Environment 1661 results

SMOKE UPDATE: Cleaner air tonight

(Photo tweeted by Aaron)

11:14 PM: Though tonight brought another pink-globe sunset, if you observed closely, you could see the smoke wasn’t as dense as last night – the sun was visible all the way until it “touched” the Olympics.

(Texted photo)

The air quality is better now, because the remaining smoke is “aloft” rather than down at ground level, according to the National Weather Service. So will tomorrow’s sunrise still be pink too?

(Saturday sunrise photo by Marc Milrod)

The NWS says, “Elevated smoke will continue across the area tonight, then decrease from the west on Sunday.”

1:03 AM: Orange-red moon again tonight – Monica Zaborac sent the photo:

SMOKE: Wondering when it will clear out?

(Photo by James Bratsanos)

9:34 PM: Tonight, the sun didn’t set behind the Olympics – it set behind the smoke, well before it would have gotten to the point where the mountains become the western horizon. After a day of ever-thicker alert-level smoke, red dots are all over the air-quality map. Here’s what the National Weather Service says in its newest regional Forecast Discussion:

Surface smoke should gradually clear out Saturday, but pockets of poor air quality are likely to stick around. The skies will remain hazy through the rest of the weekend though as smoke at the upper levels is expected to stick around through Sunday.

(Photo by Gene Pavola)

The heat warning is still set to expire Saturday evening, and tomorrow’s temperature is only forecast to get into the 80s; Today’s official high was 91, down four degrees from Thursday.

10:21 PM: After the pink-red sun, the orange-red moon – another photo sent by Gene Pavola:

WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: More heat, smoke Friday

(Photo by David Hutchinson)

10:35 PM: Once the smoke started moving in at midday, you just knew the sun was going to turn that telltale pink before setting. The smoke is expected to linger through tomorrow; as noted earlier, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and regional public-health departments have issued an alert because of it. Checking the air-quality map tonight, most areas are in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range right now. As for the heat, today’s official high was 95, and tomorrow could see the mid-90s again. So far, though, Saturday is still looking like an improvement; the Excessive Heat Warning alert expires Saturday evening.

FRIDAY MORNING: Just in case you wondered … same thing for the Friday sunrise, Jerry Simmons shows us:

Learn about the Duwamish River @ next Words, Writers, Southwest Stories

It runs along much of West Seattle’s eastern edge, but what do you really know about the Duwamish River? This Thursday night, online, here’s your chance to find out more. The announcement is from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

Words, Writers & Southwest Stories, a speaker series of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, is excited to announce that it is hosting BJ Cummings for a live Zoom presentation on Thursday, August 12 at 6:00 PM. Cummings will deliver a presentation on her book “The River That Made Seattle: A Human and Natural History of the Duwamish.” Registration is required. Please register HERE.

With bountiful salmon and fertile plains, the Duwamish River has drawn people to its shores over the centuries for trading, transport, and sustenance. Chief Si’ahl and his allies fished and lived in villages here and white settlers established their first settlements nearby. Industrialists later straightened the river’s natural turns and built factories on its banks, floating in raw materials and shipping out airplane parts, cement, and steel. Unfortunately, the very utility of the river has been its undoing, as decades of dumping led to the river being declared a Superfund cleanup site.

Using previously unpublished accounts by Indigenous people and settlers, BJ Cummings’s compelling narrative restores the Duwamish River to its central place in Seattle and Pacific Northwest history. Writing from the perspective of environmental justice—and herself a key figure in river restoration efforts—Cummings vividly portrays the people and conflicts that shaped the region’s culture and natural environment. She conducted research with members of the Duwamish Tribe, with whom she has long worked as an advocate. Cummings shares the river’s story as a call for action in aligning decisions about the river and its future with values of collaboration, respect, and justice.

BJ Cummings is the author of “The River That Made Seattle: A Human and Natural History of the Duwamish” (UW Press 2020), winner of the Association of King County Historical Association’s 2021 Virginia Marie Folkins Award for outstanding historical publication. Cummings founded the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition in 2001, served as the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance’s “Soundkeeper” from 1994–99, and as Sustainable Seattle’s Executive Director from 2016–18. She is currently the Community Engagement Manager for the University of Washington’s EDGE and Superfund Research Programs in the Environmental and Occupational Health Department in the School of Public Health, and is the co-author of several community health studies, including the Duwamish Valley Cumulative Health Impacts Analysis and Duwamish River Superfund Cleanup Plan Health Impact Assessment.

