Environment 1663 results

FOLLOWUP: See what followed Fauntleroy Creek’s successful spawning season

(Video by Tom Trulin)

Three months after a near-record spawning season concluded in Fauntleroy Creek, some of the results are coming into view! Judy Pickens from the Fauntleroy Watershed Council shares the details:

Last Saturday, volunteer Dennis Hinton spotted the first “home hatch” left in November by 244 coho spawners in lower Fauntleroy Creek. About an inch long, they’re now emerging from loose gravel to begin feeding on vegetation and insect larva in the cold water.

With so many spawners leaving fertilized eggs, we are expecting a big crop of fry to be learning to hunt for food. They already know how to avoid predators, such that only experienced monitors have a chance of seeing them.

Starting in mid-March, volunteers will check soft traps daily to count how many smolts survived their year in the upper and lower creek to head for saltwater. Then in May, schoolchildren will be releasing fry in Fauntleroy Park through the Salmon in the Schools program.

The Fauntleroy Watershed Council continues to welcome community involvement and support for this rare resource, a salmon-spawning creek in the city – here’s how you can help.

FOLLOWUP: Why the Roxbury spill took all day to clean up

(Photo courtesy Shirlee – cleanup trucks on Roxbury Monday)

As reported here yesterday, eastbound SW Roxbury was shut down between 8th and Olson for about eight hours on Monday after some kind of spill toward the end of the corridor. We followed up today to ask what they’d found out and why it took so long. Via SDOT, Seattle Public Utilities, and King County Road Services, here’s what we found out: The spill stretched across half a mile of the eastbound side of the street and was determined to be motor oil. The cleanup took so long because “of the extent of the spill, the number of drainage structures affected, precautions needed to work safely in the ROW, and the time it took for emergency cleaning contractors to arrive.” SDOT used “granular absorbents and sand,” subsequently removed by a sweeper truck, to clean the road, while SPU “coordinated emergency storm drain cleaning of 10 storm drain structures that were affected.” Investigators don’t know how it happened or who’s responsible.

WEST SEATTLE PARKS: Why a tall tree was taken out at Me-Kwa-Mooks

Thanks to Christopher for the photo taken today at Me-Kwa-Mooks. We asked Seattle Parks about the tree crew; spokesperson Rachel Schulkin tells WSB that the pine was “being removed by Seattle Parks and Recreations Urban Forestry. This tree has come under attack by beetles carrying a fungus that is killing the tree.” If you look closely at the photo, you can see some of the tree’s branches are discolored.

ELECTION 2022: The one that’s not on the ballot you got in the mail

checkbox.jpgSeparate from the school-levies vote, there’s another election happening right now. Tuesday’s also the deadline for voting. And it’s even easier – for this one, you can vote online. It’s the King Conservation District‘s election for one of its three supervisor positions. From the most-recent reminder:

King Conservation District (KCD) is holding its annual Board Supervisor election through February 8, 2022. The 2022 election has attracted four candidates for the position. Kirstin Haugen, Barbara Roessler, Dominique Torgerson, and Tripp Williams are all vying for the seat. Candidate statements can be found at kingcd.org/elections. …

Ballots will be available to eligible voters online … through February 8, 2022, at 8:00 PM. Voters may return ballots electronically through the online ballot access system or print and mail ballots to King County Elections at 919 SW Grady Way, Suite 200, Renton, WA 98057. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by February 8, 2022, and received by February 17, 2022, to be counted. Ballots may also be dropped off at King County Elections at 919 SW Grady Way, Suite 200, Renton, WA 98057. King County Elections will tabulate all ballots and report all results.

KCD is a special purpose district committed to helping people engage in stewardship and conservation of natural resources, serving over two million people in 34 cities and unincorporated King County (excluding the cities of Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific, and Skykomish). KCD assists private residents with forestry management, streamside and shoreline restoration, farm conservation planning, and other environmental efforts. It works with cities and community organizations to support community gardens, urban forest canopy, and local food systems. KCD is funded primarily by a per-parcel assessment fee.

