West Seattle Blog... » Environment http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 26 Nov 2015 05:57:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 VIDEO: Dedicating Seattle’s first mosque raingarden in South Delridge http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/video-dedicating-seattles-first-mosque-raingarden-in-south-delridge/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/video-dedicating-seattles-first-mosque-raingarden-in-south-delridge/#comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 03:00:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329904

This ribbon-cutting in South Delridge celebrated a project that was two years in the making: Completion of the first raingarden/cistern project at a Seattle mosque.

The installation dedicated this past Friday at AlNoor Mosque is not just functional for reducing the runoff that goes into the combined-sewer system, it’s also a teaching tool for the students of Hope Academy, a K-8 private school that’s co-located on the grounds.

Hope Academy’s Mohamed Ahmed talked about the project:

Teachers and students are now involved in maintenance of the raingardens – there are two on the grounds.

Along with runoff reduction and environmental education, the project is expected to help with basement flooding issues at the historic brick building on the grounds of what was once St. James Lutheran Church. Those on hand to celebrate Friday included reps from the project partners at ECOSS (Environmental Coalition Of South Seattle) the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, Seattle Public Utilities, and RainWise, which continues to offer rebates for cistern and raingarden installations in certain target areas.

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VIDEO: Freedom for 13 cleaned-up birds from oiled White Center pond; 61 remain in rehab http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/video-freedom-for-13-cleaned-up-birds-from-oiled-white-center-pond/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/video-freedom-for-13-cleaned-up-birds-from-oiled-white-center-pond/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2015 19:44:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329566

Our phone video is the first look at post-cleanup freedom for 13 of the birds captured at the oil-contaminated White Center stormwater-retention pond. A team from PAWS just brought them back to the area and joined state and county reps in opening the carriers and watching them go free. We first reported on the pond problem a week and a half ago; last Friday, the state announced that a WC food-manufacturing business, La Mexicana, had taken responsibility. They say the pond is now clean enough for the birds to return to it safely, but they were released this morning across the street at Steve Cox Memorial Park. As you can see in the video, all 13 brought back by PAWS this morning were mallards; crews have captured 78 in all, a mix of mallards and Canada geese. Four birds did not survive, including two that were euthanized, according to the state Ecology Department.

ADDED 2:20 PM: A few more photos and additional information about today’s release and the cleanup:

Ecology spokesperson Larry Altose says oil-recovery efforts wrapped up at the pond yesterday, as contractor National Response Corporation removed the last cleanup materials. NRC’s subcontractor Focus Wildlife captured the oiled birds and, Altose says, “housed and treated the birds at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society Wildlife Center in Lynnwood,” where, he adds, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife “supplied a bird rescue trailer to provide extra space for the effort.”

Of the 61 birds still in treatment after today’s release, he adds, 27 are mallards and 34 are geese. All four of the birds that died were mallards. A WDFW spokesperson confirmed that this is the largest bird-rescuing operation in our state in some time, in terms of spill recovery.

Meantime, as for the birds released today …

… they were last seen taking a few test flights around the field. If you see oiled or distressed birds, WDFW asks, call 800-22-BIRDS, but don’t “approach or handle the wildlife,” the state asks, adding that “WDFW asks dog and cat owners in the area to keep their pets under control, as oiled birds are less able to escape from animal attacks.”

P.S. In addition to reporting to the state, the federal EPA also tells us they are interested in information about environmental violations – here’s how to report them. (You can also call the local office directly at 206-553-8306.)

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FOLLOWUP: Delridge/Orchard overflow blamed on non-watertight covers http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-delridgeorchard-overflow-blamed-on-non-watertight-covers/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-delridgeorchard-overflow-blamed-on-non-watertight-covers/#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2015 05:45:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329381

(WSB photo from Sunday)

Seattle Public Utilities has figured out part of what went wrong before a sewer overflow flooded Orchard just north of Delridge on Sunday (here’s our original report). From SPU’s Andy Ryan:

Crews were in the vicinity again today investigating the cause of the sewer discharge in the right of way near Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street. They determined that the overflow was caused by two maintenance-hole covers that were not watertight. We are exploring ways of sealing the holes to prevent future overflows at the location.

Crews also found that the new Delridge combined-sewer-overflow (CSO) project construction is working as designed.

By Sunday evening (11/15), crews responded to and contained the sewage overflow. They removed warning signs once the area had been cleared, and the road was reopened to traffic. We will let you know when we have figured out how, and when, we seal the maintenance holes that caused the overflow.

