February, they were labeled “primary” and “secondary” (see the map in the story we published back then). Now they are labeled entry/exit with a warning that either route might be used at any time by any truck, depending on a variety of conditions.

(added) Following further discussion – here’s the PDF including the county’s full announcement, also embedded below:

Get ready! Next Recycle Roundup in Fauntleroy, six days away

September 15, 2014 at 9:28 am | In Environment, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

Feels like endless summer at the moment. But fall’s a week away. And on the eve of its arrival, it’s your next chance to clear out no-longer-needed items, without just throwing them away. Sunday (September 21st) is the fall edition of the twice-annual Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church. Here’s the list of 1 Green Planet will accept at the event, free (and a few specific mentions of what they will NOT take). Just bring the recyclables to the church parking lot at 9140 California SW that day, 9 am-3 pm.

West Seattle weekend scenes: North Delridge Tree Walk

September 13, 2014 at 6:58 pm | In Delridge, Environment, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

(Photos by Holli Margell of Holli With An I Photography)
Do you take the trees in your neighborhood for granted? One way to shake that ennui – organize a Tree Walk. That’s what Patrick Baer did in North Delridge today, and about 30 people joined him, including photographer Holli Margell, who shared these photos. Above, that’s Patrick with the Heritage Cully River Birch. The walk started at Greg Davis Park, and the group heard about the park’s origins.

From left in that photo are Lisa Taylor-Whitney, Patrick Baer, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, and Tanya Baer. The route included part of the Longfellow Creek Trail:

And a stop under the canopy of a Lawson Cypress:

Find out more about tree walks around the city and how to be a Tree Ambassador, by going here.

When is a teardown not just a teardown? When it’s a salvage operation, too – like Arbor Heights Elementary

September 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm | In Arbor Heights, Environment, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

Lots of demolition work around West Seattle this month – and we’ve received some bonus information about one project: With major teardown work at Arbor Heights Elementary starting this week, SODO-based Second Use has spent three days on site “reclaiming materials that still had life in them to divert them from the landfill,” according to outreach coordinator Mary Anne Carter, who shared the photos and adds:

We recovered hundreds of items including slate, trough sinks, porcelain enameled barn lights, fir wall cabinets, fir built in cabinets, stainless steel sinks, and more.

Although the school was built in 1953, many of the fixtures were built in the decades previous and used in other schools before being moved to Arbor Heights. Tags and markings on fixtures listed John Hay School, Fauntleroy Elementary School, and others. Most of the inventory can be viewed on our website, though we are continuing to process items and add new material daily. …

It’s my hope that this provides the community with the opportunity to potentially reconnect with the furnishings of their formative years and glean a better perspective of what happened to the material that the school left behind.

Second Use is not involved with the Genesee Hill school-teardown project, according to Carter (work there also has intensified – here’s video we published on Instagram yesterday).

Sunshine returns tomorrow; get out on the Duwamish River!

September 10, 2014 at 11:12 am | In Environment, South Park, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Forecast promises sunshine returning tomorrow (and continuing through the weekend). We’ve just found out from the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition that there’s room for more to join tomorrow night’s Community Kayak Tour of our city’s only river – what a way to enjoy the evening. This time, the tour leaves from Duwamish Waterway Park in South Park (7900 10th Avenue South), just minutes east of West Seattle, 6 pm Thursday (bring your picnic dinner!). You don’t have to have your own kayak, or even experience; everything is provided, through DRCC’s tour partner, West Seattle’s own Alki Kayak Tours, $45/person. But you do need to RSVP ASAP – tours@kayakalki.com is the best way. If you DO have your own kayak, you’re welcome to join the tour too, by donation. Find out what all the buzz is about, with ongoing campaigns like riverforall.org and the newly announced city/county coordination

Will the city require food-waste recycling? Council committee hearing this afternoon

September 9, 2014 at 9:18 am | In Environment, Utilities, West Seattle news | 29 Comments

The City Council is considering a change to the recycling rules – instead of just enabling food-waste recycling, they’re looking at requiring it. The next discussion of this proposal is on the agenda for the Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee meeting this afternoon at City Hall at 2 pm (here’s the agenda). The slide-deck presentation accompanying the agenda item (see it here or above) says the city will take too long to get to its recycling goal of 60 percent of all waste, without a requirement like this, because food waste and compostable (but not otherwise recyclable) paper are “the largest component of readily divertible material” in what both residences and businesses throw away. If the proposal is finalized by the council, the new rules would start next year, with warnings at first, and then in July, a residential violation would cost you $1, a dumpster violation $50 after 2 warnings.