Cummings holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Geography from UCLA, and is the author and producer of numerous articles, books, and documentary films on environment and development issues locally and throughout the Americas, including her 1990 book, “Dam the Rivers, Damn the People: Resistance and Survival in Amazonian Brazil” (Earthscan/WWF UK), and 2000 documentary film “Ecosanctuary Belize” (Outside Television). Her work has been featured in Outside Television’s documentary film, The Waterkeepers and PBS Frontline’s Poisoned Waters, as well as numerous regional news outlets. Over the past two decades, Cummings has been recognized as a National River Network “River Hero,” Sustainable Seattle’s “Sustainability Hero,” King County’s Green Globe winner for Environmental Activism, recipient of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance’s “Inspiration Award,” and one of Seattle Magazine’s “10 most influential leaders.”

This presentation is part of the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is grateful to Humanities Washington for their support. This series is open to hosting any author or speaker addressing historical issues relating to the Puget Sound/Duwamish Peninsula and/or the general public. Additional information on future presentations can be obtained by contacting Dora-Faye Hendricks, Chair, ‘Words, Writers & SouthWest Stories’ by phone at 206-290-8315 or by e-mail at Dora-Faye@comcast.net.

VIDEO: Rally for the River seeks support for saving orcas by saving salmon via dam-breaching

(WSB photos/video)

This weekend, Elliott Bay is open to chinook-salmon fishing. So fishing boats were on the water this morning while activists gathered on land to demand action they say can keep the chinook from going extinct, along with another species of mammals that needs them even more than we do – the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Specifically, the Endangered Species Coalition and other groups want four dams on the Lower Snake River in Eastern Washington breached so chinook salmon can reach spawning grounds more easily. This weekend they hosted “Rally for the River” gatherings in six spots around the Northwest, and the rally spot in Seattle was just west of Seacrest. Some supporters came from afar:

Those two are members of the North Olympic Orca Pod, from Port Townsend and Port Angeles. The sign mentioning the Elwha refers to a dam removal project from last decade, considered a success. But that was just part of the puzzle for saving chinook salmon. Four hydropower dams on the Snake River in eastern Washington must be breached, advocates say, before it’s too late (read the backstory here). Time is ticking, with the presumed death of another Southern Resident orca K21. A moment of silence for him was part of the speaking program at the rally, featuring representatives of the Endangered Species Coalition, Duwamish Tribe, Environment Washington, and Orca Conservancy.

It’s not a matter of demolishing the dams, they contended – “All we have to do is move some gravel aside and let them run free.”

After speeches, some rally participants kayaked to Jack Block Park

… while others walked.

They’re particularly looking for support from Washington’s U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and have a take-action webpage here. The politicians, for their part, have said that any plan for the dams must address other factors too, such as electricity generation and farmers’ needs.

FOLLOWUP: Beaches reopened after 2 weeks of sewer-leak closure

Thanks to commenter Bryan for reporting that the signs came down today on the South Alki beaches affected by a sewer leak from the Harbor West condos on Beach Drive. Seattle Public Utilities confirmed to WSB tonight that “Samples show acceptable levels and in consultation with Public Health-Seattle & King County, Seattle Public Utilities staff have removed the warning signs and reopened the beach. It’s been almost two weeks since first word of the leak.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle beach pollution from condo sewer problems not over after all

(WSB photo, last week)

Nine days after we first reported on warning signs south of Alki Point because of a sewer leak on private property, the problems aren’t over after all, Seattle Public Utilities confirms. Two days after that first report, SPU told us the leak had stopped, but bacteria levels were still high enough to keep nearby beaches closed to water activities. Then on Wednesday a reader tipped us that more signage had gone up east of Alki Point, including one seen at 64th/Alki. So we checked back with SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register, whose reply identifies the problem property for the first time:

Seattle Public Utilities staff continue to test water samples daily to determine when the beach can safely reopen to water activities. Since the July 13 discovery of the overflow caused by a broken side sewer at a multi-unit building at 3717 Beach Drive, samples have shown higher than acceptable levels of bacteria. Continued high readings of bacteria revealed additional sewer-related issues at the multi-unit building and prompted SPU’s Spill Response team to extend and expand the beach closure .

