West Seattle Habitat Improvement Grants

Sustainable West Seattle has been the recipient of two grants to improve wildlife habitat and water quality, solicited by the Puget Creek Watershed Alliance for ecological restoration in the Puget Ridge neighborhood near South Seattle College.
The first $20,000 grant from King County Wastewater Treatment Division focuses on “Lawn Transformations” to reduce stormwater runoff by improving the soil’s sponge and filtering capabilities. Titled “Clear the Air and Shrink Your Lawn,” this grant intends to reduce lawn mowing that comprises 5% of this nation’s air pollution. By eradicating grass, amending soils, and planting native species, it is hoped these mostly evergreen plants will better intercept winter rains and shade out weeds. Eight properties have had grass removed and plants installed, including a portion of lawn at Sanislo Elementary School. Also, the grant assisted the installation of one backyard rain garden that manages roof and street runoff.
The second $5,500 grant from King County Flood Control District is intended to restore native plant communities on properties with backyard natural areas in the Puget Creek watershed. This grant pays for invasive tree and knotweed removal, and to plant native evergreen trees that will reduce stormwater runoff and create shade conditions for replanting native diversity in the future. Invasive trees include European hawthorn, English laurel, and holly, a plant that is doubling its numbers every six years and is projected to be the dominant species in urban forests within three decades if we do nothing to stop its spread (for information: http://seedrain.org/).
Chosen grant participants will be supported by the restoration contractor, Garden Cycles, to remove invasive plant infestations and assist with planting and plant care.  Garden Cycles’ primary transportation is by bicycle with trailer (http://gardencycles.com/).
Look at the transformation!
BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

M. Powell Swims the Duwamish to Raise Environmental Awareness

Did you know that over 600,000 pink salmon will make the journey up the Green/Duwamish River to spawn this year? This year, Mark Powell is swimming with them. From the crystal clear headwaters of the Green River to the polluted output of the Duwamish River at Puget Sound, Mark Powell of Washington Environmental Council is swimming the river to tell the story of the threats and opportunities facing the watershed and the Sound. Come face-to-face with salmon and frogs…Mark carries a GoPro and makes underwater videos of his swim! View more at SwimDuwamish.org and see cool underwater pictures at Instagram.com/SwimDuwamish. Here is a preview to get you started:

What an excellent way to take action and bring awareness to the issues that face our area. Thank you Mark and the folks at W.E.C. for doing such great work.

SwimDuwamish-6 SwimDuwamish-5 SwimDuwamish-4 SwimDuwamish-3 SwimDuwamish-2

 

Come Down and Explore the Longfellow Creek Trail

Come on down and join Bryan!

Come on down and join Bryan!

Looking for a cool walk this weekend? Consider meeting SWS President Bryan and our friends at islandwood.org as they explore one of our local greenspaces…The Longfellow Creek Trail. This event takes place on Saturday June 13th from 11am-2pm at Greg Davis Park.

This will be a great event to bring your children to. Fun times are to be had, like a water bug investigations, a scavenger hunt, and just playing in the woods!. Hope to see you there!

SWS Team

Here is the flyer if you’d like to download it:

Flyer1- Longfellow

 

A Tale of Two Otters Presentation at C&P Coffee This Thursday

What is the difference between a sea otter and a river otter? Where do they live, what do they eat, and what role do humans play in their environment? Join us to learn about these fascinating and playful creatures who share our shores.

Leo Shaw will discuss the natural history of river and sea otters in North America, with a special focus on the river otters of West Seattle! His talk will cover human interactions, population swings, social structure, anatomy and physiology  food preferences, legal status, and current threats.

Buy tickets early to reserve your seat. And hurry! This will sell out.

This is the next in a series Orca Talks hosted by The Whale Trail in West Seattle. The event also features updates from Seal Sitters, and Diver Laura James (tox-ick.org). You otter be there!

About the Speaker

Leo Shaw is a zoologist who served as a Marine Education Specialist with the Seattle Aquarium from 1977 to 2005. Now retired, he continues to work part-time on Beach Naturalist and Citizen Science programs for the Aquarium.

