Environment – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 26 May 2018 06:45:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 FOLLOWUP: Fauntleroy Creek salmon-release season at midstream http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/followup-fauntleroy-creek-salmon-release-season-at-midstream/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/followup-fauntleroy-creek-salmon-release-season-at-midstream/#respond Sat, 19 May 2018 04:58:30 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=917112 (Volunteer Dennis Hinton instructs Pathfinder students and EarthCorps crewmembers in the gentle releasing of fry into Fauntleroy Creek. Photo by Kersti Muul)

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.

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Southwest District Council goes green for May meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/southwest-district-council-goes-green-for-may-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/05/southwest-district-council-goes-green-for-may-meeting/#comments Fri, 04 May 2018 04:54:49 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=915630 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):

Then there’s woodstove smoke, as woodstoves are used all around Puget Sound and are particularly dense in some part of Pierce County where natural gas is not available for home heating.

Kenworthy said that collective matter is what they look at trying to keep down, as it creates a health risk. He moved from there to talk about diesel in general as – while the others are a health risk to lungs and the circulatory system – diesel is the only item that is listed as a carcinogen. That’s why he said they’ve been working with the port to reduce the amount of diesel that’s being used by the vehicles that come and go with the freight. He said that one goal is to get the truck fleets to convert to newer vehicles that can burn
diesel 90 percent more efficiently than trucks made prior to 2010.

Originally the Northwest Seaport Alliance (the ports of Seattle and Tacoma) had a deadline of this past January 1st to only accept trucks that met the newer emissions standards, but that was extended to next January.

Kenworthy also talked about South Park as an area of air-pollution concern, but didn’t go into much detail other than to say its on their watch list for assistance.

In Q&A, he was asked about idling vehicles – he said that in areas where vehicles/drivers congregate, it’s especially important to shut the engine off while waiting – ferry lines and drawbridges, for example.

And before wrapping up, Kenworthy mentioned that his agency will have air-quality-measuring devices
that can be distributed to people around the area to monitor the air where they live.

Second guest was 34th District State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, now a West Seattle resident, who chairs the House Environment Committee.

He started by discussing that helping save the Southern Resident Killer Whales is a priority, with Governor Inslee having set up a task force earlier this year.

Another major topic: Oil transport via rail through our region. Though action was taken long ago regarding transport by water, to minimize the chance of disastrous spills, Fitzgibbon noted that much of the oil sent to North Sound refineries goes by rail, so that’s a big concern and a state priority for prevention and preparedness. As of just this week, he noted Burlington Northern Santa Fe has a contingency plan in place in case of a spill, as the result of legislation, similar to the one the state has in case of a marine oil disaster.

During the Q&A, Fitzgibbon was asked about vessel noise affecting the endangered orcas. He said some relief might come from the state, if it could run an electric ferry. He said the Volkswagen emissions settlement had included more than $100 million for the state and there’s talk that some of that might go toward an electric ferry. It would be more likely to run from downtown Seattle’s Colman Dock than from Fauntleroy, though.

The Southwest District Council meets first Wednesdays most months (but agreed to skip July this year since the first Wednesday is Independence Day), 6:30 pm, at the Senior Center/Sisson Building. Our coverage of SWDC is archived here, newest to oldest.

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FOLLOWUP: West Seattleites’ dropoffs total up to a record-setting Recycle Roundup! http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/followup-west-seattleites-dropoff-total-up-a-record-setting-recycle-roundup/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/followup-west-seattleites-dropoff-total-up-a-record-setting-recycle-roundup/#comments Tue, 01 May 2018 00:24:03 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=915365 (WSB photo, April 22nd)

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.

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Saving the Southern Resident Killer Whales: Research update at The Whale Trail’s first Orca Talk of the year http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/saving-the-southern-resident-killer-whales-research-update-at-the-whale-trails-first-orca-talk-of-the-year/ Thu, 26 Apr 2018 16:30:32 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=915012 (Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries)

You’re invited to The Whale Trail‘s first Orca Talk of the year, 7 pm next Tuesday (May 1st) at C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor). The announcement:

“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!

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EARTH DAY: Congratulations to local students in this year’s Environmental Slam http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/earth-day-congratulations-to-local-students-in-this-years-environmental-slam/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/earth-day-congratulations-to-local-students-in-this-years-environmental-slam/#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:16:52 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914677

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.

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HAPPENING NOW: Earth Day 2018 brings a busy Recycle Roundup http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/happening-now-earth-day-2018-brings-a-busy-recycle-roundup/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/happening-now-earth-day-2018-brings-a-busy-recycle-roundup/#comments Sun, 22 Apr 2018 18:02:52 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914639

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.

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25th anniversary for West Seattleite-founded Earth Day Groceries Project! http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/25th-anniversary-for-west-seattleite-founded-earth-day-groceries-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/25th-anniversary-for-west-seattleite-founded-earth-day-groceries-project/#comments Sun, 22 Apr 2018 17:40:26 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914634 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.

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EARTH DAY: Start your Sunday at Harbor/Avalon http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/earth-day-start-your-sunday-at-harbor-avalon/ Sun, 22 Apr 2018 02:12:57 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914593 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!

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VIDEO: Volunteers, joined by mayor, celebrate ‘Future and Hope’ during spring Duwamish Alive! http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/video-volunteers-joined-by-mayor-celebrate-future-and-hope-during-spring-duwamish-alive/ Sat, 21 Apr 2018 23:58:04 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914567 (WSB photos and video)

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:


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.

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REMINDER: Recycle Roundup on Sunday! http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/reminder-recycle-roundup-on-sunday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/reminder-recycle-roundup-on-sunday/#comments Sat, 21 Apr 2018 19:40:05 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914571 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.

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READER REPORT: Herbicide application at Alki http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/reader-report-herbicide-application-at-alki/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/reader-report-herbicide-application-at-alki/#comments Thu, 19 Apr 2018 18:40:46 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914358

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.

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Why students from Edmonds visited West Seattle’s Schmitz Preserve Park http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/why-students-from-edmonds-visited-west-seattles-schmitz-preserve-park/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/why-students-from-edmonds-visited-west-seattles-schmitz-preserve-park/#comments Thu, 19 Apr 2018 16:00:58 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914326 (WSB photos by Leda Costa)

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.)

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1 WEEK AWAY: Ready for spring Recycle Roundup next Sunday? http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/1-week-away-ready-for-spring-recycle-roundup-next-sunday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/1-week-away-ready-for-spring-recycle-roundup-next-sunday/#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2018 00:11:20 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914035 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.

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What you can do, and who you’ll see, at this spring’s Duwamish Alive! http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/what-you-can-do-and-who-youll-see-at-this-springs-duwamish-alive/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 16:21:28 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913674

(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 info@duwamishalive.org.

Opening Ceremonies
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.

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FAUNTLEROY CREEK: Our Lady of Guadalupe students’ morning research visit http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/fauntleroy-creek-our-lady-of-guadalupe-students-morning-research-visit/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/fauntleroy-creek-our-lady-of-guadalupe-students-morning-research-visit/#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2018 20:36:29 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913593 (Photos by Dennis Hinton)

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.

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