SPU property owners are responsible for maintaining their sewer lines and any discharges from unmaintained lines can result in fines. SPU will issue a notice of violation to the property owner.

Tide flows and the availability of contractors have impacted their repair schedule. Repairs are scheduled to begin (today). SPU staff will continue to work with the building owner and Public Health-Seattle & King County to determine when water activities along Beach Dr. can safely resume.

3717 Beach Drive is the Harbor West condo building, built on pilings over the water. The complex had a major sewer leak back in 2013.

FOLLOWUP: Seattle-to-Alaska cruises officially resume today, after 2 years

(Sunday photo of Elliott Bay, sent by Mark)

Seattle’s been seemingly awash in cruise ships for days now, so you might be surprised to hear that the official Seattle-to-Alaska season starts today. Around 5 pm, Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas is scheduled to leave the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal in Magnolia, and that’ll be this year’s first boatload of paying passengers (previous voyages have been “test cruises,” explained here). To mark the occasion, the Port of Seattle invited the media to a dockside briefing this morning. It included a ceremonial moment – the ship’s Captain Stig Nilsen presenting port executive director Steve Metruck with a plaque and a model of the ship.

(WSB photos from here down)

Metruck declared that cruising is returning with improvements. Ships have implemented stringent COVID protocols, for one. But after our previous mentions generated reader discussion about environmental concerns, we asked Metruck what’s changed along those lines, He mentioned that the terminal at Smith Cove is equipped with shore power, and that it’s in the works for Pier 66 downtown. We learned from another port official, however, that this particular ship is not shore-power-ready, so it’s not plugged in, though the other ship currently berthed at Smith Cove, Majestic Princess, is. Maritime Managing Director Stephanie Jones Stebbins also told us that shore power capability for Pier 66 is scheduled to be ready for the 2023 cruise season – the problem until now, she said, is that they would have had to run a line from the Denny substation about a mile east, requiring a lot of road demolition, but instead, they came up with a way to route it via an underwater cable from Pier 46 to the south.

The emission situation, said Jones Stebbins, is not only a matter of plugged in vs. unplugged. She said exhaust scrubbing – explained here – is being used. Environmental advocates, however, say that just swaps air pollution for water pollution; Jones Stebbins says ships cannot discharge the scrubber water while berthed here. The state has a Memorandum of Understanding with the cruise industry on multiple environmental issues.

P.S. After today, the next official cruise departure is on Friday; here’s this year’s schedule.

(Added 7:15 pm: Serenade of the Seas departing Elliott Bay)

Weed Warriors win victory in Myers Way Parcels wetland restoration, with Camp Second Chance help

What you don’t see in this photo along the east edge of the city-owned Myers Way Parcels in southeast West Seattle is part of what this story’s about. It’s a restored wetland area, tens of thousands of square feet previously choked by blackberries and other weeds, in the watershed of salmon-bearing Hamm Creek.

Those piles are just part of what was removed in a yearlong project led by the nature-steward organization Weed Warriors, including help from residents of Camp Second Chance, which is also on the Myers Way Parcels, where more than 50 tiny houses shelter people experiencing homelessness. On Saturday, several of the camp residents who participated in the restoration project joined Weed Warriors leader Grace Stiller in a celebration at the site, just outside the encampment’s north fence.

Stiller marshaled assistance from organizations including the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, National Wildlife Federation, and Puget SoundKeeper to underwrite the restoration project, which also included instruction for the participants. Along with working on the land, they took online classes on topics including plant identification. Saturday’s celebration was a “graduation” too – with certificates, and a chance to sign a new plaque marking the restored area, where project participants planted 175 new trees along with native shrubs.

Weed Warriors teaches a “Code of Environmental Chivalry,” and during Saturday’s event, Stiller ceremonially pronounced program participants to be “Knights of the Living Forest.”

Attendees read aloud from the code – one tenet is “Show courtesy and consideration for the native habitat and wildlife that surrounds us.” Along with certificates and cake, the Saturday celebration also included the presentation of stipend checks – the grants covered $15/hour for work on the site. Stiller hopes to launch the next phase of restoration in the fall, provided the permit process with the city goes as planned. (She also is a member of the Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee; we cover its monthly meetings, and that’s where we heard about this.)

