West Seattle Blog... » Environment http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 03:05:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Your chance to explore the Duwamish River: Kayak tour series set http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/your-chance-to-explore-the-duwamish-river-kayak-tour-series-set/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/your-chance-to-explore-the-duwamish-river-kayak-tour-series-set/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 01:37:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280687

(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).

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Nine ‘new acres’ of greenbelt restoration in West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/nine-new-acres-of-greenbelt-restoration-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/nine-new-acres-of-greenbelt-restoration-in-west-seattle/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:38:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280215

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:)

This is work that is completed by contractors and Parks staff due to the safety of working in steep areas as well as the level of work needed to remove the invasive weeds and replant heavily. Nine acres is a good amount to cover in one season. This work on steep slopes and wetlands is what I consider the “dirty work” that many people won’t see at other GSP volunteer events. We want to let the public know about it.

Green Seattle Partnership’s goal is to restore 2500 acres of forested parkland by 2025, and we are halfway to that goal. For the next 10 years of the program, by our calculations, we have 500+ acres of steep slope work left to do in the city, and over 200 acres of that is in West Seattle (primarily in the W Duwamish and Duwamish Head). With restoration, comes the benefits of slope stability, habitat enhancement, and more pleasant recreational opportunities.

We have a new map where you can view the areas in restoration and places we have yet to work.

Read more about the Green Seattle Partnership here.

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West Seattle 4th of July aftermath: How you can help http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-4th-of-july-aftermath-how-you-can-help/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-4th-of-july-aftermath-how-you-can-help/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 01:55:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278469 (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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Beached-buoy followup: King County trying to solve the mystery http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/beached-buoy-followup-king-county-trying-to-solve-the-mystery/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/beached-buoy-followup-king-county-trying-to-solve-the-mystery/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 01:49:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277974

That photo shared by Lura last night showed the retrieval of a King County water-quality-monitoring buoy from its surprise spot on the Beach Drive shore, less than a year after it was put into place off Lincoln Park. Following up on what we reported Sunday, here’s what the county says today:

King County Environmental Laboratory employees are looking into how a water-quality- data-collection buoy came loose from its mooring before washing ashore along West Seattle on June 29.

The buoy and its host of environmental sensors had been in place off Point Williams since July 2013 and automatically transmitted a wealth of important data about environmental conditions. King County employees were notified early in the morning of June 29 that the buoy was ashore along the 5400 block of Beach Drive SW, south of Me-Kwa-Mooks Park.

Later that day, laboratory employees successfully refloated the buoy and towed it to the Elliott Bay Marina while arrangements are made to move it to the County’s environmental laboratory in Queen Anne for refitting.

While the buoy itself appears unscathed by its unexpected journey, a sensor that detects and transmits data on water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity and depth did not fare as well and was damaged.

Exactly how the buoy came loose from its mooring remains a mystery. The buoy was secured off Point Williams by nearly 1,200 pounds of weight, including two railroad wheels and a heavy gage steel chain that was attached to the buoy by a shackle mechanism.

Environmental laboratory workers will try to determine what part of the mooring set-up broke and how it can be repaired so that the buoy can be placed back at Point Williams.

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Beached-buoy update: King County water-quality outpost floats in, gets towed out http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/beached-buoy-king-county-water-quality-outpost-floats-in/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/beached-buoy-king-county-water-quality-outpost-floats-in/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 16:25:32 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277839

FIRST REPORT, 9:25 AM: Lura shares the photo from the 5400 block of Beach Drive SW. It appears to be the King County water-quality-monitoring buoy placed off Lincoln Park almost a year ago, described at the time as “firmly anchored in about 550 feet of water just less than half a mile off Point Williams.” She was making phone calls in hopes of finding someone to report it to, and just sent an update saying a neighbor has reached somebody. (The buoy, by the way, still seems to be sending readings.)

UPDATE, 4:51 PM: From King County’s Kimberle Stark:

Thanks definitely go out to the residents who reported the buoy was on the beach!!! Staff from the King County Environmental Laboratory are going to try and retrieve it tonight. We’re not sure what happened yet until we get a close look at the bottom frame. Thanks again to the residents who reported it in such a timely manner!