Leo was a board member of the American Cetacean Society Seattle Chapter in the 1980s. He currently volunteers as Science and Education Advisor for Seal Sitters, and as a marine-mammal expert for The Whale Trail.

About The Whale Trail

The Whale Trail (www.thewhaletrail.org) is a series of sites around the region where the public may view orcas and other marine mammals from shore. Our mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of whales and our marine environment. Our overarching goal is to ensure the southern resident orcas don’t go extinct.

Through our current sites and signs, including two on every Washington State ferry, we reach more than 30 million people each year. The Whale Trail is currently adding new sites along the west coast, from BC to California, throughout the southern resident orcas’ range.

The Whale Trail is led by a core team of partners including NOAA Fisheries, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Seattle Aquarium, the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, and the Whale Museum. Donna Sandstrom is the Founder and Executive Director. The Whale Trail is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, registered in Washington State. Join us!

Photos of River Otter, and Sea Otter with Pups, by Leo Shaw

Photos of River Otter, and Sea Otter with Pups, by Leo Shaw

The Whale Trail Presents
A Tale of Two Otters: Natural History of River Otters and Sea Otters
Presentation by Leo Shaw
When: Thursday, April 30th, 7PM
–Doors open 6:15
Where: C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW
Cost: $5 suggested donation. (Kids get in free!)
Advance tickets: brown paper tickets.com
Photos of River Otter, and Sea Otter with Pups, by Leo Shaw

Photos of River Otter, and Sea Otter with Pups, by Leo Shaw

2015 Killer Whale Research Presentation

Come see a great presentation at CP Coffee:
2015 Killer Whale Research Survey
Presentation by Brad Hanson, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
When: Thursday March 26, 7 – 8:30 pm.
–Doors open at 6:15
Where: C&P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW
Cost: $5 suggested donation; kids free
Advance tickets: brownpapertickets.com
Presented by The Whale Trail
Researchers recently spent 21 days aboard the NOAA ship Bell M. Shimada, tracking endangered Southern Resident killer whales (SRKWs) off the coasts of Washington and Oregon. Good weather and ocean conditions allowed researchers exceptional access to the whales, including the first sighting of new calf L121, during their winter foraging period.

The winter survey addressed a high research priority to fill a major gap in our understanding of SRKWs life history—where these whales go during the winter, what they do, and what they eat.

Join us for this special presentation by Dr. Brad Hanson, NWFSC lead killer whale researcher. Be the first to hear what researchers observed, and how data collected on this cruise will help recover J, K and L pods.


This is the first in the 2015 series Orca Talks hosted by The Whale Trail in West Seattle. The event also features updates from Robin Lindsay (Seal Sitters), and Diver Laura James (tox-ick.org).

Buy tickets early to reserve your seat. And hurry! This will likely sell out.

About the Speaker

Brad Hanson joined the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in April of 2003. Previously, Brad worked as a Wildlife Biologist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, WA. Brad received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington where he worked on the development of improved tag attachment systems for small cetaceans. He also holds an M.S. in Fisheries from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Zoology also from the University of Washington.  Brad is an ecologist and is currently studying foraging and habitat use of Southern Resident killer whales and health assessment of harbor and Dall’s porpoises.

About The Whale Trail

The Whale Trail (www.thewhaletrail.org) is a series of sites around the region where the public may view orcas and other marine mammals from shore. Our mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of whales and our marine environment. Our overarching goal is to ensure the southern resident orcas don’t go extinct.

Through our current sites and signs, including two on every Washington State ferry, we reach more than 30 million people each year. The Whale Trail is currently adding new sites along the west coast, from BC to California, throughout the southern resident orcas’ range.

The Whale Trail is led by a core team of partners including NOAA Fisheries, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Seattle Aquarium, the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, and the Whale Museum. Donna Sandstrom is the Founder and Executive Director. The Whale Trail is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, registered in Washington State. Join us!

Meaningful Movies Saturday Feb.7th

Meaningful Movies follow up.

A very informative series of shorts about urban food in 3 cities across America. The connection between food and social justice became very clear. There were also informative displays about Seattle Tilth, Community Orchard of West Seattle (COWS), and Puget Ridge Edible Park (PREP)
Next month the movie is a very in depth documentary about money in politics.
mmprep mmcowsmmfoodmmpeople

 

 

 

 

Saturday, February 7
West Seattle Meaningful Movies presents
Urban Gardeners & Social Justice Heroes

We will screen a number of short videos that highlight the work of innovative urban farming leaders who grow food in cities AND help make their communities greener, healthier, more socially just, and happier.

