Environment – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 21 Apr 2018 10:00:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 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/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/what-you-can-do-and-who-youll-see-at-this-springs-duwamish-alive/#respond 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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Two weeks until spring Recycle Roundup; one change on the list http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/two-weeks-until-spring-recycle-roundup-one-change-on-the-list/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/two-weeks-until-spring-recycle-roundup-one-change-on-the-list/#comments Sun, 08 Apr 2018 18:05:36 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913457 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.

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VIDEO: ‘Congestion pricing’ tolls on Seattle roads? Just part of Mayor Durkan’s announcement http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/video-congestion-pricing-tolls-on-seattle-roads-just-part-of-mayor-durkans-announcement/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/video-congestion-pricing-tolls-on-seattle-roads-just-part-of-mayor-durkans-announcement/#comments Wed, 04 Apr 2018 21:48:38 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=913153

(Raw Seattle Channel video of mayor’s announcement on Queen Anne this morning)

“Congestion pricing” – tolls on city roads – is getting all the buzz from the mayor’s announcement today about what she wants to do to fight climate change. But that’s only part of the announcement. Here’s the news release from the mayor’s office:

Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced new bold actions in Seattle to reduce carbon pollution from our transportation and building sectors and make Seattle a national leader in fighting climate change. As part of Seattle’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, this set of short-term and long-term actions provides a roadmap for our City to act in the absence of federal leadership, particularly on leading contributors of greenhouse gases: transportation and buildings.

“Seattle can lead the world by taking bold action to reduce our carbon footprint while protecting our communities from the worst impacts of climate change. We are already seeing these impacts – from wildfires that choke our air to extreme rain events flooding our streets – and they are being disproportionately felt most in communities that are already disadvantaged,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our actions to reduce emissions from transportation and buildings will help create a healthier and more just city, with a stronger economy.”

Two-thirds of Seattle’s climate emissions result from road transportation. While Seattle is leading to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips, this strategy identifies actions that will reduce the climate and air pollution from Seattle’s cars and trucks by using Seattle City Light’s carbon-neutral electricity, including:

Improving mobility through congestion pricing in the upcoming years. At the conclusion of a new SDOT-led study, the City will develop a strategy over the next few years to address congestion and transportation emissions through pricing, coupled with investments in expanded transit and electrification in underserved communities.

Electric vehicle readiness ordinance for new construction. Mayor Durkan will transmit legislation requiring the inclusion of electric vehicle infrastructure in new construction or renovation that includes parking.

Green Fleet Action Plan update. Already a national leader in building a clean energy fleet, the city will update the Green Fleet Action Plan to phase out the use of fossil fuels in all fleet vehicles.

Ride share and taxi fleet electrification. The City will work with stakeholders to develop recommendations for electrifying all rideshare vehicles and taxis in Seattle. …

After transportation, building energy is the second largest source of climate emissions, which is why Mayor Durkan has introduced two bills to unlock more energy efficient buildings:

Creating the City’s Most Sustainable Buildings. Announced by Mayor Durkan in her first State of the City, this pilot will offer additional height and floor space incentives for up to 20 major renovations in urban centers for significant upgrades in energy and water use, stormwater management, and better transportation efficiency based on the standards to create carbon neutral buildings.

Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaS). Expand City Light’s successful, first in the nation, pay-for-performance energy efficiency pilot program to eliminate barriers that keep building owners from investing in deep energy efficiency upgrades. …

With many buildings and homes still using fossil fuels as a primary energy source for heating and cooling, the new actions that address building energy use include:

Oil to heat-pump conversion. Develop a funding strategy to accelerate the transition of 18,000 homes from heating with oil to an electric heat pump, including financing the switch for low-income residents.

Extending and expanding municipal building energy efficiency program through 2025. Currently on track in meeting the 20 percent by 2020 goal, Mayor Durkan will nearly double the funding through 2025, aiming to cut energy use and carbon emissions nearly 40 percent in our buildings. …

Finally, as part of the City’s ongoing commitment to leading by example, the strategy calls for City departments to assess the GHG emissions and cost impact of City plans, policies, and major investments. The Office of Sustainability & Environment will be responsible for tracking the progress of these climate initiatives and reporting back to City Council.