FOLLOWUP: Beach Drive leak’s over, but don’t go back into the water yet

(WSB photo, Tuesday)

Two days after those signs went up along the Beach Drive shore from Cormorant Cove Park to Constellation Park, the warning is still in effect. The Tuesday announcement from Seattle Public Utilities attributed the problem to a side sewer. We checked in with SPU today; spokesperson Sabrina Register replied, “The discharge, which was confined to one unit of a multi-unit complex, has stopped. Repairs are scheduled for early next week. Posted signs prohibiting water activities will remain in place for now. Seattle Public Utilities continues to sample the water and work with Public Health-Seattle & King County to determine when the area can safely reopen.”

UPDATE: Sewer break fouls Puget Sound off Beach Drive

(Photo from @quapet via Twitter)

3:10 PM: Thanks for the tip and photo. That signage went up at Cormorant Cove Park in the 3700 block of Beach Drive SW – and we just got this Seattle Public Utilities notification explaining why:

Today Seattle Public Utilities responded to a sewer overflow due to a broken side sewer located along Beach Dr near Cormorant Cove. As a result, beaches in the area will be closed to water activities, including Cormorant Cove as well as the beach access at Beach Dr. SW/63rd Ave SW in West Seattle.

Staff will sample the water and work with Public Health-Seattle & King County and Seattle Parks Department to determine when the area can be safely reopened. SPU will provide an update when we have more information. Seattle Public Utilities is working with the property owner to ensure a timely repair of the side sewer.

If you find flooding or sewer backups, please report them to the SPU 24/7 Operations Response Center at 206-386-1800.

5:56 PM: We went down to the shore to check the extent of the signage. It continues northward at Constellation Park, beyond 63rd/Beach:

You asked, so we asked: What’s happening at Morgan Junction Park expansion site

Work has been going on at the Morgan Junction Park expansion site, north of the current park in the 6400 block of California SW [map], but it’s not a sign the long-shelved park-development project is getting under way. That and other “landbanked” park projects (including two others in West Seattle) have been indefinitely idled because of Parks revenue losses blamed on the pandemic. So, some asked, what’s up with the heavy equipment and piles of gravel/rocks that have shown up at this site?

Kelly Goold of Seattle Parks told WSB that it’s “being used by a contractor associated with a SPU project under a Revokable Use Permit. Instead of fees [for using the site] the contractor will perform work on the site – clearing and grubbing of blackberries and invasive, rough grading, limited demolition, and the like.” What’s the Seattle Public Utilities project? We asked SPU’s Sabrina Register, who said the project is almost next door, “repair to a section of the sewer main that runs along SW Beveridge Place as part of a multi-site sewer-rehabilitation project.” SPU has used other Parks property in similar ways before, such as a section of the Myers Way Parcels (explained here). As for the future of the Morgan Junction Park Addition, the site (which formerly held businesses including a dry cleaner) is still set for hazardous-materials remediation at some point in the not-too-distant future – Goold said the funding for that, unlike the park development itself, has not been suspended, but the work has to go out to bid. (Here’s the environmental “checklist” from earlier this year.) The city bought the park site seven years ago; its status is likely to be a topic during the next quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting (7 pm July 21st, full announcement to come).

JULY 21 UPDATE: SPU has corrected which project is being staged at the future park site – it’s for the water-main repair work on SW Othello in Gatewood, not the upcoming Beveridge work.

Guiding Seattle’s industrial and maritime future: Next step, your input

For the past year and a half, a city-convened stakeholders’ group has been talking about the future of Seattle’s industrial/maritime lands and policies. They issued a report last week with recommendations; and the city announced it here. Now, the next step – an Environmental Impact Statement. Before that’s prepared, the city is asking for your input on the scope of what should be studied. A notice was published in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin; we’re publishing the notice in its entirety because West Seattle has such a significant stake in the city’s maritime/industrial future (as the map above, from the report, shows):

Seattle’s industrial and maritime policies are more than 35 years old. With changing trends, there is an opportunity to build an updated comprehensive strategy to strengthen and grow Seattle’s industrial and maritime sectors for the future. As part of this strategy the City of Seattle is studying a proposal to update its industrial and maritime policies and industrial zoning. Four alternatives, including the no action alternative have been identified for study in an Environmental Impact Statement.