West Seattle weekend scene: Imagine a buttless beach

August 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm | In Environment, West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

On the sidewalk next to the volleyball courts on Alki, you’ll find Barbara Clabots and other Surfrider Foundation/Seattle Chapter volunteers getting out the word to get cigarette butts out of the sand, as previewed here the other night. The ones in the container next to Barbara were collected from beach cleanups last year at Alki and Golden Gardens. Surfrider is trying to combat the widely held (and erroneous) belief that the material in cigarette filters is biodegradable – it’s actually plastic. They’re also offering businesses the chance to sponsor canisters like this one for ongoing disposal:

‘Hold On To Your Butt’! Surfrider Foundation campaign Saturday

August 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm | In Environment, West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

Every time there’s a big cleanup at Alki Beach, we hear about volunteers collecting pounds and pounds and pounds of cigarette butts. Even one is too many, says the Surfrider Foundation, which is trying something new this Saturday – an awareness campaign:

For the last several years, the Seattle Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has held numerous beach cleanups at some of the city’s most popular parks.

Even though smoking is banned on Seattle Parks beaches, play areas, and playgrounds, the cigarette filters continue to pile up at every beach cleanup and according to the Ocean Conservancy are the most common item picked up on beach cleanups around the world. A report from San Diego State University found that the toxins leaching from just one cigarette butt could kill a fish placed in a one liter bucket.

“A common misconception is that cigarette filters are biodegradable because they look like a paper product, but they are actually plastic and recyclable”, says Susan North, Surfrider volunteer. “The San Diego and Vancouver Island Surfrider chapters are already leading very successful Hold On To Your Butt campaigns which are cleaning up our beaches, cities, and streets.”

Their goal is to reduce local cigarette litter by educating smokers that butts are plastic and toxic to marine life. Surfrider believes it is important to empower smokers through education and also to provide smokers with ways to dispose of cigarette butts that are not a fire hazard. The chapter is working with Seattle Parks and Recreation by placing two ash cans at Alki Beach Park.

On Saturday, August 23rd, from 10 AM-1 PM at Alki Beach and in conjunction with the Alki Beach Volleyball tournament, Surfrider volunteers will hand out flyers and hold a beach sweep to draw attention to the amount of butts on our beaches. The campaign committee invites the public to attend and learn more about the initiative and find out how to sponsor an ash can.

P.S. Also on Alki this Saturday morning, the annual Great Cross-Sound Race, so heads up, it’ll be busy at the beach!

Never too soon to plan! Next ‘Recycle Roundup’: September 21

August 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm | In Environment, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

For so many people with so many recyclables that can’t be put out for curbside pickup, the twice-annual Fauntleroy Church “Recycle Roundup” dropoff events are highly popular. That’s why we’re sharing mega-early news of the date for the next one: 9 am-3 pm Sunday, September 21st, church parking lot @ 9140 California SW. See the newly updated “what they’ll accept” list here.

Fauntleroy milestone: Kilbourne Ravine restoration work begins

August 10, 2014 at 3:46 pm | In Environment, Fauntleroy, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(Wednesday photo by Dylan Grace-Wells: EarthCorps crewmember beginning to blaze a path through intensive wild clematis and ivy)
Southwest of the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, a green but threatened treasure is finally getting long-planned TLC – not just a round of weekend work parties, but instead, the toughest restoration project in the Fauntleroy Creek Watershed: Work has begun in the Kilbourne Ravine, announces Fauntleroy Creek watershed steward Judy Pickens, the project coordinator. After the final permit was procured, EarthCorps crew members were booked to get going with the project during two work days this past week.

The work along the middle reach of Fauntleroy Creek, between California SW and 45th SW, will focus on getting rid of invasive vegetation – aka weeds – and restoring appropriate vegetation. This in turn will accomplish goals including controlling erosion, filtering runoff, and reclaiming the ravine as wildlife habitat.

It’s a 2 1/2-acre site that is a mix of private- and city-owned property, classified overall as an “environmentally critical area.” But it’s infested, as are many of our greenspaces, with invaders including Himalayan blackberry and English ivy, as well as wild clematis and other invasive shrubs/trees. Judy reports that the work plan for the first week included:

*Cutting all clematis, especially where growing up trees, to prevent flowering and seeding this season

*Cutting blackberry (where growing in larger patches without native plants) in preparation for future spray treatment

*Pulling clematis away from native plants in preparation for future spray treatment

*If time allows, begin cutting ivy off native trees (survival rings)

*If time allows, begin treating invasive trees (holly, cherry laurel) using injection lance

*Hauling out garbage and debris as needed.

Fighting the invasives benefits more than the ravine itself – it also reduces their spread to nearby property. According to the project FAQ, this is the start of six years of work. But that will honor a legacy that is many decades old; according to Seattle Parks, its part of the ravine was donated by Dr. Edward C. Kilbourne, who established the Washington Dental Association. (Perhaps, then, it is fitting that some of the extensive work just to get to the point where restoration work can begin, sounds to have been a bit like pulling teeth.)