6:30 Doors open for snacks and social time.
7:00 Movies start. Followed by community announcements and a facilitated conversation.

Meet local urban gardeners and hear about their efforts in West Seattle and other neighborhoods.
Learn how you can participate or get support to grow your own garden.

At High Point Neighborhood House
6400 Sylvan Way SW, Seattle 98126
Bus numbers 21 and 128

NO CHARGE, but donations gratefully received.
Help us minimize waste—bring your own mug.

The videos will feature the work of these heroes and others:
Will Allen with Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist

Stephen Ritz with Green Bronx Machine, which works with high school students

Ron Finley in Los Angeles

Stu’s News: You and Carbon Pollution!

carbon neutralby Stu Hennessey*

If you have had any concern over the changing climate and the extreme weather events that have been making headlines you have probably felt frustration over not being in a position to challenge the big corporate polluters. The good news is that we are more in control of carbon pollution and its effect on the climate than most people realize.

People like you and I actually emit nearly twice the carbon pollution than industrial America. We also pollute in a manner that is hard to capture. We are non point source polluters. NPSPs. That means the pollution we emit comes from a variety of source points like individual cars or lawn mowers or woodstoves. Our source points are so spread out and numerous that it would be impossible to capture or cap what we emit. Where as a corporate polluter will usually have a single stack or source point that could be capped and sequestered.

We know there are cleaner ways to run the world’s industries but until we can afford a corporate takeover and finance the industrial change-over to clean energy we can only work on our own solutions. I find it very empowering to know that individual education and efforts can reduce nearly two thirds of the world’s carbon pollution. Whether it is by using alternatives to fossil fuel transportation or reducing our home energy consumption or limiting the distance a product we consume travels to the cash register we can make a huge difference. Here are ten ideas you could employ:

  • Reduce your travel emissions by riding a bicycle. Using the transit system or trading in the gas guzzler for an electric vehicle.
  • Reduce your home energy costs by turning down the thermostat or buying a programmable thermostat. Choosing a smaller more efficient home. Switching to LED lighting. Turning off all electric devices when not in use.
  • Shopping Local, buying products that are being manufactured closer to home or have been offered for reuse. Shopping at local businesses near where you live. Smaller businesses with smaller carbon footprints.
  • Eat locally grown food. Join a Community Supported Agriculture subscription. Join a community garden group or P Patch. Turn your yard into your own food supply.
  • Plant trees! Trees eat carbon dioxide and in return release oxygen. Most trees have been removed to make room for our cities. Please replace them.
  • Support government and non government organizations that offer alternatives to the archaic fossil fuel era. We can fast track our independence from fossil fuels.
  • Reduce all forms of consumer waste. Buy bulk! Buy what you need. Buy what will make you less of a carbon non point source.
  • Recycle: This is where we show what gains we have already accomplished. Good Job NPSPs.
  • Compost: Another area where great strides have been made.
  • De-carbonize your image. Our image is important to us but is it a bigger is better image that we should strive for. Is the bigger car, bigger house, wealthy-enough-to-be-carbon-foolish image the one that matters?   Imagine yourself at one with a carbon neutral earth.

* Stu Hennessey is a board member of Sustainable West Seattle and is an active cyclist and member of Spokespeople.  Stu operates and owns Alki Bike and Board in West Seattle’s Admiral District.

EPA Releases ‘Record of Decision’ On Duwamish Cleanup Proposals

Duwamish Cleanup TimelineThe Environmental Protection Agency’s final “Record of Decision” regarding the clean-up of the Duwamish River is here!  Due to the advocacy work of Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Ggroup and input from the communities, the final plan includes a 25% increase in permanent toxic waste removal over the proposed plan.  Now is your opportunity to learn about this important decision, get your questions answered and learn about what is coming next!