The proposal addresses all lands zoned Industrial General (IG1 and IG2) zones, the Industrial Commercial (IC) zone, and the Industrial Buffer (IB) zone and land within two Manufacturing Industrial Centers (MIC): Seattle’s Greater Duwamish Manufacturing and Industrial Center (Duwamish MIC) and its Ballard Interbay North Manufacturing Industrial Center (BINMIC).

The Director of the Office of Planning & Community Development has determined this proposal is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment. An environmental impact statement (EIS) is required under RCW 43.21C.030(2)(c) and will be prepared. The lead agency has identified the following areas for study in the EIS to determine if there are any significant environmental impacts: * Biological Resources and Resiliency: Water Resources/Climate Change, Soils/Geology, Plants and Animals
* Environmental Health and Compatibility: Contamination, Noise, Light and Glare, Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases
* Mobility and Freight
* Land and Shoreline Use
* Housing
* Open Space and Recreation
* Historic and Cultural Resources
* Public Services: Police, Emergency Services, and Schools
* Utilities

Materials related to the proposal including alternatives may be reviewed at OPCD’s offices or on the department’s website:
seattle.gov/opcd/ongoing-initiatives/industrial-and-maritime-strategy#whatwhy.

Agencies, affected tribes, and members of the public are invited to comment on the scope of the EIS. You may comment on the proposal, the alternatives, probable significant adverse impacts, and licenses or other approvals that may be\ required. More specifically, comments should focus on the elements of the environment that should be addressed in the EIS, analysis that should be done and the alternatives that the City proposes to study, including any reasonable alternatives to those proposed.

Comments may be submitted by letter to OPCD at the address below; by email to PCD_Industry_And_Maritime_Strategy@seattle.gov ; or at a virtual scoping meeting to be held on Wednesday July 21 at 9:00 a.m. or Monday July 26 at 6:00 p.m. Meeting details will be posted at: seattle.gov/opcd/ongoinginitiatives/industrial-and-maritime-strategy#whatwhy.

The deadline for agencies, tribes and the general public to submit scoping comments is 5 pm, August 8, 2021.

FOLLOWUP: Is Terminal 5’s modernization bad news for endangered resident orcas? One environmentalist turned port commissioner says no

(2020 photo of then-newborn resident calf J57: Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 / WhaleResearch.com)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tomorrow, the Northwest Seaport Alliance‘s managing members – the port commissioners of Seattle and Tacoma – get their quarterly update on the modernization project at Terminal 5 in West Seattle.

(June photo by Stewart L.)

Four big signs of that progress drew a lot of attention last month – the new T-5 cranes that arrived from China. Their arrival sparked some discussion among WSB commenters about whether the dock modernization project is bad news for Puget Sound’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.

No, says Fred Felleman, a Seattle port commissioner whose background, before taking office in 2016, was in environmental advocacy. (Checking WSB archives, the first time we mentioned him was when he spoke to the Port Commission in 2015, voicing opposition to the use of T-5 for staging Shell‘s Arctic oil-exploration fleet. That was one of the interim uses T-5 has seen since it went out of regular cargo service in 2014.)

Read More

FOLLOWUP: Fireworks aftermath, more brush-fire calls, and neighborly cleanups

Again this year, we asked for photos of fireworks debris/trash encountered by readers this morning. What you see above is from Kay, who reported fireworks aftermath at Lincoln Park, “from the south parking lot to the pool.” And while we can’t say for sure whether fireworks are to blame, just before 5 am, this fire broke out in trees on the park’s west-facing slope:

Andrew saw it from a ferry; the SFD log shows two engines and a ladder truck were sent. The aftermath of another brush fire is part of Kim‘s report from High Point:

I just went up to Walt Hundley Park with a bucket and garbage picker. There is so much small fireworks debris in the park and street at 34th and Myrtle, I could not pick it all up. I concentrated on picking up the bigger stuff.

It appears there was a brush fire last night across from the park on the weedy slope next to Guadalupe. There is a burned area and the resulting messy mud in the road must be from the water used to extinguish the fire. (I reported this to the city’s Find It Fix It app, along with some big garbage dumped there that was too much for me to manage this morning.)

It’s too bad that the people who create the mess don’t clean up after themselves. But I encourage neighbors to get out and help clean up their neighborhoods today. If this street is any indication, it’s a mess out there.