UPDATE, 6:40 PM: Looks like they were able to retrieve it – Lura sent this photo of the buoy under tow:

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Alki Beach cleanup success – and what wasn’t debris after all http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/alki-beach-cleanup-success-and-what-wasnt-debris-after-all/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/alki-beach-cleanup-success-and-what-wasnt-debris-after-all/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 04:46:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276674

From David Hutchinson on behalf of Seal Sitters, a photo and update following this past Saturday’s community cleanup at Alki:

Saturday was a great success. This year’s event was co-sponsored by PAWS Wildlife Center and the Alki Community Council. Over 70 people turned out, and after a brief talk about the dangers of marine debris, they fanned out along the beach and street. Cleaning supplies were provided by Seattle Parks & Recreation. We want to thank everyone who participated in this worthwhile community effort.

For the complete story and to see what looks like trash, but is indeed part of the marine ecosystem, read our blog post here.

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Coal-train film ‘Momenta’ at Admiral Theater on Wednesday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/coal-train-film-momenta-at-admiral-theater-on-wednesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/coal-train-film-momenta-at-admiral-theater-on-wednesday/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 02:45:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276625

Above, that’s the trailer for “Momenta,” which you can see for free ($3 donation suggested but not mandatory) at West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater this Wednesday night (June 18th). “Momenta” focuses on the Pacific Northwest spur of the coal-train controversy, featuring advocates opposing Montana and Wyoming coal mining that would result in billions of tons of coal being exported to Asia through Northwest ports, with pollution concerns along the rail-transport routes as well as once the coal is burned to generate power. This particular advocacy campaign is on behalf of the outdoor- and winter-sports communities, including Protect Our Winters. A panel discussion will follow the screening on Wednesday, which is at 8:40 pm (the film runs 42 minutes); this is part of an eight-city tour for “Momenta.”

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Roadside raingardens in South Delridge: Door-to-door info http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/roadside-raingardens-in-south-delridge-door-to-door-info/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/roadside-raingardens-in-south-delridge-door-to-door-info/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 23:16:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276299 Design is under way for the third area of West Seattle to get roadside raingardens to help reduce runoff that contributes to combined-sewer overflows (CSO), and project team members are now going door-to-door to make sure residents are aware. As outlined at a meeting last November, the raingardens will be built in an area of South Delridge primarily involving several blocks of 17th SW – between SW Kenyon and SW Henderson – that’s also part of a future greenway. Seattle Public Utilities is the lead agency, and says:

Project design is happening through 2014 and into 2015. Throughout the upcoming months, SPU will continue to work with project area residents to finalize the design. During design and leading up to construction, pre-construction activities may include geotechnical and survey crews in the neighborhood, and utility relocation work prior to construction. Construction of the natural drainage system is scheduled to begin in summer of 2015.

The city’s project website is here; the project reps going door-to-door are distributing two infosheets, here and here. And if you have questions, be at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting next Wednesday (June 18th, 7 pm) at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center – an SPU rep will be there with an update on the project that’s officially known as “Delridge Natural Drainage Systems.”

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First Sunrise Heights/Westwood, next Highland Park? County update on roadside-raingarden (and other) possibilities http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/first-sunrise-heightswestwood-next-highland-park-county-update-on-roadside-raingarden-and-other-possibilities/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/first-sunrise-heightswestwood-next-highland-park-county-update-on-roadside-raingarden-and-other-possibilities/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 18:56:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275255

(Click image for full-size flyer also showing the South Park area and the explanatory legend)
With two major combined-sewer-overflow (CSO) reduction projects under way in West Seattle, the King County Wastewater Treatment District is looking ahead to its next one, in Highland Park and South Park. The most-recent HP Action Committee meeting got an update from KCWTD’s Kristine Cramer and John Phillips.

In addition to possible “roadside raingardens” along some streets in the area (highlighted above in yellow) – like the ones going into more than a dozen blocks of Sunrise Heights and Westwood – they also are looking at permeable (porous) pavement in some parts of the area, and possibly a runoff-control project using part of one of the Seattle City Light “surplus” ex-substation sites.

They were very cautious when discussing the latter, saying there’s no deal so far to buy that 13,740-square-foot site at 9th and Trenton (which City Light calls the “White Center” site, although it’s in Highland Park), and making it clear that the county would not be able to use the entire parcel, so it would have to be bought in conjunction with some kind of community partner who could.