The ellipses above mark three spots where we omitted non-mayoral quotes for length. The full news release, including those quotes, is here. You can also see even more details in this PDF that is linked in the release (elaboration on congestion pricing, for example, is on page 14):

SIDE NOTE: The congestion-pricing study was mentioned here while the council was going through the budget process last fall, specifically in relation to whether it might help with diversion once the Highway 99 tunnel opens. The only other mention of the phrase in our past coverage was 10 years ago, also during discussion of the post-Alaskan Way Viaduct future.

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Port event in West Seattle touts regional progress in air-pollutant reduction, and what’s next http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/port-event-in-west-seattle-touts-regional-progress-in-air-pollutant-reduction-and-whats-next/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/port-event-in-west-seattle-touts-regional-progress-in-air-pollutant-reduction-and-whats-next/#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2018 00:30:37 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=912050

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

On a morning when rain was busily washing the air clean, the Port of Seattle hosted an event in West Seattle to talk about progress in reducing air pollutants related to maritime industry.

The occasion: The newest report from the Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum, described in the announcement as “a committee of seven ports, six government agencies, and three industrial partners” (most listed here). They first started tracking maritime-related emissions in 2005, and the report shows some major decreases.

To showcase the newest results of the every-five-years study – the Puget Sound Maritime Air Emissions Inventory – the port invited media to the Terminal 5 administration building to hear from reps of many participating organizations and to see examples of what’s being used to take less of a toll on the local air.

Those examples included semi-trucks powered with alternative fuel (top photo) and jars showing the dark heavy-oil fuel that’s declining in use, next to lighter fuel whose use is on the rise:

Opening the event, Seattle Port Commission president Courtney Gregoire described the report as “good news.”

She says it’s a “voluntary effort” that launched more than a decade ago. It “informs our strategy about future investments” among other things, and she says it is a reminder that “climate change is real.” This is the third inventory since 2005. The international standard for fuel has factored into it.

This is the first one that has tracked “black carbon” though it doesn’t remain in the atmosphere for long. And she says it shows good news though what they’re serving has grown, including the Seattle cruise boom. “It comes with a cost,” of course, she notes.

The port aims to be carbon-neutral or carbon-negative by 2050, Gregoire noted, adding, “This inventory … helps us understand the scale of that challenge … “we must keep our carbon reduction efforts front and center.” She mentioned the air-quality-challenged communities of Georgetown and South Park and promised to work with the community.

That’s the vital next step, said James Rasmussen, who leads the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. He was there observing rather than speaking, but we asked him afterward what this all meant to his organization’s work. Increased port-related traffic – including what’s expected to result from Terminal 5 modernization, eventually – will mean more trucks, and they’re not all going to be newer, lower-emissions models, so other means of mitigation are vital. That can be as simple as more trees in somewhat low-greenery Georgetown, for example, he said.

Back to the presentations: Leaders from the Ports of Tacoma and Everett followed Gregoire to the podium. The acting CEO from the latter, Lisa Lefeber (filling in while permanent CEO Les Reardanz is deployed to the Middle East), said they’ve moved far past the old observation “the smell of smoke is the smell of money.”

She talked about Everett’s modernization efforts; after Gregoire returned to the podium, and invited questions, we asked what the new study meant to the plans for Terminal 5. She replied, “This is exactly the track record we want to build on – this is showing the science about why we want to make those investments.” (Environmental features of the modernization project have been front and center for neighbors in particular, seeking an even-stronger commitment to shore power than what was featured in the final environmental study of the project, unveiled a year and a half ago.)

The panel discussion followed, including reps from the EPA, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, Sailors’ Union of the Pacific, Harley Marine Services, and Holland America Group (which includes not only that cruise line, but also Princess and Seabourn). Jim Peschel, from the cruise-line group, gave the global perspective, since his company’s ships sail around the world, and are dealing with a variety of pollution-reduction requirements. “You tell us what to do and we’ll do it, because we want to do the right thing.” He also said they appreciate being able to plug in – using shore power – at Seattle’s Piers 90/91 (56 percent of their calls last year were able to do that). And he said they’re working on other efficiencies, even a different type of paint for the bottom of hulls so they can glide more easily through the water.

Matt Godden from Harley, based in West Seattle, touted new tugboats that run on cleaner fuel and other investments in greener technology.

Capt. Mike Moore of the shipping association talked about the fuel savings resulting from larger ships – saying the biggest ones used to carry 5,280 container (equivalents), and now it’s four times that. Larger ships mean fewer calls, too – the port peaked in 1992 and has 992 fewer calls a year since then, he said. He too touted efficiencies, and put in a plug repeatedly for shipping being more efficient than transporting cargo by rail.