The SFD log does show a brush-fire call at 1:22 am in that area. Also from High Point, Codrin sent this photo from Viewpoint Park:


Here’s a texted photo from EC Hughes Playground:

Heading north, from Leigh at 36th/Lander:

On my morning walk saw this. Helped a neighbor clean up.

Just one of several photos sent by Pat, at Don Armeni Boat Ramp:

And from Kristina, at Whale Tail Park:

At least they cleaned up the trash? Sounded like a war zone for hours last night.

Thanks again to those who sent photos and/or were out cleaning up this morning – we will add any other photos we receive – westseattleblog@gmail.com.

ADDED 2:28 PM: From Brooke, at Highland Park Spraypark:

It’s not so bad as others but the kids are playing barefoot in/around it. Also the Roxhill park and parking lot were covered with fireworks debris, so much that my kids decided not to play there this morning.

Longfellow Creek polluted by suspected paint spill

(Department of Ecology photo)

An investigation is under way into the source of a spill that has polluted Longfellow Creek in east West Seattle. First, here’s what Seattle Public Utilities spokesperson Sabrina Register tells us:

About 10:30 am yesterday, SPU Spill Response responded to a call about a white substance in Longfellow Creek. SPU inspectors determined the substance to most likely be some of latex paint. The amount is unknown but estimated to be in 5-20 gallon range.

Per protocol, staff called Department of Ecology and Department of Fish and Wildlife and consulted with them on the best course of action. While SPU has captured and disposed of some of the contaminant in the pipe, the two agencies determined last night that a full-scale cleanup of the water would cause more harm than good and recommend leaving the water undisturbed. The water in the creek may be a milky white for a few days to come. SPU Inspectors will continue to source-trace to see if we can find the responsible party and will continue to monitor the creek for several days.

The affected area is centered near 24th/Thistle, a greenspace just east of the Chief Sealth International High School campus, but the spill was followed to an “upstream pipe,” according to information from Ecology that was forwarded by Puget Soundkeeper, which is also monitoring the situation. The Ecology report says part of the reason that pumping out the polluted water isn’t recommended is that it could dry up the creek, which is already in a tenuous situation this time of year, as it’s part daylit, part undergrounded along its path from Roxhill to the Duwamish River.

WEEK AHEAD: Duwamish River cleanup updates Wednesday

(WSB file photo, Duwamish River seen from high-rise West Seattle Bridge)

Seattle’s only river – the Duwamish River. much of which runs along West Seattle’s eastern edge – is the site of an ongoing major cleanup operation, after decades of pollution. This Wednesday morning, you can hear firsthand status reports during the Lower Duamish Waterway Stakeholders‘ next meeting. It’s happening online, and community members are welcome. Attendance information is on the agenda, which makes note of one thing that will not be happening at the meeting: There’s no decision yet on the cleanup-area reduction proposed because of a change in the definition of safe levels of a particular pollutant (as covered here earlier this year). There will, however, be an update on the number and type of comments received on that. Other agenda items include habitat restoration and cleanup milestones. The meeting is set for 10 am-noon Wednesday (June 9th).

CONGRATULATIONS! West Seattle’s Adonis Williams wins Changemaker Challenge

West Seattle High School junior Adonis Williams, an activist for much of his young life, has won a national award from Students Rebuild, in the “Changemaker Challenge.” From the announcement:

As the Challenge closes on June 4th — the culmination of a nine-month process that brought together students from 55 countries and all 50 states — Students Rebuild has selected six changemakers to honor for their community-change efforts, including Adonis. Each award recipient will receive $1,000 to further their efforts.

Adonis Williams is a high school junior, artist and activist. At the age of 12, Adonis was one of eight young people who, in partnership with Our Children’s Trust, sued the Washington State Department of Ecology for failing to adequately protect them and future generations from the effect of climate change. Since then, he has remained deeply involved in environmental activist work across various organizations in the Puget Sound region, including Greenpeace, Seattle Tilth, and Plant for the Planet.

Adonis dearly appreciates the world’s life support systems and the ecology of the natural world around him — and takes every chance he gets to appreciate the beauty of mother earth, which fuels his activism.

(Students Rebuild, which provided the photo, is part of the Bezos Family Foundation.) The Changemaker Challenge awards for middle- and high-school students, including Adonis, will be presented in an online ceremony at 11 am Friday; you can watch by RSVPing here.