An all-volunteer, five-member Board of Supervisors is responsible for overseeing KCD operations, budget, and setting policy. Voters elect three supervisors and the Washington State Conservation Commission appoints two supervisors. Supervisors serve three-year terms.

For more information about the election and candidates, please visit kingcd.org/elections.

The link for voting is at the bottom of that webpage. Considering very few have voted so far, your vote could count in an outsize way.

P.S. As far as we can tell, none of the four candidates for this position are West Seattle residents, but one of the other two elected KCD supervisors, whose position is not up for election this year, is – Chris Porter.

Start your weekend on Alki Beach!

February 4, 2022 7:12 pm
|    Comments Off on Start your weekend on Alki Beach!
 |   Environment | How to help | West Seattle beaches | West Seattle news

The CleanUpSEA coalition has an invitation for you, to start what’s expected to be a rainless weekend:

Join Jess at her monthly 10 am cleanup from Alki Beach to Constellation Park, and neighboring streets in between — the first Saturday of every month!

We’ll meet outside 2452 Alki Ave SW (brick apartment building across from new bathrooms on the beach) and spread out from there. We have pickup sticks & buckets you can use, or bring your own.

Friendly doggies and supervised children of all ages are welcome. Please, no dogs on the beach. Dress for the weather and bring gloves if you’d like your hands covered.

Early Riser? Meet Erik & Garet at 7 am every Saturday to clean up starting at the Statue of Liberty.

No RSVP needed – just show up!

Comment time for next phase of 1.25-million-gallon overflow-storage tank plan near Duwamish River

Another major combined-sewer-overflow storage tank is planned for our area, this time on the east edge of West Seattle, near the 1st Avenue South Bridge. This is the West Duwamish Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control Project, and its aim is to comply with orders to reduce the number of overflows into the Duwamish River – specifically one outfall on SW Michigan Street that overflows an average of 4.6 times a year and one at Terminal 115 that overflows an average of 1.7 times a year. The new facility near 2nd SW/SW Michigan will be on 60,600 square feet of T-115, which is owned by the Port of Seattle, centered on a 1.25 million gallon underground tank – 140′ x 110′, 26′ deep – and related pipes. Here’s the King County Wastewater Treatment Division map:

For comparison, the storage capacity is 25 percent more than the big tank built across from Lowman Beach five-plus years ago, now known as the Murray Wet Weather Facility. The West Duwamish project will also include an above-ground 5,300-square-feet “facility building and outdoor odor control area” plus landscaping including a “stormwater bioretention facility.” The project also includes associated facilities such as a “diversion structure” near West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way SW.

Construction is not expected to start until 2025, but another key comment period is open now. Through February 14th, comments are being taken on the environmental checklist for the project – you can see it here. You can comment via email at WTDSEPA@kingcounty.gov. You’ll get a chance for a briefing and Q&A about the project at an upcoming HPAC meeting – watch hpacws.org for word of that.

SATURDAY: Cleanup under the bridge

Start your weekend with community work. Saturday morning (January 29th), some of your West Seattle neighbors are leading a cleanup under the West Seattle Bridge and along the bike path. From the announcement:

Saturday from 10 am – Noon; meet at Riverside Memorial Park (a little plaza at the intersection of SW Marginal Pl. and 17th Ave SW). ADULTS ONLY (for safety).

This will be the first in a series of grittier-style cleans under the WS Bridge and along the bike path and surrounding areas (adults only.) Our mission will be to create a safer environment for bicyclists and pedestrians who use this area to pass thru on their commutes. Currently garbage, broken glass, and many discarded items make this a hazardous area to travel.

Vests, gloves, buckets and pickup sticks will be provided. More details are in the full announcement here. Organizers welcome any help, even if you can’t spare the full two hours.