Overall, Phillips told HPAC attendees that about 11 acres in the area are directly connected to “combined sewers,” mostly along 9th. The roadside raingardens, a possibility for the yellow-marked zone on the map above, would likely not affect much on-street parking, he said, because the road shoulder is fairly wide. The Highland Park project is intended to reduce the amount of CSO into the Duwamish River at two spots, described as “at the bottom of Highland Park Drive, headed for 1st Avenue South” (officially known as West Michigan) and “at T-115 by the Duwamish Longhouse.”

This summer, they are working on design, as well as trying to figure out how part of the surplus-substation site might be used, and if any nonprofit groups/foundations would be interested in helping buy the property. The county projects that about a quarter of the site would be used for “bioretention” but the rest would be open for something else.

HPAC chair Carolyn Stauffer noted that the community had suggested in the past that Seattle Parks could use the site as another entrance into Westcrest Park, but that Parks had taken a pass on it. Phillips says they’ll be talking to county “decisionmakers” in the next month or so to figure something out. Regarding installing “permeable pavement” for drainage in at least one area alley, he said they’re working with SDOT. That was heartening news to one attendee, who said it would be unfortunate if public agencies couldn’t work together

The Highland Park project’s official webpage on the county’s site is here. Cramer and Phillips promised to return to HPAC – which won’t meet again until September – with an update in the fall. They suggested anyone interested in what the roadside raingardens look like to go take a look at 34th/Holden, the first nearly-complete section of the Sunrise Heights/Westwood project (aka the Barton Basin CSO project).

In the meantime, the county is still urging residents to help reduce the stormwater flow at its source – their homes – via the RainWise program, which offers rebates for installation of at-home stormwater infrastructure such as cisterns; it’s already taken 14,000 square feet of roof runoff out of the system, Cramer and Phillips told HPAC.

THE REST OF THE STORY: The other major topic of this month’s HPAC meeting was community involvement with and support for Highland Park Elementary School – we’ll be writing about that separately.

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Comment time for the city’s upcoming CSO plan, including Delridge options to reduce Longfellow Creek pollution http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/comment-time-for-the-citys-upcoming-cso-plan-including-delridge-options-to-reduce-longfellow-creek-pollution/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/comment-time-for-the-citys-upcoming-cso-plan-including-delridge-options-to-reduce-longfellow-creek-pollution/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 20:15:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274796 Also from today’s city Land Use Information Bulletin – another big proposal that is now ready for review and comments: The city’s draft Environmental Impact Statement for the plan to reduce combined-sewer overflows (aka “The Plan to Protect Seattle’s Waterways”). Here’s the formal notice. This is similar to, but NOT part of, the county CSO-reduction plan that has led to two major projects in our area (storage tank at Lowman Beach and roadside raingardens in Sunrise Heights and Westwood). The city is accountable for different areas, including, in West Seattle, Longfellow Creek and the Duwamish River, and is exploring alternatives including the possibility of more underground storage in the Delridge area. Lots of documents related to this – for the shortest version, the executive summary, go here. You’ll find an overview, and how to comment, by going here – June 30th is the commenting deadline, and there’s one public hearing planned (June 24th in North Seattle, details at that same link).

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Something to shred? To e-cycle? Free opportunities ahead http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/something-to-shred-to-e-cycle-free-opportunities-ahead/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/something-to-shred-to-e-cycle-free-opportunities-ahead/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 17:03:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274770 Just announced: Free shredding and e-cycling this Saturday in The Junction, 10 am-1 pm May 31st, presented by the West Seattle Junction Association and Windermere West Seattle. It’ll be in the parking lot in the 4500 block of 42nd SW (between Oregon and Alaska). The e-cycling provider’s website lists what they’ll accept.

P.S. If you can’t get to this Saturday’s event but have documents to dispose of, free shredding will be offered a week later, 9 am-1 pm June 7th, at PBJ Textiles‘ new location in White Center – details here.

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New phase for Murray overflow-tank project at Lowman Beach: Underground wall-building http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/new-phase-for-murray-overflow-tank-project-at-lowman-beach-underground-wall-building/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/new-phase-for-murray-overflow-tank-project-at-lowman-beach-underground-wall-building/#comments Sun, 25 May 2014 21:52:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274413

(WSB photo)
Even more heavy equipment is on site now at the combined-sewer overflow (CSO) control project across from Lowman Beach Park, officially known as the Murray CSO Project. As announced by the King County Wastewater Treatment District, crews are starting to build the outer wall of the facility’s million-gallon underground storage tank:

Crews will drill holes 80 feet into the ground and replace the soil with four-foot wide concrete cylinders. The cylinders are called secant piles.

