Help King County Prioritize Environmental Goals: Use Online Budget Planner

KCparks viewThe King County Department of Natural Resources would like to hear from you about how you would prioritize King County’s environmental goals to help the county continue to plan for a greener future.

How would you prioritize King County’s environmental goals?

Let’s pretend you have a budget of $100 for King County’s environmental work. How would you spend it on three or more of the County’s environmental goals? Find the environmental goals that you would like King County to prioritize, then allocate a portion of your imaginary $100. Total spending should add up to $100. Click here to give your ideas to make King County greener?  The question will be open for comment until December 24.

OneKingCounty.info is an online platform that provides opportunities for government and citizens to work together to improve our communities and environment through digital civic engagement.

Saturday, November 8, is Green Seattle Day: Help Here in West Seattle!

Green Seattle Partnership logoWest Seattle is near many wonderful green natural spaces.  Some of these include areas with urban forests.  Did you know that urban forests are an intricate and vital part of Seattle’s natural space?  Urban parks and forests also contribute to the health of communities and neighborhoods as a common space shared by all kinds of people.  But, did you also know that your Local Urban Forests need you?

Join the Green Seattle Partnership on Saturday, November 8th, as we kick off planting season and celebrate Seattle’s urban forests and all they do for us with a day of volunteerism in 21 parks throughout the City.

The 9th Annual Green Seattle Day is a perfect time to roll up your sleeves and have a lasting impact on your community that you will be able to watch grow. This volunteer opportunity is a great way to see a physical difference in your community.  Seola parkthe Orchard Street Ravine, and Westcrest Park will all have volunteers out to help restore and conserve our urban forested areas.

This event is Green Seattle’s biggest event of the year.  Green Seattle Day is a great chance for first-time and long-time volunteers to help grow the forest in their own city by planting trees and other plants in city parks.

This year our main site will meet at the Rainier Beach Community Center (lunch included after planting), but there are 17 other locations around the city that need volunteers, so check out the full list here, pick your lucky park, and sign sign up now so that we can plan the best event for everyone.

To join us at the main site, sign up to volunteer at the East Duwamish GreenbeltKubota GardensLakeridge Park, or Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands, and meet at the Rainier Beach Community Center at 9am.

Green Seattle Day is great for all ages. We’ll bring the gloves, tools, and all of the plants, you bring the helping hands! Coffee and snacks provided at all sites, so register early so that we can have enough for everyone. Please dress for the weather, and wear sturdy shoes that can get wet and a little dirty. This is our biggest party of the year and we want you there! More information available at www.greenseattle.org. Please contact Norah Kates at info@greenseattle.org, or call 206-905-6943 with any questions.

 

Whale Trail Presents Discussion On A Protected Zone for Puget Sound Orcas

Protected Orca Zone posterThe Whale Trail will present the ideas behind “A Protected Zone for Puget Sound Orcas,” a presentation by Bruce Stedman, of Orca Relief, on Thursday, October 30, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at C&P Coffee, 5612 California Ave SW.  There is a five dollar ($5) suggested donation, kids free!
Tickets are available from brownpapertickets.com. The event is presented by The Whale Trail and will feature additional speakers on harbor seals and clean-up efforts for the Sound.

The Southern Resident Killer Whales are endangered and seriously declining; their 2014 population of 79 is the lowest since 1985.  To aid their recovery, Orca Relief is urging NOAA Fisheries to conduct a public process that will result in a Whale Protection Zone for the Southern Resident Killer Whales.

A well designed and enforced WPZ would provide the Southern Resident Orca a safe-haven in the very core of their critical habitat, and a relief from vessel impacts including noise, disturbance and air pollution. Bruce Stedman, Executive Director of Orca Relief will describe the key aspects of how a protected area for the Orca should be developed and how it could help the SRKWs begin to recover.

Join us to hear the latest about the orcas, and updates from Robin Lindsay (Seal Sitters), and Diver Laura James (tox-ick.org). This is the first in a new series of Orca Talks hosted by The Whale Trail in West Seattle.

