West Seattle Blog... » Environment http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:51:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle weekend scene: Imagine a buttless beach http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-weekend-scene-imagine-a-buttless-beach/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-weekend-scene-imagine-a-buttless-beach/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 19:28:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283372

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

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‘Hold On To Your Butt’! Surfrider Foundation campaign Saturday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/hold-on-to-your-butt-surfrider-foundation-campaign-saturday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/hold-on-to-your-butt-surfrider-foundation-campaign-saturday/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 03:08:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283202 Every time there’s a big cleanup at Alki Beach, we hear about volunteers collecting pounds and pounds and pounds of cigarette butts. Even one is too many, says the Surfrider Foundation, which is trying something new this Saturday – an awareness campaign:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Never too soon to plan! Next ‘Recycle Roundup’: September 21 http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/never-too-soon-to-plan-next-recycle-roundup-september-21/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/never-too-soon-to-plan-next-recycle-roundup-september-21/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 20:44:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=282308 For so many people with so many recyclables that can’t be put out for curbside pickup, the twice-annual Fauntleroy Church “Recycle Roundup” dropoff events are highly popular. That’s why we’re sharing mega-early news of the date for the next one: 9 am-3 pm Sunday, September 21st, church parking lot @ 9140 California SW. See the newly updated “what they’ll accept” list here.

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Fauntleroy milestone: Kilbourne Ravine restoration work begins http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/fauntleroy-milestone-kilbourne-ravine-restoration-work-begins/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/fauntleroy-milestone-kilbourne-ravine-restoration-work-begins/#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 22:46:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281992

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Hauling out garbage and debris as needed.

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

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

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

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South Delridge raingarden project: ‘Walk and talk’ on August 12th http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/south-delridge-raingarden-project-walk-and-talk-on-august-12th/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/south-delridge-raingarden-project-walk-and-talk-on-august-12th/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:17:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281105 West Seattle’s next roadside-raingarden project, officially dubbed the Delridge Natural Drainage System, is in the “early design” process. Next chance for neighbors to get updates and ask questions has just been announced – a “project-design walk-and-talk” event on Tuesday, August 12th, starting at the corner of 17th and Elmgrove (map) at 6 pm. The updates, according to this postcard that’s on its way to nearby mailboxes, will include a chance to “review proposed design concepts and plantings.” Like the county-initiated “green stormwater infrastructure” raingardens under construction in Westwood and Sunrise Heights, the goal is to reduce the stormwater going into the combined-sewer system, which in turn should reduce overflows at the end of the line. Construction is scheduled for next year.

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Followup: Alki, Seacrest showers to be turned back on following pollution-concern-related shutdown http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/followup-alki-seacrest-showers-to-be-turned-back-on/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/followup-alki-seacrest-showers-to-be-turned-back-on/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:18:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281021 Just in from Seattle Parks, following our Tuesday report:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Shower shutdown at Seacrest, Alki: You can’t rinse yourself off any more because of pollution concerns http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/shower-shutdown-at-seacrest-alki-you-cant-rinse-yourself-off-any-more-because-of-pollution-concerns/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/shower-shutdown-at-seacrest-alki-you-cant-rinse-yourself-off-any-more-because-of-pollution-concerns/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:33:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280836

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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