YOU CAN HELP: 2 West Seattle community cleanups ahead

The next two Saturdays are your next two chances to join in community-organized cleanups around West Seattle:

ALKI, JUNE 5TH: Jessica‘s been leading monthly cleanups on the first Saturday of each month

Meet up at 10 am at 2452 Alki Avenue SW. Bring your own pick stick, garden gloves, and a bucket (Jessica says they work better than bags, especially when it’s windy). She has a few pick sticks and buckets if you don’t have your own. Kids welcome. To RSVP, text Jessica at 206-769-6330.

UNDER THE BRIDGE, JUNE 12TH: Conrad is organizing another of these cleanups for Saturday, June 12th. Meet up at 1 pm at the SW Marginal Place cul-de-sac that meets the bike/foot trail along the west end of the low bridge. Sign up – and get more details – by going here.

Sanislo caps salmon-release season as smolts leave Fauntleroy Creek

(Photos by Pete Draughon. Above, students and siblings from Westside Wonderspace preschool got to release coho fry last week with Dennis Hinton in the lower creek)

By Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog

Kindergarten students, parents, and staff from Sanislo Elementary had the honor of releasing the last of this spring’s Salmon in the Schools fry into upper Fauntleroy Creek.

Despite the pandemic’s many extra demands on teachers, seven West Seattle schools (half the usual number) managed to rear coho this year. In addition, two preschools released fry reared by volunteer Jack Lawless for the Fauntleroy Watershed Council to supplement what schools were able to produce.

Most teachers scheduled their releases in Fauntleroy Park by family groups. All told, 130 students, plus 190 adults and siblings, put 1,044 fish in the water.

(This Sanislo student added a bit of glamour to the last salmon release of the season on Fauntleroy Creek)

An additional 30 park users who happened by the release site on Saturday let the last of the supplemental fish go for their year in freshwater.

About the same time that fry were going into the creek, 49 smolts were heading out for their two years in saltwater. Between mid-March and late May, volunteers Dennis Hinton and Pete Draughon documented 15 smolts leaving from the upper creek and 34 from middle and lower reaches of the mile-long system. This number is about average for the past five years of this 19-year study.

Next up will be spawning season, starting in mid-October.

Walking your dog in Fauntleroy Park? 2 students’ message for you

(WSB photos)

If you had passed that family on the trail in Fauntleroy Park on Saturday, you might have assumed they were just out for a family walk. Except for the clipboards carried by daughters Estela and Vivian as they walked with dad Eddie and mom Carina

… and these flags they placed at 10 spots along the trail.

Estela and Vivian, 4th- and 1st-graders at Arbor Heights Elementary, are in their third month of a volunteer project in conjunction with the Fauntleroy Watershed Council. They’re gone out every month to survey the trail – through the watershed of salmon-bearing Fauntleroy Creek – for what visiting dogs left behind. We went along on Saturday afternoon for this month’s survey. Every place they found something, they marked with a flag.

The 10 flags they placed this time were fewer than their first two times (17 and 14). The flags are intended to both warn – one side says “Watch your step!” – and educate. They’re rain-resistant and made from paper, says creek steward Judy Pickens, and are removed two weeks after placement. Pickens’ community-connection work is what got Estela and Vivian involved – their family went to a fall “drumming to call the salmon home” event at her house and asked what they could do to help. They’re also involved with the Salmon in the Schools program at Arbor Heights Elementary, and might present their findings at school as well as to the Watershed Council, which has been tracking this problem since 2004.

So what do they hope to accomplish? Estela says it’s simple – convincing dog owners to pick up after their pets. “We don’t want it to get into the creek … we hope this helps the salmon. And we hope people understand there are things they can do” such as gentle reminders to other parkgoers. The sisters will be doing their part to help – and making a map and list of their findings – through August.

West Seattle’s Poogooder invites you to join ‘Zero Poo Challenge’

Back in September, we told you about Poogooder, founded by West Seattleite Lori Kothe as a way to tackle the problem so many complain about … dog waste fouling sidewalks, planting strips, etc., and sparking un-neighborly spats. Lori says nearly 80 Poogooder disposal bins – each with its own volunteer steward – are now up in local neighborhoods. But that’s just a start toward ending the problem, so Lori’s announced the Zero Poo Challenge, and you have two ways to be part of it:

The Poogooder Zero Poo Challenge is a free, crowd-sourced education initiative to raise awareness of the social and environmental impacts of wayward dog poo and the small steps we can take to foster a happier, healthier community and planet. It involves 2 main activities open to the public: an all-ages PSA Art & Video Contest and a Wayward Poo Hunt. Participants can win prizes, fame, goodies from local businesses, and even trophies! Deadline to submit or vote for family-friendly PSA creations is June 12. The Wayward Poo Hunt citizen-science research project runs May 23 – June 12 and coincides with PAWSWalk. Poo Hunters will use the Pooper Snooper mobile app to “win” by finding real secret treasure tins hidden throughout West Seattle.