Vince O’Halloran from the maritime unions said they “greatly applaud … these efforts,” because they’re important to workers’ health, and ultimately will enable more investment in wages.

Amy Fowler of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency talked about the truck-replacement program that lasted for three years, as well as lauding tugboat operators for replacing/upgrading engines.

Tim Hamlin of the EPA noted that their data shows that “for every dollar spent (on cleaner engines) we get 21 dollars in health benefits.”

Powering ships with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) came up a few times. O’Halloran said BC Ferries has converted its entire fleet and voiced concern about “not-in-my-backyard folks” opposing it. Peschel said his cruise lines are exploring using it.

And Fowler wrapped it up by reiterating that the “biggest priority going forward is using this information and involving community … using this data and science to make decisions, where does our strategy go next?” Adjacent communities are disproportionately affected by the emissions and other effects of “goods movement,” she reminded everyone, so “we’re going to want to engage directly with those communities and give them a voice.”

To see the numbers from the new emissions report, scroll down this summary (PDF).

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SPRING RECYCLE ROUNDUP: Some changes this time around http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/spring-recycle-roundup-some-changes-this-time-around/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/spring-recycle-roundup-some-changes-this-time-around/#comments Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:08:32 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=912053 img_6608(WSB file photo from past Recycle Roundup)

Exactly one month from today, Fauntleroy Church hosts the spring Recycle Roundup, a free drive-up/ride-up/walk-up dropoff event for a wide variety of recyclables. But this time around, the company that partners with the church, 1 Green Planet, has made some changes to what it’s accepting, so you’ll want to take a close look at the new list if you’ve been saving up items to drop off. In particular, notes Judy Pickens, “Books are now on the list, for instance, but freezers and refrigerators are not any longer.” The hours are the same – 9 am-3 pm, Sunday, April 22nd, in the lot at 9140 California SW.

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FOLLOWUP: Early response to Fauntleroy Creek Stewardship Fund ‘encouraging’ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/followup-early-response-to-fauntleroy-creek-stewardship-fund-encouraging/ Mon, 19 Mar 2018 23:48:23 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=911797

Our area’s precious green spaces can’t be taken for granted. In realization of that, the Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund was announced earlier this month, and we have an update from creek steward Judy Pickens:

The fund to enable ongoing stewardship of Fauntleroy Creek and Fauntleroy Park now has $3,600 toward its initial goal of $30,000.

The Fauntleroy Watershed Council announced the fund on March 1 in the wake of ever-decreasing grant funding for restoring and maintaining Seattle’s natural areas. EarthCorps, an international conservation training program, is accepting tax-deductible donations on behalf of the council and its trainees will do the lion’s share of the work that’s funded.

“This early response is greatly encouraging,” said Peggy Cummings, a member of the council’s executive committee. “Our main concern is being able to maintain restoration already done at public expense so those investments aren’t lost.”

Ensuring that the creek is safe for students is a particular focus for donations. Volunteers will be hosting 19 salmon releases starting April 27, which will bring an estimated 750 students to the watershed.

Find out more about the fund at the council’s table at Tuesday night’s Fauntleroy Food Fest, 6 pm in the Hall at Fauntleroy, or at www.fauntleroywatershed.org.

The FFF is the Fauntleroy Community Association‘s annual membership meeting – community members are invited to enjoy tastings from local restaurants, to find out more about what’s going on in the community – with a multitude of groups (like the Watershed Council) and agencies participating – and to renew FCA membership. (The Hall is at 9131 California SW.)

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2 West Seattle ways to green up on St. Patrick’s Day http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/2-west-seattle-ways-to-green-up-on-st-patricks-day/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/2-west-seattle-ways-to-green-up-on-st-patricks-day/#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2018 20:03:53 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=911238 Two ways to go green this St. Patrick’s Day (next Saturday, March 17th) without leaving the peninsula:

BEACH CLEANUP: The photo is from Puget Soundkeeper, which invites you to help clean up Alki, for the benefit of life offshore as well as onshore:

Marine debris includes human-made trash, litter, discarded equipment, and other solid material that enters our waterways and oceans and ends up floating out to sea or fouling our beaches and shorelines. Ninety percent of marine debris is plastic, which breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, accumulates pollutants, and ends up in wildlife and in the food we eat. Through ingestion, strangulation, entrapment and injury, marine debris kills and injures thousands of animals every year. Due to the long life of these products, litter and debris will continue to harm the environment until someone comes along to clean up the mess.