Buy tickets ahead of time and we’ll save you a seat! And hurry – this will likely sell out.
About the Presenter
The Executive Director of Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance, Bruce Stedman has more than three decades of experience in marine conservation, ocean health issues, and whale conservation.  He was one of the core team that built the Whale Museum (Friday Harbor, WA) and was its first curator.
He has directed five other conservation and environmental organizations, as well as working as an environmental mediator for 15 years.  He has facilitated or mediated more than 100 decision-making or information-sharing processes on many environmental topics, and designed/conducted more than 55 workshops or study tours for public officials and technical specialists from over 40 countries. Trained at University of Washington and MIT, Mr. Stedman has taught conservation and environmental courses at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, and Western Washington Universities.
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. The mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of whales and our marine environment by establishing a network of viewing sites along the whales’ trails through the Salish Sea and the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest. The goals are to increase awareness that our marine waters are home to orcas and other species; connect visitors to orcas, other marine wildlife and their habitat; inspire stewardship and build community; promote land-based whale watching. The Whale Trail’s over-arching goal is to ensure the southern resident orcas do not go extinct.

The Whale Trail provides simple, powerful, and long-lasting reminders to visitors and residents alike that orcas and other whales live in our waters.  Through the current sites and signs, including two on every Washington State ferry, Whale Trail reaches more than 22 million people each year. They are currently adding sites 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. The Whale Trail is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, registered in Washington State. Join us!

Metropolitan Parks District Now Reality: City Seeks Oversight Committee Members, Applications Due October 20

MPD logoThe Seattle City Council and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are seeking candidates to fill seven positions on the Seattle Park District’s newly created Community Oversight Committee. The Seattle Park District was approved by Seattle voters in August 2014, creating a sustainable and long-term source of funding for the Seattle parks system.

The Community Oversight Committee will provide advice to the Mayor, City Council and the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, as well as provide oversight of projects, programs and services undertaken by the City and the Seattle Park District. The committee will meet quarterly to:

  • Make recommendations on the allocation of the Major Projects Challenge Fund;
  • Hold public meetings and make recommendations to update the next spending plan;
  • Review the Department of Parks and Recreation Annual Report; and
  • Provide the Mayor, City Council and Superintendent of Parks and Recreation with annual reports on the progress of expenditures and projects.

The Committee will be composed of 15 members, seven members of the public (one from each Seattle district), four Board or Commission members to be recommended by Seattle City Boards & Commissions and four members from the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners.  Each will serve either a one, two or three year term, to be determined during the selection process.

The City seeks to appoint Community Oversight Committee members with a diversity of expertise and perspectives including, but not limited to parks management, public financing, urban horticulture, landscape architecture, contract management and the interests of low-income and communities of color. The Committee’s first official meeting will be held in April 2015, but members should be available to meet before this date, in early 2015.

The Council and the Mayor are committed to promoting diversity in the city’s Committees. Women, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community and persons of color are highly encouraged to apply.

To be considered, please send a letter of interest indicating which district you represent and resume by October 20, 2014 to Councilmember Jean Godden, jean.godden@seattle.gov. Please title subject line: Oversight Committee Application. Electronic submissions are preferred. To send a paper submittal, please address to:

Councilmember Jean Godden
PO Box 34025
Seattle, WA 98124

Weekend Work Scheduled for Lowman Beach Retention Tank Dirt Removal

IMG_1610Contractors for King County Wastewater Division will be working on weekends this month to remove the dirt from the million-gallon retention tank being constructed at Lowman Beach Park as part of the Murray Basin Combined Sewer Overflow project.

To keep the project on schedule and avoid digging during heavy rains, King County’s contractor will work Saturdays in October. Saturday work will begin at 9:00 am and finish at 6:00pm. The County contractor expects to finish digging out the tank area by early November, before the largest winter storms usually arrive. Digging during storms takes longer and increases the chance of mud from the site getting on to streets and storm drains.

What to expect on Saturdays:

  • Upcoming Saturday work days:
    • October 4
    • October 11
    • October 18
    • October 25
  • Work hours from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm  (Weekday work hours continue to be 7:00 am to 6:00 pm)
  • Noise from trucks and excavators, including backup alarms
  • Excavators, pumps, and trucks working on and near the site
  • Up to 55 trucks entering and leaving the site each day (about 7-8 trucks per hour)
  • Flaggers to keep traffic moving as trucks access the site
  • No parking on the eastern side of Beach Drive SW
  • Limited parking on the western side of Beach Drive SW
  • Limited access to the eastern sidewalk on Beach Drive SW
  • Beach Drive S.W. and Lowman Beach Park remain open
  • Primary haul routes remain Lincoln Park Way and 48th Ave SW
  • The sound of running water may also be noticeable. Groundwater is being pumped from the tank area into a holding tank on site to allow for safe digging. The sound you may hear is typical for this kind of work.