FOLLOWUP: New study published by scientists studying Alki Point methane bubbles

(2020 photo by David Hutchinson)

A little over one year ago, we reported on that University of Washington research vessel’s work off Alki Point, studying methane bubbles seeping from the Seattle Fault. UW oceanography professor Paul Johnson explained the project involving the R/V Rachel Carson, years of work that could someday help predict earthquakes, among other things. He also shared this undersea video showing the bubbles:

This week, the UW announced that research for which Professor Carson was lead author has been published in the January issue of Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. The UW post also talks about some of what’s happened since our report, and what’s next:

… In follow-up work, scientists used underwater microphones this fall to eavesdrop on the bubbles. Shima Abadi, an associate professor at the University of Washington Bothell, is analyzing the sound that bubbles make when they are emitted. The team also hopes to go back to Alki Point with a remotely operated vehicle that could place instruments inside a vent hole to fully analyze the emerging fluid and gas. …

The area off Alki Point is not the only methane-bubble site they’re studying – others in the region include an area off Kingston. Among the mysteries they have yet to solve is the source of the methane.

MLK DAY OF SERVICE: West Seattle volunteers give the greenbelt some help

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has become MLK Day of Service for many, and in West Seattle, that included several environmental-restoration/cleanup projects today. We stopped by the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association Nature Team work site in Pigeon Point Park, part of the West Duwamish Greenbelt urban forest, adjacent to Pathfinder K-8.

This is a labor-intensive, long-running project to give the life-sustaining forest some help by beating back invasive plants. Removing blackberry growth was a focus for the nearly 30 volunteers who turned out today. In the spring, work parties will focus on planting – but at this time of year, the ground has to be cleared and readied to receive those new plants. DNDA has frequent volunteer opportunities for this area and other parts of the West Duwamish Greenbelt – check them out, and sign up if you’re interested, by going here.

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: Restoration in the rain at Seola Pond

(WSB photos)

Earlier this week, on a rainy afternoon much like today’s, dozens of volunteers spent hours planting in the Seola Pond wetland [map], working with Arbor Heights resident Scott Dolfay, who’s been leading restoration efforts there for years.

This week, the volunteers included dozens of students and staff from Explorer West Middle School and The Bridge School (both WSB sponsors). Dolfay explains, “The planting was the culmination of previous work this year, beginning with site prep by Dirt Corps, funded by the King County Noxious Weed Control Program. When the restoration effort was started in 2017, 2 grants were received; one from The Washington Native Plant Society, the other from the King County Unincorporated Community Service Area Program. After a one-year hiatus, beginning in 2019, the KC Noxious Weed Control Program began to fund both site prep and native plant purchase. Additionally, volunteers have stepped up along with some local businesses.”

Dolfay is seeking another King County grant to keep the project going, adding that the community help has been invaluable: “As always, volunteers can stretch the budget. People have provided native plants from their yards, too.” As noted in our 2017 report, the site – along the Seattle/unincorporated King County line – is used as neighborhood open space, in addition to its official function as stormwater storage. It hosts wildlife, too – including the ducks we saw during the restoration work party:

WEST SEATTLE HOLIDAYS: How to get Pathfinder’s famous handmade wreaths this year

Every year for a quarter-century, Pathfinder K-8 students and families have made and sold wreaths as a fundraiser – and they usually sell out. Pre-pandemic, the Pathfinder wreath booth was a fixture in The Junction on Farmers’ Market Sundays, but again this year, they’re only selling the wreaths online – here’s the announcement:

Pathfinder K-8 PTSA is holding our 26th annual wreath fundraiser to benefit outdoor education and classrooms at Pathfinder K-8 School. You usually see us in The Junction during Farmers Market days in December, but due to the pandemic, we have our 100% homemade wreaths available for sale online.