Soundkeeper holds cleanups around the Puget Sound region to get trash off our shorelines and out of our waterways, and works to support policies that can move us towards more responsible consumption habits and waste management infrastructure. Cleanups are open to everyone and only require a willingness to get dirty! Soundkeeper will provide trash bags, grabbers, and gloves and will help properly dispose of trash when finished.

Time: 10 am – 12 pm. Location: Alki Beach (1702 Alki Ave SW) The 37 bus runs adjacent to the beach. Free street parking is available along Alki Ave SW. Volunteers will meet up at the Statue of Liberty Plaza near the beach.

What to bring: Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. Wear athletic clothing that can get wet and/or muddy, and bring an extra set of clothes if you wish to change afterwards. Old tennis shoes are a good option if you don’t have water shoes. If it is sunny, consider wearing a hat and sunscreen and bring plenty of water. All cleanup equipment is provided.

Waivers: Everyone will need to sign a Puget Soundkeeper waiver. Participants under 18 will need a guardian to sign the waiver on their behalf. To RSVP: Call 206-297-7002 or email Hillary (hillary@pugetsoundkeeper.org)

GO GREEN WITH SWS @ C & P: Then on Saturday night, as announced by Stu Hennessey of Sustainable West Seattle:

Sustainable West Seattle is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and the saving of a West Seattle green space and public gathering area, C & P Coffee.

Celebrate the GREEN and the victory of C & P Coffee keeping their very public, open Green Space and valuable community small business. This is a victory for all of us! There will be music and the usual menu from C&P available for purchase. We will be glad to talk to you about being GREEN in West Seattle.

Saturday, March 17th, from 6:30 to 9 pm at C & P Coffee, 5612 California SW.

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YOU CAN HELP! Give some time to West Seattle kids exploring urban nature http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/you-can-help-give-some-time-to-west-seattle-kids-exploring-urban-nature/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/you-can-help-give-some-time-to-west-seattle-kids-exploring-urban-nature/#comments Tue, 13 Mar 2018 03:20:44 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=911186 (Photo courtesy Seattle Audubon)

Lots of nature fans in WSB-land. If you’re among them, this volunteer opportunity from Seattle Audubon just might be something you would enjoy:

Help Sanislo and Lafayette students have FUN!

Finding Urban Nature (FUN) is Seattle Audubon’s free environmental education program in Seattle Public Elementary Schools. The program needs volunteers at Sanislo and Lafayette Elementary Schools for lessons in April and May.

FUN introduces 3rd and 4th grade students to the nature in their own schoolyard habitat, and examines how each organism depends on others to survive. Volunteers lead small groups of four to six students through a series of outdoor investigations, which teach kids to use their senses and scientific practices to discover the importance of urban biodiversity firsthand.

Volunteers devote about two hours a week for four weeks to lead 4-6 students through each lesson, with the support of the school’s FUN Team Leader and classroom teachers. No previous teaching or science background is necessary. Training is provided and a background check is required.

FUN trainings are held at the end of March and in early April. Contact Wendy at FUNvolunteer@seattleaudubon.org or call 206-523-8243 ext. 110 if interested.

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‘In danger of losing these gains,’ Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund created http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/in-danger-of-losing-these-gains-fauntleroy-watershed-stewardship-fund-created/ Fri, 02 Mar 2018 23:01:12 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=910372 (Photos courtesy Fauntleroy Watershed Council)

By Dennis Hinton
Special to West Seattle Blog

If you value natural areas in West Seattle and want to keep them healthy and safe, you may now make a tax-deductible donation toward ongoing stewardship of two of them: Fauntleroy Creek and Fauntleroy Park.

Initial goal for the new Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund is $30,000.

The Fauntleroy Watershed Council has arranged for EarthCorps, a 501(c)3 international environmental training program headquartered in Seattle, to receive one-time and monthly donations to the fund. Gifts will help pay for work along the creek and in the park that otherwise would not be funded.

“We’ve made a lot of progress since 1989 in restoring natural features of the neighborhood, primarily
with $2 million in public and foundation funding,” said Judy Pickens, a member of the council’s executive committee. “In recent years, grants have become so scarce that we’re in danger of losing these gains.”