But Pickens and other intrepid volunteers/advocates have been at it a long time, with achievements including the restoration of Fauntleroy Creek itself as a salmon creek, so they’ve been taking it milestone by milestone, including two years of fundraising work which has yielded $55,000+ so far. Pickens notes support from “the Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, a grant-making fund created by the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and administered by the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment.”

P.S. If you pass the ravine and notice rappellers – that’s what it’ll take for some of the work, given the steepness of the slopes!

South Delridge raingarden project: ‘Walk and talk’ on August 12th

July 31, 2014 at 9:17 am | In Delridge, Environment, West Seattle news | Comments Off

West Seattle’s next roadside-raingarden project, officially dubbed the Delridge Natural Drainage System, is in the “early design” process. Next chance for neighbors to get updates and ask questions has just been announced – a “project-design walk-and-talk” event on Tuesday, August 12th, starting at the corner of 17th and Elmgrove (map) at 6 pm. The updates, according to this postcard that’s on its way to nearby mailboxes, will include a chance to “review proposed design concepts and plantings.” Like the county-initiated “green stormwater infrastructure” raingardens under construction in Westwood and Sunrise Heights, the goal is to reduce the stormwater going into the combined-sewer system, which in turn should reduce overflows at the end of the line. Construction is scheduled for next year.

Followup: Alki, Seacrest showers to be turned back on following pollution-concern-related shutdown

July 30, 2014 at 2:18 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 25 Comments

Just in from Seattle Parks, following our Tuesday report:

Seattle Parks and Recreation will turn on the showers back on at Alki Beach Bathhouse today, and have the showers at Seacrest Park open by Thursday, July 31.

The water had been turned off temporarily after Seattle Parks received notice from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) that the two showers were draining directly into the Puget Sound, which is not allowed under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NDPES) or Seattle City Code.

Parks and SPU have jointly developed a temporary solution to the problem while a more permanent one is created. Seattle Parks and Recreation will install a charcoal or vitamin C treatment system to address the chlorine in the water, and post signs that say “no soap, no chemicals, no dumping.”

Parks will work with SPU to develop a method and schedule for the long-term fix, which will likely include connecting the showers to the nearby sanitary line.

Parks and SPU are still working on a solution for how to bring the fish cleaning sink into compliance.

Thanks again to Paul for the tip on the shutoff – he e-mailed us over the weekend, we inquired Monday, and published the first report after Parks replied Tuesday morning, updating the story late yesterday following a conversation with SPU. We welcome news tips 24/7 – if breaking, text or voice to 206-293-6302; otherwise, editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks!

Shower shutdown at Seacrest, Alki: You can’t rinse yourself off any more because of pollution concerns

July 29, 2014 at 10:33 am | In Environment, West Seattle news | 57 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:33 AM: That photo from Alki Bathhouse shows a shower you can’t use any more because of pollution concerns. Paul shared it, with the note: “I, the lady with the two kids covered in sand at Alki Beach today and every scuba diver in Seattle would be interested in knowing how our tap water is harmful to Puget Sound (especially when we still have combined sewer overflow running untreated into Puget Sound every time it rains)?” The shower at Seacrest Boathouse has the same status and signage. So we checked with Seattle Parks, whose spokesperson David Takami replied:

In early July, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) staff checked for possible prohibited discharges at two locations in West Seattle:

* The outside shower at Alki Bathhouse, where pottery equipment had been washed; and

* The fish-cleaning sink and divers’ showers at Seacrest Park.

SPU administers the City of Seattle’s compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permit. NPDES is a program of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

SPU determined that prohibited substances were present and draining directly into Puget Sound. Used water from showers and sinks may contain dirt, chemicals, chlorine and other substances that are not allowed to be directly discharged into the Sound. Upon notification, Seattle Parks and Recreation staff turned off the water at these two sites. Staff are looking into short- and long-term solutions.

We posted signs at both locations that read “The outside shower has been turned off or removed because it drains directly into Puget Sound in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act.”

We’re checking with SPU to find out more, including whether this is a citywide crackdown.

5:40 PM UPDATE: Spoke with an SPU rep, Louise Kulzer, a short time ago and got some answers, though it was recommended that we contact someone tomorrow who would likely have even more specifics. This, she said, originated with a complaint – the city has long acknowledged that many of its actions are complaint-based rather than proactive, and this seems to be one such case. Kulzer said, however, that the specific action of shutting down the showers would have been Parks’ choice to remedy the problem of discharging prohibited substances directly into Puget Sound. Even if not for a complaint, SPU does routinely inspect businesses and city facilities and might eventually have discovered this anyway, we’re told. We asked if parks in any other areas had been ordered to remedy similar problems, and Kulzer didn’t have that information handy – that’s something we should be able to ask about tomorrow.