The evergreens in every Pathfinder wreath are foraged from downed branches from this season’s windstorms and salvaged from Christmas tree lots (thank you, Trees by the Sea on Alki, Home Depot, and McLendon), and the flowers and seedpods are clipped from our yards. Then members of the Pathfinder community build each wreath by hand. Each wreath is unique and has been made in one of our distanced, backyard workshops this past week.

Right now we have a good selection of beautiful wreaths available at www.pathfinderk8ptsa.org/shop. If you don’t see something now, check back tomorrow! The inventory is constantly being updated with new wreaths. After purchase they can be picked up at our workshop on Puget Ridge.

Thank you for supporting the kids at Pathfinder School!

If you lose track of this later, you’ll also find the wreath sale listed in the Trees/Wreaths/Greenery section of our West Seattle Holiday Guide.

UPDATE: ‘RV remediation’ planned for SW Andover

ORIGINAL REPORT, MONDAY NIGHT: Last Wednesday afternoon, just before the long holiday weekend, “No Parking” signs went up along the stretch of SW Andover where more than a dozen RVs are usually parked along the south side of Nucor Steel (a source of growing concern for the plant, as reported here two months ago).

(WSB photo, Wednesday night)

The infosheet that accompanied the signs cited only “RV remediation,” Because of the holiday, we were not able to reach city departments until today to ask what that will involve. Seattle Public Utilities is the lead agency, so here’s what spokesperson Sabrina Register tells us:

Seattle Public Utilities’ RV Remediation Program works to reduce negative impacts to public health and safety by removing garbage and debris from roads, sidewalks, and the public right-of-way near RVs. This effort started initially as a pilot in November 2017 in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, program staff observed safety protocols and best practices based on guidance from health experts, including maintaining social distancing during cleanups of areas impacted by RVs. SPU staff passed out purple trash bags to assist people with cleaning around their vehicles and aimed to gain voluntary compliance from RV owners.

In October 2021, the program ramped up to engage RV occupants to voluntarily move their RVs, which allows crews to clean and remove garbage, waste and immobile, unoccupied vehicles that pose a major health and safety risk. 

Days prior to a clean, staff trained to support RV occupants connect with them to let them know about an upcoming remediation clean, so the occupants can prepare to move their vehicle on the morning of the clean. If an RV is occupied but inoperable, staff work through our community partners to try to assist that person, including help with a battery jump, fuel, or a spare tire. SPU’s goal is 100% compliance with RV relocation in order to remove garbage and debris, plus address any fluids or materials that could enter a storm drain. RVs that are abandoned, derelict or pose a public health risk may be towed on a case-by-case basis.

The RV Remediation clean taking place along the 2400-2600 blocks SW Andover will involve multiple City departments, including SPU, SDOT and SPR.

The “No Parking” signs that went up Wednesday (but were not in view this afternoon) were dated tomorrow through Sunday, so it’s not clear what day the work will happen; we’ll go by periodically but if you see it in progress, please let us know if you can – 206-293-6302 text or voice.

BACKSTORY: We first reported on the RV parking on Andover almost six years ago.

ADDED TUESDAY MORNING, 11:11 AM: Thanks to everyone who texted to say it appears the work is beginning. We went by and all we saw was one junk-hauling truck working right at the corner of Andover/28th, with a Parking Enforcement Officer there to direct traffic.

The truck was labeled South Elmgrove; a company by that name is listed online as a city contractor for junk pickup. We’ll be checking back in a few hours.

WEDNESDAY NOTE: We checked back at 3:30 pm Tuesday, no sign of further activity. Went by again just before 10 am today, and junk-hauling trucks are back but no other activity in view.

WEDNESDAY NOTE #2: A reader who works nearby saw at least one RV being towed. We went back over around 3:15 pm, no activity but there seemed to be a larger gap on the north side of Andover – 12 RVs total on Andover and 28th. Tonight another reader reports the RVs all have been tagged.