Of particular concern is maintaining the safety of areas used as both classroom and lab by the nearly
11,000 students who have visited the creek and park since 1995 to learn about clean water, a healthy
environment, and salmon-friendly habitat.

Pickens noted that governmental priorities have shifted just when the effects of climate change are becoming evident. Peak flows in the creek are now seven times what they were in 2007, putting pressure on weirs designed decades ago for milder conditions. Also, summer droughts have become the norm, threatening vegetation that holds soil and cools the water for salmon and other aquatic life.

The $30,000 would fund permits, design, supplies, and EarthCorps labor to upgrade weirs and vegetation in the lower creek to withstand heavy flows and improve bank stability, spawner access, and student safety over the long term.

“The work that’s now needed is often too hazardous for volunteers or it requires the expertise and equipment of contractors,” explained Peggy Cummings, one of two volunteer forest stewards for the watershed. “This fund gives residents a tangible way to continue to be involved.”

You can donate:

-Online. Go to the donation page at earthcorps.org, select “This gift is in honor or memory of someone,” and write “Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship”

-By postal mail. Write “Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship” on the memo line of your check and mail to Development Office, EarthCorps, 6310 NE 74th St., #201E, Seattle, WA 98115.

-In person. Give your check to any member of the council’s executive committee: Judy Pickens
(judy_pickens@msn.com; 206-938-4203), Peggy Cummings (peggyc@seanet.com; 206-369-4830), or Dennis Hinton (denhinton@msn.com; 206-937-1410).

For a full prospectus, stop by the council’s table at the March 20 Fauntleroy Food Fest or visit www.fauntleroywatershed.org/donate.html, where you’ll also find the 2017 watershed annual report.

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Another groundbreaking: Stormwater facility just off 1st Avenue South Bridge http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/another-groundbreaking-stormwater-facility-just-off-1st-avenue-south-bridge/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/03/another-groundbreaking-stormwater-facility-just-off-1st-avenue-south-bridge/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2018 23:12:42 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=910262 (Added: King County photo)

Another ceremonial groundbreaking today – this one, just outside West Seattle, at the sprawling site that used to hold several business buildings, including a Taco Time and service station, just east of the north end of the 1st Avenue South Bridge [map]. The announcement from King County:

King County Executive Dow Constantine today led the groundbreaking ceremony for a major infrastructure project that will protect the water quality of the Duwamish River and the surrounding community.

(Rendering of now-under-construction Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station)

The Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station will treat up to 70 million gallons of polluted stormwater runoff that currently flows into the Duwamish River during severe rainstorms. It is the first of eight capstone projects that will complete King County’s four-decade work to control the combined sewer overflow that still occurs in parts of Seattle where sewer lines were installed in the early to mid-20th century.

“Today, we start work on a major King County infrastructure project that will protect the Duwamish River from stormwater pollution for the next century,” said Executive Constantine. “This is a key part of our broader effort to protect Puget Sound, restore salmon habitat, and honor treaty rights.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected it as one of a dozen projects nationwide that qualifies for low-interest loans through its highly competitive Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program. King County’s project in Georgetown is eligible for $134.5 million in loan funding, which would cover nearly half of the cost and potentially save sewer ratepayers up to $34 million.

“EPA’s new infrastructure finance and loan program aims to accelerate local investments in regionally significant and innovative water infrastructure projects,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick. “King County’s wet weather treatment station will build on EPA’s renewed efforts to update our nation’s water infrastructure. Completing this project will help restore and protect the Duwamish River and Puget Sound, which are among EPA’s top priorities in the Pacific Northwest.”

King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division conducted extensive community outreach throughout design phase to ensure the $262 million project reflects the local character. The sustainable design includes a green roof and cisterns to filter and collect stormwater. King County will also plant trees to improve air quality in the Georgetown neighborhood, which has one of the highest asthma rates in Seattle.

The treatment station will also provide a space for school programs and environmental education.

The five-year construction project will also generate family-wage jobs in the community. It is one of three King County construction projects that are part of a pilot program, Priority Hire, which requires contractors to train and hire construction workers living in local ZIP codes with high levels of poverty and unemployment.

In 2017 and 2018, King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division is leading more than $400 million in major capital programs that will build and upgrade existing infrastructure. The projects will create more than 900 family-wage construction jobs.

The WTD has had stormwater-related projects in West Seattle in recent years – most notably the Murray Wet Weather Facility across the street from Lowman Beach, completed last year.