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SOMETHING TO SAY? Comment time for Avalon 7-11 tank swap http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/something-to-say-comment-time-for-avalon-7-11-tank-swap/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/something-to-say-comment-time-for-avalon-7-11-tank-swap/#comments Mon, 16 Nov 2015 18:03:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329307 The only West Seattle application of note on today’s city Land Use Information Bulletin is for 3280 SW Avalon Way. While Avalon applications tend to be for apartment buildings, not this one – it’s for the 7-11 at 35th/Avalon, which is seeking to replace three 10,000-gallon fuel tanks with two 20,000-gallon tanks. The land-use application requires an environmental determination – whether it’s “non-significant” or requires a full review – and notes that this might be your only chance to comment on the project. You can comment through November 29th; here’s how.

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UPDATE: Flooded road at Orchard/Delridge after sewage overflow http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/traffic-alert-flooded-road-reported-at-orcharddellridge/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/traffic-alert-flooded-road-reported-at-orcharddellridge/#comments Sun, 15 Nov 2015 16:03:00 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329186 8:03 AM: Multiple texters report road flooding has closed Orchard at Delridge. We’ll be checking on it shortly.

10:06 AM: We’ve since learned from Seattle Public Utilities spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin that this is a sewage overflow:

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has responded this morning to a sewage overflow in West Seattle at Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street. The sewage is discharging north on Delridge to SW Myrtle Street and eventually overflowing into Longfellow Creek. SPU crews have posted signs alerting residents to stay out of the water, which may be contaminated. Orchard Street near Delridge Way is closed while spill response and drainage and wastewater crews contain the overflow and begin the clean-up. The volume of the spill is unknown at this time.

This is primarily happening on the east and north sides of the Delridge/Orchard intersection. You might recall that SPU worked in recent months on what was supposed to be a combined-sewer-overflow-control project, so we’ll be following up to see what went wrong.

9:36 PM: While Orchard east of Delridge was still closed in late afternoon, it’s now open, but narrowed – one lane each way, with an area blocked off at curbside on the westbound side for a short distance. No crews on scene now so we’d have to guess this will continue into the morning commute; we’ll check back by 7 am or so.

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FOLLOWUP: White Center company takes responsibility for oil spill; 51 birds affected http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-white-center-company-takes-responsibility-for-oil-spill-51-birds-affected/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-white-center-company-takes-responsibility-for-oil-spill-51-birds-affected/#comments Sat, 14 Nov 2015 00:14:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329040

(WSB photo from last weekend, as wildlife rescuers capture an oiled Canada goose)
One week after a neighbor noticed oil contaminating a stormwater-retention pond in White Center, the state Ecology Department announced that a food company has taken responsibility. La Mexicana says it was transporting oil that accidentally spilled and will pay the costs of cleanup and wildlife rehabilitation; 51 birds have been captured for cleaning and treatment, says the state, and one had to be euthanized. Full details of the state’s announcement are on our partner site White Center Now.

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Admiral Neighborhood Association, report #1: Port-meeting preview http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/admiral-neighborhood-association-report-1-port-meeting-preview/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/admiral-neighborhood-association-report-1-port-meeting-preview/#comments Wed, 11 Nov 2015 19:07:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328793

(Recent Terminal 5 photo by Long Bach Nguyen, showing two ships from the Shell drilling fleet, Tor Viking and Harvey Explorer)
The Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5 hasn’t been entirely idle since its official closure in July of last year, but the Shell ships are much smaller than what the port expects to see after its planned “modernization” program.

The original modernization plan did not include a full environmental-impact review, you might recall, but area residents pushed for one, and the port finally announced last month that it’s going to get one done because of the scale of the potential tenants it’s talking with.

Here’s where you come in: Tomorrow night, the port invites you to a meeting to focus on the scope of the environmental-impact review. And those concerned West Seattleites are hoping to have your help in shaping it.

One of them, Jim Wojciechowski, was at last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting to make one more pitch for participation.

“Public comment is what’s going to keep the momentum going” for a project responsive to West Seattleites’ concerns, he said. Neighbors are trying to “mitigate the damages,” said Wojciechowski – noise, traffic, and air pollution are top issues. So this is the time when the port will “scope” to see what the Environmental Impact Statement should include.

Wojciechowski stressed that “it’s the public input that’s going to determine” what happens as the port uses a consultant to prepare the EIS. “They’re bringing in big ships … and they’ll be bringing in smaller ships too. They’re sitting there running their engines while they’re there for a few days,” and that’s why neighbors are “pushing for shore power.” Every major port on the West Coast is already implementing or planning for shore power, according to Wojciechowski.