SAVING ROXHILL BOG: First, fix ‘the bathtub’

(Images from meeting presentation – above, Roxhill Park and Bog)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Imagine you want to take a bath – but not only can you not draw enough water to fill the tub, the water you do get keeps draining out.

That’s the problem with Roxhill Bog, experts and advocates believe, and as unveiled at this week’s community meeting, they have a plan that might fix it.

“Might” is the important word here – so they’re going to try an experiment on part of the endangered wetland, which is all that’s left of a 10,000-year-old peat bog that once stretched far beyond the remnant that exists – dry as it is – mostly on the south side of city-owned Roxhill Park.

Wednesday night’s meeting had many of the same participants who gathered more than a year and a half ago – just before the pandemic shut down in-person meetings – to accelerate the effort to keep the bog from being lost forever.

This time, interested and/or involved parties gathered online to talk and hear about what’s been learned and what happens next.

Read More

FOLLOWUP: The Heron’s Nest gets a big boost toward goal of buying and repatriating West Seattle site

(WSB photo from September – Amanda Lee at The Heron’s Nest)

Two months ago, we reported on The Heron’s Nest, a site in the West Duwamish Greenbelt where volunteers have been working on a plan to purchase a site for environmental education and repatriate it to the Duwamish Tribe, whose Longhouse is nearby. At last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, Amanda Lee from The Heron’s Nest gave an update and announced the project had received a city grant of nearly a million dollars. We followed up with Lee this morning and received the announcement they’re making:

The Shared Spaces Foundation is excited to announce a major milestone in its efforts to fundraise for the Heron’s Nest, a project aimed at preserving 3.56 acres of land in the West Duwamish Greenbelt for community use, stewardship, sustainable education, and repatriating it to the Duwamish people. On October 5th, the City of Seattle issued a $900,000 grant from its Strategic Investment Fund to the Shared Spaces Foundation. These funds will allow Shared Spaces to purchase the land currently used for the Heron’s Nest, serving as the first step in the repatriation process.

The Duwamish people have resided in present-day Seattle and King County since time immemorial. Where they once inhabited 50 villages in the Puget Sound area, they now own less than an acre of land and have been unfairly stripped of their federal recognition. Preserving this land will increase the footprint of land access by 5x for Duwamish Tribal Services.

The Shared Spaces Foundation currently leases the 3.56-acre parcel just a short walk from the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center in West Seattle. This undeveloped parcel was, until recently, destined to become the site for a new housing complex. Now, with the help of the SIF grant, the Shared Spaces Foundation will be able to preserve the land from destructive development and allow the Heron’s Nest project to continue the steps they have already taken to restore its indigenous vegetation and ecology, improve its productive uses, and provide for public access and education. Over 5,000 hours of community volunteering has been put into the restoration and construction efforts since the Heron’s Nest founding at the beginning of 2020.

In time, the Heron’s Nest will include the development of sustainable, community-accessible facilities including campgrounds, an outdoor kitchen, outdoor classrooms, tool libraries, an urban farm and agroforest, a recycling center, and a natural aquaculture pool. Once restored and with the above amenities in place, the land will be given back to the Duwamish people and be used for community benefit.

However, the Shared Spaces Foundation must continue its fundraising efforts in order to bring the full project to fruition. The entirety of the SIF grant will be applied toward the purchase of the land. To fund the remaining services and facilities, Shared Spaces is driving a community-giving effort. Shared Spaces looks to raise another $500,000 for materials, staffing, and operational costs, and have set a target deadline for the end of 2021. A successful fundraising campaign this Winter will allow for many of the facilities to be operational by Spring 2022.

In addition to further grant funding, the fundraising efforts include an upcoming holiday market at the Heron’s Nest, a recent dinner and auction held on October 16th, and utilizing the space for community events, nature viewing parties, and workshops. To learn more about the vision for the land and the scope of the project, visit: www.TheHeronsNest.org

Lee says the holiday market is scheduled for December 11th – more on that when it gets closer.