There are three upcoming opportunities for you to choose from:

Thursday, January 15, 6:00 pm at South Park Neighborhood Association, 8201 10th Avenue S

DRCC/TAG will be hosting a meeting featuring Dr. Peter deFur.  At the meeting, Dr. deFur will discuss the ROD and be available for your questions.  Light dinner will be available!  Learn more.

Wednesday, January 21, 5:30 pm at Concord Elementary School, 723 S Concord Street

EPA is hosting a multi-lingual open house focused on the Record of Decision.  Community members from South Park will be share information on the Record of Decision in English, Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese.  EPA, Department of Ecology, and DRCC/TAG will be on hand to answer your questions.  Light dinner and childcare will be available! Learn more.

Wednesday, January 28, 6:00 pm at South Seattle College – Georgetown, 6737 Corson Avenue S

EPA will present the Record of Decision with simultaneous interpretation available in Spanish and Vietnamese.  After the presentation, EPA representatives and DRCC/TAG will be available to answer questions.  Light dinner will be available! Learn more.

You can learn more or have questions and comments noted or answered by contacting the DRCC/TAG at contact@duwamishcleanup.org or by calling 206-954-0218.

Washington Department of Ecology Publishes 2014 Tacoma Smelter Plume Annual Report

Tacoma SmelterWashington State Department of Ecology has published the Tacoma Smelter Plume 2014 Annual Report, which is available here.

What is in the annual report? This 20-page report describes how the Department of Ecology is using the $94.6 million Asarco settlement to clean up the Tacoma Smelter Plume. It provides an update on cleanup progress and efforts to manage human health risks. It also includes the accomplishments and 2014 performance measurements from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014.

What are the highlights from 2014?

  • Completed soil sampling on 1,495 homes in the most impacted areas of the plume.
  • Cleanup of 53 more residential yards with arsenic levels over 100 parts per million.
  • Replaced soil on eight acres of playfields at Vassault Park in Tacoma.

Printed copies of the report are also available. Contact the department if you would like a printed version.  For more information  contact Jill Jacobson Reitz, MPA, Tacoma Smelter Plume-Yard Cleanup Outreach Coordinator, Toxics Cleanup Program, Southwest Regional Office, Washington State Department of Ecology, phone 360-407-6245, or email at Jill.Jacobson@ecy.w
a.gov

Murray Basin Concrete Pouring Work Continues through December

MurrayActivityDec2014King County Wastewater Division sent a notice this week stating that county contractors are beginning to build the underground storage tank across from Lowman Beach for the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow project. The tank will sit on top of the concrete slab poured in the tank area last week. Crews will work Saturday Dec. 20 to install rebar and build forms. The rebar will attach the tank to the slab. The forms will help shape the tank bottom. Saturday work hours will be 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Smaller concrete pours are scheduled for December 23 and December 29. About 10 trucks an hour will deliver concrete to the site each day — less than half the amount delivered daily last week for the slab. Concrete will be delivered to the site between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. Crews may continue working in the tank area after 6:00 pm if necessary. Haul routes will remain the same. These pours may be rescheduled if temperatures go below 40 degrees. Schedules updates will be provided as necessary.

No work will occur on December 25 or January 1 (see calendar at bottom for more information).

What to expect on pour days:

  • Work from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm. Work will continue past 6:00 pm if necessary;
  • Crews working on the east side of Beach Dr. SW near Lowman Beach Park;
  • Trucks parked on the 7000 block of Beach Dr. SW and Lincoln Park Way SW near Murray Ave. SW;
  • No weekday parking in these areas:
    • 7000 block of Beach Dr. SW;
    • Lincoln Park Way SW between Murray Ave SW and Beach Dr. SW;
  • Local and emergency access maintained on Beach Dr. SW and Lincoln Park Way SW;
  • Considerable increased truck traffic entering and leaving the site during work hours;
  • Flaggers will direct traffic along Beach Dr. SW and at the intersection of Beach Dr. SW and Lincoln Park Way SW;
  • Traffic delays, heavy congestion near the site;
  • East sidewalk of Beach Dr. SW closed between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm.

For more information call the 24-hour project information hotline: 206-205-9186

Schedule of activity at Murray Combined Sewer Overflow project area for December.

Schedule of activity at Murray Combined Sewer Overflow project area for December.