He also pointed out that since Terminal 5 closed more than a year ago, it’s generating no truck traffic right now, and “everyone’s complacent.” Meantime, the potential for train “quiet zones” is something that appeals to neighbors – but it would be costly. Finally, he reminded attendees that the port is holding an “online open house” right now. As ANA president David Whiting reiterated, it’s collecting comments on what the EIS should study – what potential impacts the project might have – not comments on whether or not the modernization project should happen.

Before the meeting, we had asked port spokesperson Peter McGraw about the format of Thursday night’s meeting (5:30 pm-8:30 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California SW). Here’s what he provided:

Open House with stations: 5:30 – 6:00 pm
Presentation: 6:00 – 6:30 pm
Q&A (outside of comments) 6:30 – 6:45 pm
Public Comment: 6:45 – 8:00 pm – could go later if needed
Resume Open House: 8:00 – 8:30 pm

Again, the port’s official information on the process, including tomorrow night’s meeting, is here.

P.S. Separate from the official port process, T-5 neighbors also have a new online petition.

P.P.S. Our second report on the ANA meeting, on an unrelated but even more impassioned topic, is still in the works.

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FOLLOWUP: 14 oiled birds rescued at White Center spill scene; investigation continues http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-14-oiled-birds-rescued-at-white-center-spill-scene-investigation-continues/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-14-oiled-birds-rescued-at-white-center-spill-scene-investigation-continues/#comments Mon, 09 Nov 2015 19:37:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328638

(WSB photo from Sunday)

On the third day of cleanup at an oil-contaminated White Center stormwater-retention pond, we’ve just obtained the newest information from state Ecology Department spokesperson Larry Altose:

Workers made progress on Saturday and Sunday, rescuing oiled waterfowl and removing oil from the pond near 13th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 100th Street in unincorporated King County.

The Washington Department of Ecology is coordinating the response, in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. Ecology has hired a spill response contractor and a wildlife rescue organization for the cleanup.

The spilled material appears to be about 50 to 100 gallons cooking oil that entered the pond via the county stormwater drainage system. County and Ecology staff have been tracing storm drains to search for the source of the spill. No additional oil has entered the lake since a citizen first reported the spill late Friday afternoon.

Cooking and other edible oils, while less toxic to wildlife, still cause environmental harm. When birds contact the oil it coats the feathers so that the animals lose insulation and buoyancy. Oil damages habitat for other aquatic life, reducing oxygen levels and creating physical impacts on the water surface and shoreline.

Crews from Focus Wildlife International have captured 14 oiled birds, four mallard ducks and 10 Canada geese. The birds received initial treatment near the scene in the organization’s special trailer. They were transported for further treatment at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society’s Wildlife Rescue Center in Lynnwood.

Workers hope to capture approximately 20 other oiled birds, some of which have flown to other ponds, lakes or fields in the area. No wildlife deaths have been reported.

Meanwhile, other workers continue to tend oil spill cleanup materials placed in the pond to collect the oil, which has spread into a slick over much of the surface. Crews succeeded in preventing oil from draining out of the pond, which flows into nearby Hicklin Lake.

The cleanup has reduced the amount of oil seen on the pond over the past two days. Ecology’s contractor will measure the amount of oil recovered in cleanup materials to better determine the size of the spill.

The on-site response effort, which involved 25 people on Saturday and 18 on Sunday, continues to step down to about 9 responders today.

Our first report, on Saturday, is here; our Sunday followup is here. As we’ve noted previously, this county-owned area of unincorporated King County had already been the subject of extensive cleanup efforts – focused on the land, rather than the water, because of problems with encampments and drug use during the non-rainy months – here’s a report from last month, published on our partner site White Center Now.

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FOLLOWUP: Another oiled bird rescued at White Center pond http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-another-oiled-bird-rescued-at-white-center-pond/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-another-oiled-bird-rescued-at-white-center-pond/#comments Sun, 08 Nov 2015 21:50:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328558

As promised, we went back this morning to the White Center stormwater-retention pond where the state and its contractors are cleaning up what’s believed to be a cooking-oil “spill” (yes, as has been pointed out, it could also have been intentional dumping) and rescuing oiled birds. The Canada goose caught while we were there late Saturday was the first bird captured for cleanup, a state Ecology Department spokesperson told us today, right before they caught a second one:

(Aside from a honk of protest, the goose didn’t resist.) Oiled feathers impair a variety of vital functions for birds, as explained here, including waterproofing and temperature regulation; we learned at the spill scene yesterday that rescued birds would be warmed on site and then transported to PAWS for rehabilitation. We expect to find out more tomorrow about where the investigation of the spill stands and how the birds are doing.