The secant piles lock together to create a watertight ring. The ring will be nearly 100 feet wide. It will keep water out of the tank area while it is being dug and protect nearby utilities, roadways and private property from settlement. Installing the secant piles is expected to take four months.

Along with the tank site on the east side of Beach Drive SW, portable office trailers and other equipment and components are taking up a lot of space at Lowman, as the project-site map shows:

We took the top photo on Saturday, with no crews on site, which meant parking was OK on the east side of Beach, but it’s a different situation during the official work hours of 7 am-6 pm weekdays, so keep that in mind as we move toward the summer season – for example, if you are accustomed to getting to Colman Pool by parking at or near Lowman and walking along Lincoln Park’s south shore, you might need a different strategy on weekdays. Work on the tank facility and the pump station across the street is projected to last at least until mid-2016.

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From Seal Sitters: Alki cleanup ahead; downtown benefit http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/from-seal-sitters-alki-cleanup-ahead-downtown-benefit/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/from-seal-sitters-alki-cleanup-ahead-downtown-benefit/#comments Sat, 24 May 2014 23:09:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274338 Two ways you can help West Seattle wildlife via Seal Sitters:

(WSB file photo from one of the previous Seal Sitters-co-sponsored cleanups)
JUNE 14 CLEANUP: Get trash off Alki Beach, before it gets into the water and into/onto seals and other marine life. Join Seal Sitters and co-sponsors for a beach cleanup 9:30 am-12:30 pm three weeks from today, Saturday, June 14th. One of the co-sponsors, PAWS Wildlife Center, will talk about the threat wildlife faces from beach debris, and the difficulty of rehab for rescued wildlife. This cleanup is in honor of Sandy the seal pup, rescued and rehabbed by PAWS and then found dead in abandoned netting, and of the gray whale that died in The Arroyos, then was found to have a stomach full of plastic debris. Bring your own gloves if you can, and meet at Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza (61st/Alki Ave SW) at 9:30 am June 14th – RSVP via the link in this announcement on Seal Sitters’ Blubberblog.

HOIST A MUG WITH A HELPING HAND: Seal Sitters has also announced that Rock Bottom Brewery downtown (1333 5th Avenue) has offered to raise money via donating all proceeds from $2 pints of a specific ale fold next Tuesday night (May 27th), 5-8 pm – if you’re downtown, stop by! Details on Blubberblog.

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Followup: Recyclers set a record at Fauntleroy Church’s roundup http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/followup-recyclers-set-a-record-at-fauntleroy-churchs-roundup/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/followup-recyclers-set-a-record-at-fauntleroy-churchs-roundup/#comments Sat, 03 May 2014 03:17:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=272232 Whole lot of spring cleaning going on in West Seattle – and not just to get ready for May 10th’s WS Community Garage Sale Day. If you were part of last Sunday’s Fauntleroy Church recycling event, Judy Pickens says you were part of something big:

A steady stream of vehicles (estimated at 400 – a record) brought 10.5 tons of old appliances, computers, lawn mowers, and other recyclables to Sunday’s Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church. Everything is well on its way back to the resource stream! The church’s green committee will sponsor another roundup in September.

Inbetween recycling roundups, the South Transfer Station in nearby South Park takes some things you can’t put out at curbside. The city website also has a lookup tool you can use to see what’s recyclable and what’s not.

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Fauntleroy Creek’s spring salmon season starts with Roxhill students http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/fauntleroy-creeks-spring-salmon-season-starts-with-roxhill-students/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/fauntleroy-creeks-spring-salmon-season-starts-with-roxhill-students/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 04:33:34 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=272138

What looks to be a record-setting month of salmon-fry releases at Fauntleroy Creek has begun. On the warmest day so far this year, Roxhill Elementary students came to the creek after school today to release salmon they’d been raising:

Longtime volunteer Dennis Hinton was there to assist the students in carefully transferring the little salmon into the creek:

Creek steward Judy Pickens has drawn up the schedule for the next four weeks and tells WSB, “We expect to see at least 600 students this year in a record 20 releases.” Then in the fall, there’s another round of volunteer activity in the annual watch for returning salmon – last year was pretty much a bust, while the year before set a record.

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