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Looking into Sustainable West Seattle’s future – and seeing you http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/looking-into-sustainable-west-seattles-future/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/looking-into-sustainable-west-seattles-future/#comments Wed, 28 Feb 2018 06:35:48 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=910073 (WSB photo: ‘Diver Laura’ James, left, demonstrates virtual-reality viewers at Sustainable West Seattle meetup)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Over its decade-plus history, Sustainable West Seattle has launched and/or nurtured a multitude of community-enhancing projects.

Among the biggest: The West Seattle Tool Library and the annual GreenLife expo at West Seattle Summer Fest.

SWS also supports West Seattle Meaningful Movies, the West Seattle Timebank, Hate-Free Delridge, and more, as listed by president Stu Hennessey toward the start of last night’s SWS meetup at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction.

But even more than projects and programs … the biggest change can be made in cumulative small actions by people who care, and that was the theme.

SWS board members were on hand, as well as interested visitors — “we’ve had bigger and smaller teams in the past,” as Hennessey put it. Around the table, various participants voiced what had brought them to the gathering – from polluted stormwater runoff, to diversity/inclusion, to food sustainability, and beyond.

“Diver Laura” James talked about having taken over the Tox-Ick.org project, for which SWS is the fiscal sponsor, and which isn’t grant-funded at the moment, though she did an online fundraiser recently to scratch together some money for ongoing projects. She talked about her mission of showing people what’s happening beneath the surface of Puget Sound; her work with 360-degree video shows not just the runoff stream but also what’s not being caught, what trash is already down here – “it really changes the experience.”

360-degree video in general changes the way that people engage, she explained, with an anecdote about showing a Google Street View scene to an elder who got excited about exploring the area where she had grown up. She also talked about virtual reality – for elders, and everyone else – and how “the industry is just starting to mature” with standalone headsets that helps 360-degree content reach wider audiences. She’s working on a project to document “Virtual Puget Sound,” where she will be in the 360 space as your guide – “you can turn me on or turn me off,” choosing (or not) to see hotspots in video where she can pop up and explain more about something particular in the video.


(2017 photo by “Diver Laura” James)

She talked about the herring spawn at Alki that got so much attention last year. She describes herself as “super-excited” about what she’s working on and how it’s opening the doors to a wider world for so many. But she doesn’t think this has to be done on such a large scale – it is something that can be done on a community scale. She told the story of VR video artists who went on a tour documenting community concerns, like a doomed market in another part of the city. She distributed the headsets and showed video of a harbor seal – likely this one:

“Diver Laura” explained how stormwater factors into all this. “The organizations, the institutions can’t fix this problem – it’s going to be up to the communities, the individuals.” She described herself as more of a “carrot” person than a “stick” person in trying to encourage better behavior. “Humans tend to want to do the right thing, but going about our day to day business, that’s the last thing we think about.” She hopes to build a grass-roots effort that makes it “uncool” to not be working toward a “sustainable solution.”

Hennessey noted that some things are getting better – like the increase in using electric vehicles, which at least cuts the emissions, if not the various fluids that vehicles are still putting out onto the roads.

“Diver Laura” said that making change can be easy if you do one little thing at a time – maybe walk to the corner store, telecommute to a meeting. “If you try to gently say – here are seven solutions, plus an extra … very simple day-to-day activities … small baby steps … if all of us do small baby steps in the right direction, we can cause a groundswell.”

That segued to Hennessey noting that Sustainable WS is focusing even more on the Salish Sea – which Puget Sound is part of – than before. Board member Amanda Goodwin talked about the orcas-and-salmon issue, and the fact that more public pressure is needed. Hildegarde Nichols called attention to last summer’s Seattle Times coverage about “pesticide-free parks” where chemicals were being used – including West Seattle’s Fairmount Playfield. Anyone concerned about the possibility of that continuing should contact the Seattle Parks official quoted in the story, she said – barbara.decaro@seattle.gov.

If any of those topics interest you, and/or you have others that seem to match the mission of a more-sustainable West Seattle, SWS welcomes your involvement – and is hoping to attract more volunteer leadership, too (one long-dedicated board member is likely moving out of the area soon). SWS has no dues – just a passion for action. Said Hennessey: “It’s all about participating.”

If you’re interested in Sustainable West Seattle – e-mail info@sustainablewestseattle.org to get connected.

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