YOU CAN HELP: West Seattle ‘all-hands cleanup’ Saturday

This Saturday, 10 am-1 pm, you’re invite to be part of am “all-hands cleanup” centered on four areas of West Seattle, with the local volunteer coalition CleanupSEA. Their announcement:

A CLEANER SEATTLE IS IN REACH. GRAB YOUR SPOT & JOIN US! Pick a cleanup zone and join us at 10 AM on November 13 for the first-ever CleanupSEA West Seattle all-hands volunteer cleanup event. Bring your friends and family for a beautiful fall day outside together. Bags, gloves, vests, and nifty trash grabber picker sticks provided. Bring a 5-gallon bucket if you have one. Masks required. Clean for 5 minutes or 3 hours. It’s all good.

*Please RSVP and sign up to the respective cleanup below so we can plan accordingly. Sign-up not required, but appreciated.

• Alki Beach (meet at the Alki Bath House)
• Alki Elementary (meet at Alki Elementary Playground)
• Seacrest Park / Harbor Ave (meet outside Marination Ma Kai)
• Under the West Seattle Bridge (meet outside Chelan Cafe; please park nearby, not in cafe parking lot)

FREE COMMUNITY CLEANUP EVENT. EVERYONE WELCOME. Presented by CleanupSEA in coordination with Seattle Public Utilities Adopt-a-Street and Alki Elementary PTA Eco-Heros program. Questions? hello@cleanupsea.com

To RSVP, go here.

ROXHILL BOG: Resuming the struggle to save a 10,000-year-old ecosystem

(WSB photo, April 2019)

Just before the pandemic wiped most other concerns off the map for a long time, in February of last year, a “stakeholders meeting” shone the spotlight on endangered Roxhill Bog (part of Roxhill Park). Now the struggle to save it is back on the front burner, and another community meeting is planned. Here’s the announcement/update from the Duwamish Alive Coalition:

The second public meeting for the community led restoration of Roxhill Bog will be held online November 17th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, to provide an update on the hydrology study of why the wetland has been drying out and possible solutions along with the results of the community survey that was conducted. The online link to the meeting can be accessed by registering through DNDA.org or Duwamishalive.org

Roxhill Bog is one of the last peat wetlands of the historical 26 within Seattle, dating back 10,000 years and home to a unique ecosystem of plants and animals. It’s also the headwaters of Longfellow Creek and an important community asset where the community can experience and learn about nature. Over the last couple decades, it has been drying out, which has significantly degraded its ecosystem – with increased invasive plants, loss of wildlife, and unsuitable usage of the area creating safety concerns.

Community members, alarmed about the loss of this community treasure, created a collaborative partnership with the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association, Duwamish Alive Coalition, Roxhill Champions, and American Rivers to help restore the bog wetland. With help from Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. the partnership was able to acquire funding for the hydrology and soil studies and the community survey, which received over 260 responses, and restoration design.

The November 17th public meeting will review the results of the studies, and community survey and seek input on the restoration design. This is an important opportunity for the community to provide comments about the project and their hopes for the wetlands’ future.

For backstory, see our report on last year’s meeting. There’s also a lot of background on this webpqge assembled by the now-dormant Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council.

Welcome, salmon: ‘This is always a hopeful time of year on Fauntleroy Creek’

(WSB photos)

“Welcome.”
“Thank you.”
“You can do it.”

Those are a few of the messages written on small pieces of driftwood and placed on the bank of Fauntleroy Creek this afternoon during the annual gathering celebrating salmon spawners’ imminent return.