The project haul route map is shown below. haul map

For more information:

Call the 24-hour project information hotline: 206-205-9186, or email doug.marsano@kingcounty.gov or search “Murray CSO” at kingcounty.gov

 

Pathfinder K-8 School Has New 2500-gallon Cistern for Earth Project Garden

pathfinder cistern

Sustainable West Seattle is excited to announce the completion of a new 2500-gallon rainwater harvesting system at Pathfinder K-8 school that will be used to irrigate its  extensive school garden.  SWS was a significant part of this project, donating volunteer labor through school parent Bill Reiswig and through a small grant from SWS’s storm water project Tox-ick.org.

The newly-installed system harvests rainwater that falls on the metal roof of the school and stores it for future use.  It has a 50+ gallon first-flush feature that removes potential pollutants from the water, and features an irrigation line that runs to a conveniently located hose-bib.  The system is gravity-pressurized at this time, but could be modified in the future with a solar-powered pump.

The rainwater system is an essential piece in the growing Pathfinder school garden.  The garden is designed with ecological principles and this system reflects that.   Water harvested from the roof diverts stormwater from the City of Seattle’s sewer system, saves money and uses local water rather than water moved from a great distance.  Water harvested in the winter and spring by this system can water vegetables grown in Seattle’s dry summers.  The rainwater system represents a great learning opportunity for students in understanding our water cycle, the mathematics of rate and flow, and the ecological principles involved.

This system reflects the work of teachers, parents, and students thru Pathfinders Pathfinder’s K-8 “Earth Project”.  The Earth Project  is a collaboration between local non-profit Nature Consortium and Pathfinder teachers, parents, and greater community.

Bill Reiswig, Bruce Hostedder and Patrick Loderhose (both of EarthSystems NW) by the cistern they installed at Pathfinder School.

Bill Reiswig, Bruce Hostedder and Patrick Loderhose (both of EarthSystems NW) by the cistern they installed at Pathfinder School.

The project was funded through small garden and water grants from BECU, Whole Foods, and from local non-profit Sustainable West Seattle and it’s Tox-ick stormwater project.

The system was designed and installed by EarthSystems NW, who offer innovative and economical ideas for conserving and harnessing our most vital resource: water.

Bill Reiswig, Bruce Hostedder and Patrick Loderhose (both ESNW) installed the sytem in 5 days of work during the past couple of weeks.  It is being recieved with excitement by the school, students and teachers.

Learn Sustainable Garden & Water Management Practices @ UW Botanic Center Classes

UW Botanic GardenLandscape for Life™ demystifies sustainability for home gardeners

The University of Washington Botanic Gardens is hosting four Thursday evening classes on sustainable garden practices and water management.  The classes are on Thursday, September 25  through October 16, and start at 6:30 pm and end at 9:00 pm.

Are you a homeowner who wants to create and maintain your own healthy, sustainable landscape? Through instructor-led presentations, class discussions, and activities, you will deepen your understanding of how to get the most out of water in your garden, how to build healthy soils with minimal outside inputs, how to use native and climate-adapted plants for the Pacific Northwest, and how to find the most environmentally-friendly landscape materials. Students will analyze their own home landscape focusing on soils, water, plants, and use of materials. Landscape for LifeTM was developed by the US Botanical Garden and Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center to the University of Texas in Austin.

There is a cost, $125 before September 19, and $150 after. You can Register Online or call 206-685-8033 to register.