If you are a local business, educator, organization, or individual who would like to be involved in some way and/or donate to the prize packs, please submit a contact form at Poogooder.com. Let’s have fun, get the facts, and inspire change to do some good today. More info, Dog Poo 101 guide, PSA voting gallery, and entry details at zeropoo.com.

UPDATE: Duwamish Tribe hosts Gov. Inslee’s bill signing for HEAL Act

11:32 AM: Gov. Inslee is in West Seattle right now during a daylong tour of the metro area, signing bills. He has just arrived at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse, he is signing the HEAL Act (SB 5141), which he says will “set a course toward a more healthy and equitable future with greater environmental justice for all Washingtonians.” The Longhouse is hosting a celebratory event for the occasion, both inside and outside.TVW plans to stream the signing above; we are at the Longhouse to cover the event, and we’ll add more photos/details later.

(After arrival, governor elbow-bumps Paulina López of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition)

11:52 AM: The ceremony has begun with a song of welcome. James Rasmussen of the Duwamish Tribe then speaks.

“My people have been here for over 10,000 years.” The bill the governor will sign today, he says, is “about healing” – not just environmental, but “all kinds.” He also reminds those gathered – and those watching.- that the Duwamish are still seeking federal recognition.

11:59 AM: Now the governor takes the podium. He says this bill addressing systemic racism’s role in environmental injustice has been decades in the making. He hails the work of organizations such as the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, whose executive director Paulina López is among the dozens of people in attendance. While the bill may “sound like process,” the governor insists that it’s “about results.”

(L-R with the governor: Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, Rep. Debra Lekanoff, Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley)

Also speaking, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña. “It is about how we approach all the work we do” – to undo what has led to disparities in “health and opportunity” affecting too many “because of where they live.” Joining her at the podium is Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley, a new legislator who speaks emotionally about her pride that this was accomplished – “I don’t want one more auntie to die 10 years too early … I don’t want one more child to have asthma” because of pollution.

12:40 PM: And after more speaking and singing, the signing.

The governor declares that the HEAL Act will make environmental justice part of the state’s “core strategy.” He moves on to one more on-location signing in about an hour, three environmental bills he’ll sign in Shoreline, two of them sponsored by West Seattle House Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon. Meantime, the video from this event should be viewable, archived, above, before long. And we’ll add more coverage when we’re back at HQ.

ADDED MONDAY NIGHT: From the legislative news release about the HEAL Act, more explanation:

Senate Bill 5141, the Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL Act), addresses the disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards suffered by Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, along with low-income communities in neighborhoods across Washington state, putting them at higher risk of adverse health outcomes. This risk is further amplified for communities with pre-existing economic barriers and environmental risks.

The HEAL Act, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), implements recommendations from the Environmental Justice Task Force – established by the Legislature in 2019 – on how state agencies should incorporate environmental justice principles to reduce health disparities when implementing policies and programs. Environmental justice means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. …

Saldaña’s bill establishes environmental justice requirements for seven state agencies, an interagency workgroup, and a permanent environmental justice council, the makeup of which includes a majority of representatives from impacted communities. It also sets timelines for guidance, recommendations, and implementation of environmental justice assessments, measurements, and public reporting of progress.

The indoor ceremony at the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center was followed by an outdoor celebration (with food by the Off the Rez truck, funded by Front and Centered Coalition). Speakers included the tribe’s longtime chair Cecile Hansen:

She also reminded those in attendance that the Duwamish battle for recognition is not yet won, and noted what they had given up so long ago – 55,000 acres, while now, they hold only the 2/3 of an acre on which the Longhouse sits. As noted in our recent District 1 Community Network report, you can expect to hear more about the tribe’s renewed quest. Their message is that despite the federal attempt at erasure, “We are still here.”