Co-host Judy Pickens of the Fauntleroy Watershed Council said her message was “the power of hope … This is always a hopeful time of year on Fauntleroy Creek.” The hope is that volunteer creek-watchers will see coho soon. Dennis Hinton, also on the Fauntleroy Watershed Council, said there’s reason for hope:

He told the more than 30 people in attendance that a potential spawner had been seen near the creek’s mouth on Saturday, a four-to-five-pound female. A high tide of at least 11 feet is needed to get fish into the creek, and many upcoming days will oblige. Last year, two spawners showed up; the record was 2012, with volunteers counting 274.

The centerpiece of today’s celebration, as always, was music, led by Jamie Shilling (above), with attendees young and not-as-young joining in singing and percussion – with instruments from drums to tambourines to plant pots. Some songs are annual favorites, including “Habitat,” to the tune of the 1959 song “Lollipop“:

Shilling also led a new song, singing: “We are the voice of the earth, and we are rising up, rising up …” With those lyrics, participants pointed their message-bearing driftwood sticks skyward;

What happens from here is up to the fish, and the creek:

If spawners are present on a weekend, Pickens promises, the Fauntleroy Watershed Council will host an “open creek” – and we’ll announce it here on WSB.

FOLLOWUP: EPA sticks with plan to allow higher levels of a Duwamish River pollutant

(WSB photo, September)

Back in February, we reported on the EPA‘s plan to make a change in the Duwamish River cleanup plan, allowing higher levels of a particular pollutant, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), a “carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (cPAH).” The higher levels would be allowed because a review process dating back to 2013 had determined the pollutant was less cancer-causing than previously believed. After a public comment period and further review, the EPA is finalizing what it originally proposed. Here’s the one-sheet explanation:

EPA spokesperson Bill Dunbar says, “Due to the reduced risk, EPA Region 10 has revised the allowable levels of cPAH at the Lower Duwamish Waterway. The higher levels will provide the same level of human health protection. The new levels are expected to reduce the areas where waterway sediments require Superfund cleanup by less than five percent. PCBs remain the main source of risk to people’s health from the site. People can be exposed to PCBs if they eat fish and shellfish that spend their lives in the river, or contact sediment during beach play, net-fishing, and clamming. cPAHs do not accumulate in fish but are found in clams. EPA estimates that since 2012, average levels of cPAHs and PCBs in Duwamish Waterway sediments have been reduced by half as a result of early cleanup actions, control of pollution sources, and burial by cleaner sediments from upstream. Future cleanup to reduce PCBs will also reduce cPAHs.”

This change is part of what led the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition to organize a rally for the river just two weeks ago. DRCC executive director Paulina López tells WSB that while the EPA’s decision is troubling, there’s some hope: “Unfortunately, the change EPA approved means that our communities will be exposed to higher levels of carcinogenic PAHs — in our river sediments, and in our fish and shellfish. We do not believe that this is health protective, especially for an Environmental Justice community with multiple, cumulative exposures. We are encouraged, however, that the impact of EPA’s change will be minimized as a result of our City, County and Port’s stated commitment to stay the course and clean up all of the cPAHs as originally ordered by the 2014 cleanup decision. DRCC will still call on our local governments to stand by this commitment and we look forward to working with them to secure EPA’s cooperation and support. to protect our communities, our fishers, our habitat. “

REMINDER: Plastic-bag ban expands beyond the city this Friday

Back when Seattle banned single-use plastic bags for grocery stores and many other businesses nine years ago, some pointed out they would still be able to get them nearby, with unincorporated King County right next door. Starting this Friday, that changes, as the statewide plastic-bag ban goes into effect, nine months later than originally scheduled. Here’s an overview from the state Department of Ecology; take note of this part:

If customers choose to use compliant plastic or paper bags offered by a merchant, the law requires the business charge 8 cents per bag. That 8-cent-charge is not a tax; it is a sale kept entirely by the merchant to provide an incentive for customers to bring their own bags and to recoup the costs for the more durable compliant bags.

Food banks and pantries, and individuals receiving food stamps, WIC, SNAP, or other government assistance are not subject to the 8-cent charge. Some single-use plastic bags are exempt from the law, including plastics to wrap meats and produce, bags for prescriptions, and newspaper or dry-cleaning bags.