The classes will be taught by instructor Barbara DeCaro, a horticulturist working for Seattle Parks and Recreation. She develops best practices for managing public landscapes and provides training programs in landscape management for parks staff. She is a certified Instructor for Landscape for LifeTM and also develops teaching materials and provides instruction for the landscape industry in the ecoPRO – Sustainable Landscape Professional Program. Barbara is a life-long gardener and life-long learner, with over 40 years working in public gardens and landscapes.[mappress mapid=”539″]

Lowman Beach-Murray CSO Project Update

IMG_1508Crews finished installing the outer wall of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control Project storage tank on Wednesday, August 13. The 80-foot deep underground wall is made out of four-foot wide concrete cylinders called secant piles. The secant piles interlock to form a watertight ring that will house the storage tank. Crews began installing the secant piles in late May. The secant pile drill and crane will leave the site by August 22. King County and its contractor know that installing the outer wall was loud and disruptive. Thank you for your patience during this work.

The County contractor will spend the rest of August preparing to dig out the area within the outer wall where the tank will be built. Pumps will be installed to control groundwater inside the ring and excess concrete will be removed from the work area. Platforms for the digging equipment will also be built.

To protect public safety, the eastern side of Beach Drive SW is closed. Pedestrians and bicyclists should use Beach Drive SW’s western sidewalk. Southbound vehicles should use the access road southwest of Lowman Beach Park when turning around to head north on Beach Drive SW.

What to expect:

  • Work from 7 am – 6 pm on weekdays
  • Backhoes, pumps and trucks working on and around the project site
  • Equipment stored within the fenced-off area of Lowman Beach Park
  • Increased noise and activity
  • No parking or access on the eastern side of Beach Drive SW
  • No access to Beach Drive SW’s eastern sidewalk during work hours
  • Limited parking on the western side of Beach Drive SW
  • Continued access to Beach Drive SW and Lowman Beach Park

As always, please let us know if you have any questions. You can email Doug Marsano, KC Wastewater Community Liaison at Doug.Marsano@kingcounty.gov or call the 24-hour construction hotline at 206-205-9186.

Seattle Trees for Neighborhoods: Get Up To 4 Free Trees for Yard or Parking Strip

trees for neighborhoods logoFree Trees for Your Home!

Trees for Neighborhoods helps Seattle residents plant trees around their home. Through the City of Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods program, Seattle residents have planted over 4,000 trees since 2009. That’s 4,000 more trees that help clean our air and water, make our streets more walkable, and our neighborhoods safer and healthier. Join the movement this year—plant a tree and help grow Seattle’s urban forest!

The 2014 application season kicks off on Monday, August 4th at 10:00 am. Seattle residents are eligible to apply for up to four free trees to plant in their yards and within their planting strips. Residents who participate also receive free watering bags, training on proper tree planting and care, and workshop opportunities. This year, the program is offering 12 tree species ranging from large native conifers to small deciduous trees appropriate for planting under power lines and along the street. Some favorites this year include Douglas fir, black tupelo, and incense cedar. Check out the complete list and see photos at our website here: http://www.seattle.gov/trees/availabletrees2014.html.

Trees4NeighborhoodsReady to plant a tree? Visit www.seattle.gov/trees for a list of this year’s tree species and a link to the online application, which opens Monday, August 4th. Trees go very quickly, so mark your calendar and apply early!

All questions about the program should be directed to TreesforNeighborhoods@seattle.gov or 206-684-3979. Katie Gibbons is the Seattle reLeaf Project Manager doe Seattle Public Utilities,  Contact her at Katie.Gibbons@Seattle.gov or at the number above.

With Summer Here, Birds Need Water

birds in birdbathBirds require water year-round, but as the summer heat is in full force, water can be a magnet for attracting feathered friends to your yard. Not only will a bird bath provide neighborhood birds with a much needed drink, but it can also be a gathering place for them to take a refreshing dip or an instant attraction for insect eating migrants.

Here are five tips for creating a bath that both welcomes and attracts a variety of birds:

  • Keep it shallow.To entice small birds to jump in, a bath should be no more than 3 inches deep.
  • Provide extra footing. To allow birds to get a foothold while bathing, the interior surface should be textured. If you have a container that is a little too deep and slippery, line the bottom with gravel or stones.
  • Set up your bath near shrubs or trees. In order for birds to be attracted to your bird bath, they need a quick escape route if they sense a predator.
  • Clean it regularly. Since mosquitoes’ breeding cycle is a minimum of a week, replacing water every few days will ensure the pests don’t become a problem.
  • Consider running water. The sound of water can be heard by birds from some distance and will draw them in. Try a multiple-tiered bird bath, fountain, bubbler or even a mister.