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West Seattle weekend scene: Friends of Lincoln Park get ‘green and grubby’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/west-seattle-weekend-scene-friends-of-lincoln-park-get-green-and-grubby/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/west-seattle-weekend-scene-friends-of-lincoln-park-get-green-and-grubby/#comments Sun, 08 Nov 2015 05:21:20 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328510

On this Green Seattle Day, the Friends of Lincoln Park led one of two West Seattle planting parties – and it was big. According to FLiP – whose Mark Ahlness shared the photo – before the day was done, 34 volunteers participated in planting 300 trees and shrubs, west and south of the north ball field, where the group’s been working much of the year. Read about how they got “green and grubby,” and see more photos, by going here.

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UPDATE: Wildlife experts rescuing oiled birds after White Center pond spill http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/wildlife-experts-rescuing-oiled-birds-after-spill-in-white-center-pond/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/wildlife-experts-rescuing-oiled-birds-after-spill-in-white-center-pond/#comments Sat, 07 Nov 2015 23:09:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328473

(Photo added 5:32 pm, looking southward over the pond, toward SW 102nd)

FIRST REPORT, 3:09 PM: Wildlife experts are hoping to help more than a dozen birds struggling with oiled feathers after a spill in a White Center pond. A reader texted us this photo:

King County has sent this news release:

Crews are responding Saturday afternoon to an oil spill that was discovered in a King County stormwater retention pond in White Center.

An estimated 20 to 50 gallons of what is believed to be cooking oil was found floating in the pond, which sits along 13th Avenue Southwest at Southwest 100th Street in unincorporated King County. Lab analysis of the oil will determine its exact composition.

Employees with the Water and Land Resources Division (WLRD) of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks were at the pond this morning, along with Washington Department of Ecology spill response personnel, to assess the spill and determine its source.

An oil-spill response team from NRC Environment was also on site this morning to contain and clean up the oil from the pond. A crew trained in cleaning wildlife was on its way to the pond to capture and clean the estimated 20 waterfowl that appeared to have been in contact with the oily water.

Stormwater system experts with WLRD will look into how the oil got into the retention pond, which accepts runoff from the surrounding neighborhood and helps clean stormwater runoff before it continues downstream to Hicklin Lake.

Shorelines along the White Center pond system have been a focus of cleanup efforts we’ve covered on partner site White Center Now, but usually the problems have been on the shore, not in the water.

5:17 PM UPDATE: We’re just back from the scene, where we talked with a Department of Ecology rep; others on the scene include NRC (spill response) and Focus Wildlife, the contractor there to help with the birds. While we were there, they captured one Canada goose that had been wandering in busy SW 102nd on the south side of the scene, apparently unable to fly because of the oil.

They found out about the oil because of a nearby resident who watches the area and often photographs birds; they haven’t traced the source yet but because of its smell and consistency, they’re fairly certain it’s cooking oil. What looks like a white boom around the edges of the pond is actually absorbent material intended to soak up anything that can’t be cleaned up.

The responders were going to work until it got dark and then return at first light tomorrow. The rescued birds were going to be warmed in a truck on site, and then taken to PAWS for rehabilitation. Besides the wandering goose, we saw a group of ducks milling on the sidewalk along the pond’s western side; the Ecology rep said they’d been there all day.

Most of the oil, he added, was on the north end of the pond.

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SATURDAY: Help look for salmon on and in Longfellow Creek http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/tomorrow-help-look-for-salmon-on-and-in-longfellow-creek/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/tomorrow-help-look-for-salmon-on-and-in-longfellow-creek/#comments Sat, 07 Nov 2015 04:45:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328422

(Quick clip of salmon in Longfellow Creek last year, contributed by Josh)
Tom e-mailed earlier this week to report spotting salmon in Longfellow Creek, by Dragonfly Pavilion in North Delridge – two last Friday, and “four big ones” last Monday. If you want to go look for salmon, tomorrow morning brings an excellent chance – go on an educational walk 10 am-11:30 am Saturday with Puget Soundkeeper volunteers. You’ll learn about their ongoing study of pre-spawning mortality, too. Meet up at the pavilion (4107 28th SW); you’re advised to “wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet/stinky.”