‘River for who? River for all!’ Rallying for, and over, the Duwamish

(WSB photos)

As changes in the Duwamish River cleanup plan have been proposed in recent months, the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition at first offered information and urged community members to participate in the comment process. But now it’s turned up the pushback a few notches – including a community rally tonight in South Park.

After gathering at South Park Plaza, nearly 100 river supporters of all ages, with signs in many languages, walked up onto the South Park Bridge‘s pedestrian path.

As participants stood along the bridge, passing drivers – from scooters to industrial trucks – beeped their support.

DRCC’s executive director Paulina López, engagement manager Adrienne Hampton, and Superfund manager James Rasmussen got to the heart of the reason for the rally – holding government and industry accountable for keeping their cleanup commitment: “This is not just a river for Georgetown and South Park. This is a river for the whole city. … Imagine what it could be like when we get the reast of the job done.”

DRCC sounded the alarm because of what it calls a “triple threat” to the river – including proposed changes to allowable pollutant levels as well as proposed changes in the cleanup itself – all explained here. (We also covered one of the proposals here.)

Their decision for a more visible form of resistance appears to have already had results. This afternoon, hours before the rally, the city, county, and port announced a letter to the EPA urging that cleanup commitments be met. We asked López about the letter; she said she was glad to see more pressure on the EPA, because “they are not listening to us.” DRCC is hoping that will change with more voices – “stay involved, keep fighting … continue to advocate for the Duwamish River” was the request at rally’s end.

FRIDAY: Duwamish River rally to show concern about plans to change the cleanup

(WSB photo: August vessel traffic on the Duwamish River)

The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition wants to call attention to ongoing challenges to the river’s health as well as proposed changes in the ongoing cleanup, so it’s inviting you to a rally/walk by the river on Friday.

We are deeply concerned for the health of the Duwamish Valley communities as a result of proposed changes to how EPA and members of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group intend to clean up our Duwamish River. WITHOUT community consultation, EPA and these responsible parties recently proposed three changes to our river cleanup that increase toxic exposures and health risks to our community and undermine our hard-won river cleanup, which violates EPA’s and Ecology’s environmental justice policies, ignores our local governments’ stated commitments to equity, and threatens to further exacerbate pronounced health disparities that have been documented in our communities. The Duwamish River must be recovered to standards that support our community and fishing for future generations. We demand health justice, especially for community members who have been historically marginalized, silenced, and disproportionately burdened with the legacy pollutants that have given rise to this cleanup.

There’s more info here about what the DRCC calls the “triple threat.” The rally/walk is set for Friday (September 24th), starting at 5 pm, at South Park Plaza (14th Avenue S./Dallas Ave. S.; here’s a map). All ages welcome.

NOT HAPPENING: Fall Recycle Roundup. Here’s what to do instead

A few have asked about the date for Fauntleroy Church‘s next Recycle Roundup. Though a date had tentatively been set for one this fall, organizers weren’t able to get their usual partner to commit, so it’s NOT happening. While awaiting the next time they do get one scheduled, here’s what you can do if you have recyclables beyond what is accepted at curbside: Use the “Where Does It Go?” lookup. It will point you to options including scheduling an extra-cost special curbside pickup. If you’re looking specifically for electronics recycling, here’s who’s in the Take It Back Network, including some drop-off spots as close as SODO.

The Heron’s Nest Project: A dream with the chance for you to be the wind beneath its wings

(WSB photos. Above, Amanda Lee at The Heron’s Nest)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Off Puget Way – one of the few streets that connect to busier-than-ever West Marginal Way – a parcel of land is in the process of healing from decades of serving as a dumping ground.

A group of passionate volunteers are working not only to heal the land, but to use it to help heal injustices done to the area’s First People.

Read More