Your chance to explore the Duwamish River: Kayak tour series set

July 27, 2014 at 6:37 pm | In Environment, South Park, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(WSB file photo)
The Duwamish River, along West Seattle’s eastern border (and beyond), is in the spotlight more than ever this year. Some cleanup is under way and plans for more are in the works. A high-profile awareness campaign by the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition has even brought a high-profile supporter, Seattle-based hip-hop superstar Macklemore (who wrote about it here).

But you don’t have to be a star to help the river. You can do something as simple as taking a tour. And DRCC has just announced this year’s series – every other Thursday night, 6-8:30 pm, starting this week (July 31st), through the end of September. Three tours leave from T-107 Park on the West Seattle side of the river – July 31st, August 14th, September 11th – while the other two leave from Duwamish Waterway Park in South Park – August 28th and September 25th. And they’re all in partnership with West Seattle-headquartered Alki Kayak Tours (with whom you need to RSVP – tours@kayakalki.com – $45/person unless you’re bringing your own kayak, in which case, it’s by donation). Here’s the flyer with full details (PDF).

Nine ‘new acres’ of greenbelt restoration in West Seattle

July 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

More work to protect West Seattle forest land: Seattle Parks plant ecologist Michael Yadrick sent word of a new round of greenbelt restoration happening now – nine acres in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, the city’s largest contiguous forest, some of which is shown in our photo above, looking at the greenbelt behind the Parks facility on West Marginal Way SW.

These are what we call “new acres,” an area that hasn’t been touched for restoration before. This zone is very visible from the West Seattle Bridge. If you ever cruise westbound and look south at the hillside above the river, we are getting into the steep slopes above W Marginal Way. This Andover tract has some of the forests most heavily impacted by invasion of non-native plants, over 80% cover of ivy on the ground (and it was thigh-high when we first went in to survey for the work) and every single tree had ivy climbing up the trunk. The crew removed ivy from over 800 trees! A month or so after the crew completed the “survival rings,” I could actually see the texture of the forest canopy change. Much of that green, pillowy look that you see from the bridge is from ivy foliage that was hanging in the trees, which ultimately contributes to their decline over time. By removing it, we allow more light on the forest floor, which creates conditions more amenable to a healthy, mixed conifer forest.

(As far as we could tell from below, the brown areas in our photo are dead invasives. Yadrick’s explanation continues after the jump, if you’re reading this from the home page:)
Click to read the rest of Nine ‘new acres’ of greenbelt restoration in West Seattle…

West Seattle 4th of July aftermath: How you can help

July 5, 2014 at 6:55 pm | In Environment, West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

(UPDATED with pics from others who did some cleanup! Share your photo: editor@westseattleblog.com)

Got a little time before dusk? You can make a big impact by heading down to the beach with a bag. There’s been lots of talk today about the noise of last night – not quite as much about the debris in its aftermath. West Seattle advocate/activist “Diver Laura” James reports back on what she found when she went to the shore this afternoon to see the aftermath:

I went out for about an hour and got halfway down Alki Beach. The fireworks debris is not as prominent as it was last year after the private fireworks display, but there was definitely stuff to be cleaned up.

The public beaches are actually a bit cleaner than the private beaches and the park next to my house, mostly because the cops shut the beach down at 11 pm last night. I encourage everyone to take 15 min to half an hour and walk the local beaches in your neighborhood. If you don’t have a local beach, take a stroll by the local park. If you don’t have a local park, check your street. It may not be your fireworks debris, but I would put a healthy wager on all of us having shot off some assortment of noisemakers at some point for which others did the cleanup. Puget Sound and its inhabitants don’t care who fired them off, it’s who picks them up that really matters. While you are out there, feel free to pick up some other trash as well – plastic caps, styrofoam, plastic utensils, earplugs, wrappers, you name it… Every little bit helps and your individual actions count.

There is a garbage patch growing on the bottom of Puget Sound, and the only way we can stop it (other than everyone learning to dive and coming with me to clean it up) is to stop the trash before it reaches the waterways. So step up, bend down, and pick up that trash. Do it for Puget Sound, do it for our collective future. A lot of the cardboard and plastic debris is up in the high tide line, mixed in with the seaweed …

… but with a bit of patience you can pick it out.

If you can’t spare any time tonight – maybe tomorrow.

ADDED: NW went to Alki and shared this photo afterward:

ADDED SUNDAY MORNING: Here’s what Claire picked up:

Anybody else? editor@westseattleblog.com

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