P.S. On the other side of West Seattle, no salmon sightings in Fauntleroy Creek yet, as of our last check.

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Seen off West Seattle: NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown visiting after Arctic Ocean research http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/seen-off-west-seattle-noaa-ship-ronald-h-brown-visiting-after-arctic-ocean-research/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/seen-off-west-seattle-noaa-ship-ronald-h-brown-visiting-after-arctic-ocean-research/#comments Sat, 31 Oct 2015 05:37:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327636

Thanks to Gary Jones for sharing his photo from Alki Point. The newest notable sighting at sea off West Seattle is NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown (R-104), the federal agency’s largest ship at 274 feet. It’s docked on the Duwamish River tonight, as shown on MarineTraffic.com; the latest fleet report from NOAA says the ship arrived from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, after studying “bioeffects of the Chukchi Sea,” described further:

Assess habitat conditions that influence biodiversity and distribution of benthic infaunal communities, contaminants, and chemical body burdens of resident organisms as measures of environmental health in the bays and lagoons in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the vicinity of proposed oil transport pipelines. Baseline data will be essential for monitoring pollution control effectiveness and National Resource Damage Assessment activities in the event of a spill.

The Chukchi Sea is where Shell had drilled before announcing earlier this fall that it would end its Arctic Ocean exploration TFN. The Ronald H. Brown is homeported in Charleston, South Carolina; no word how long it’ll be here.

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TERMINAL 5: Port of Seattle will do an Environmental Impact Statement for modernization project, after all http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/terminal-5-port-of-seattle-will-do-an-environmental-impact-statement-for-modernization-project-after-all/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/terminal-5-port-of-seattle-will-do-an-environmental-impact-statement-for-modernization-project-after-all/#comments Thu, 22 Oct 2015 03:14:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326736 A big development tonight in the Port of Seattle‘s plan to “modernize” Terminal 5 in West Seattle – and in neighbors’ push for a full environmental review.

The Port announced tonight that it will be creating an Environmental Impact Statement for the modernization project after all. It had not been planning on one – believing, as reps told the West Seattle Transportation Coalition in July, that while it would have bigger ships, it wouldn’t have bigger cargo volume. But neighbors had campaigned for an EIS, even placing roadside signs promoting a website that pointed to a petition, as reported here back in August:

Then, there were hints that the tide on this might be turning, including a mention at this month’s Southwest District Council meeting that a potential tenant with whom the port was talking would have needs beyond what had been anticipated when the port said it didn’t need to do a major review. And now tonight, port reps sent word of the plan for the EIS. A website is already live, with both an “online open house” that you can explore at any time – officially, tomorrow (October 22nd) through Nov. 23rd – and word of a “scoping meeting” set for 5:30-8:30 pm November 12th at The Hall at Fauntleroy. (The process is explained here.)

Shortly after receiving word of the planned EIS from community advocates (thank you), we also received a news release from port spokesperson Peter McGraw. We asked him a followup question on whether this was an indication an announcement of a tenant is imminent; his reply – “We continue to have discussions with potential customers.” You can read the full news release here.

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YOU CAN HELP: See which Duwamish Alive! sites hope to see you http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/you-can-help-see-which-duwamish-alive-sites-hope-to-see-you/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/you-can-help-see-which-duwamish-alive-sites-hope-to-see-you/#comments Tue, 13 Oct 2015 18:34:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=325853

(Roxhill Bog volunteer – WSB photo from April 2015 Duwamish Alive! day)

Update as the fall edition of Duwamish Alive! – simultaneous work parties to help Seattle’s only river and its watershed – gets closer (this Saturday, October 17th, 10 am-2 pm): Coalition coordinator Sharon Leishman tells WSB that these West Seattle sites are in most need of more volunteer signups:

T-107 PARK, both kayaks and habitat restoration. DRCC, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance (this is the first time we have the kayak cleanup near the mouth of the river. Double kayaks are used, no experience needed, all equipment and instruction provided.) – 4700 West Marginal Way SW

ROXHILL BOG - habitat restoration with Seattle Parks and Friends of Roxhill – 2850 SW Roxbury

HERRINGS HOUSE PARK – habitat restoration with Seattle Parks – W Marginal Way SW & SW Alaska

LONGFELLOW CREEK AT BRANDON STREET, habitat restoration with King Conservation District and EarthCorps – SW Brandon St. & 29th SW

Choose one and sign up via its link on this page of the Duwamish Alive! website.

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