Capture Runoff: RainWise Program Open To Sunrise Heights & Westwood Neighborhoods Through End of 2015

rainwise2013areasKing County Wastewater Division is making the voluntary incentive program, RainWise, available in  Sunrise Heights and Westwood neighborhoods of West Seattle through 2015. Many residents have already installed a rain garden and/or cistern through the program, beautifying yards and improving water quality in Puget Sound. There are currently 36 RainWise projects underway in the Barton basin. If you are interested in becoming RainWise, check your eligibility and learn about the process by visiting  Click to see the South End Contractor roster list which includes trained contractors ready and willing to work in your neighborhood.

The Northwest Green Home Tour ( on April 26 will include RainWise installations in the Highland Park and South Park neighborhoods.  Check them out during the home tour and talk with RainWise contractors and homeowners who have been through the program.

If you live on one of the streets that will have roadside rain gardens installed this year as part of the Barton CSO Control Project, you will need to avoid installing a rain garden or cistern for about two months during active construction on your street. At different times during street construction, crews will be closing roads to through traffic, impacting parking, and it will be too difficult to have other construction projects going on. To check on the status of street construction, visit the project website ( or call the project hotline: 206-205-9184 or contact Kristine Cramer, Community Services and Environmental Planning,Wastewater Treatment Division, by phone at 206-255.7089 or email at

Lowman Beach Combined Sewer Overflow Project Update, Soil Wall Being Built

MurraySoilWallFlyerDuring the week of March 17, King County’s contractor will begin work to stabilize the Lincoln Park Way SW hillside behind the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control Facility project site. Stabilizing the hillside will control erosion and protect nearby private property and streets during excavation for the facility’s one-million gallon storage tank. The facility will help keep sewage and polluted stormwater out of Puget Sound.

To build a soil nail wall, crews drill steel rods into the hillside and attach them to a screen. The screen will then be covered in concrete to complete the wall and reinforce the hillside.

Crews will first improve access to the site from Beach Drive SW for heavy machinery needed to build the soil nail wall. The machinery will be tested during the week of March 17, and work to begin building the soil nail wall will start during the week of March 24.  The work is expected to take about one month to complete.

What to expect:

  • Work will occur on weekdays from 7:00 am through 6:00 pm
  • Continued access to Beach Drive SW, Lowman Beach Park’s facilities and beach
  • No parking on the eastern side of Beach Drive SW; imited parking on the western side of Beach Drive SW
  • Pedestrians and bicyclists are encouraged to use Beach Drive SW’s western sidewalk
  • Increased noise and activity
  • Heavy equipment and truck traffic on and around the project site

For more information or to comment call the 24-hour project information line: 206-205-9186, or search “Murray tank” at Send questions to the online feedback form.  For further information contact Doug Marsano, Community Relations Lead, King County Wastewater Treatment Division by phone at 206-477-5549, or cell at 206-423-0480, or email at

Seattle Office of Sustainability Announces 2 Grant Opportunities, Seeks Panelists

Have a great idea to help catalyze climate action in your community? Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment wants to hear from you! The Office of Sustainability & Environment is interested in supporting innovative projects that engage residents in reducing climate change.

There area 2 opportunities for support in 2014

  • Community Climate Project 
    • Provides up to $10,000 for projects that address climate action choices in the following categories:
      • Home Energy Use
      • Getting Around
      • Food Choices
      • Buying Stuff
      • Waste
    • Application deadline is Tuesday, April 22, 2014
  • Small Climate Project 
    • Provides up to $500 to support one-time climate focused special events or education & outreach initiatives
    • Applications accepted year-round

For more information,  including project application forms, see the Community Climate Projects webpage.

The department also wants to hear from anyone who wants to participate in project review panel. They are seeking volunteers who wish to participate in the evaluation of  project proposals. The approximate time commitment will be 10 to 20 hours between April 23 and May 7.  Those interested in serving on the review panel can download an application here.

Community Orchard Now Open for Work Parties, Team Also Answers Food, Gardening, Permaculture Questions

COWSThe 2014 Season of Beauty and Community Begins at the Orchard! Join your neighbors and colleagues and fellow urban farmers every Thursday starting this week, March 13, at the Community Orchard of West Seattle, starting at 5:00 pm and lasting through 7:00 pm.

Please consider COWS when deciding your volunteer plans for this year. Join us for the start of the growing season at our huge urban garden and orchard!  It’s time to prune trees and berry bushes, and develop ideal individual soil preparations for each crop to be planted.

Questions on urban gardening, permaculture techniques, or your own problem plants are our specialty and are more than welcome! We hope to see you there!  The Community Orchard of West Seattle is located at the east end of the parking lot adjacent to the Horticulture Center, north end of the campus at South Seattle Community College.

What is Community Orchard of West Seattle?

Community Orchard of West Seattle (COWS) provides a home-scale model that demonstrates how much food can be grown on a city-sized lot. Our produce goes to our volunteers, neighbors and local food security programs while we provide a venue for public agricultural education and community gathering. Using permaculture and organic growing principles, COWS demonstrates several different kinds of non-standard orchard techniques and garden configurations – most of which are based on no-till, polyculture, low-maintenance sustainable food production strategies.

They meet every Thursday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm – possible now that Daylight Savings Time has finally arrived!!

Camp Long Announces Summer “NatureQuest” Day Camp Program

Camp Long LodgeSeattle’s only overnight camping park, Camp Long has announced their Summer NatureQuest Day Camp program with activities and locations designed for all participants to explore more environments all over West Seattle and beyond!

Making plans for the summer? Be sure to include Summer Nature Day Camp! Camp Long is sponsoring Nature Day Camps that will meet at a different park each week, so there is a real opportunity to explore. Camps will be held at Schmitz, Longfellow Creek, Me-Kwa-Mooks, Lincoln and Camp Long parks. Each week will also focus on a theme like Watershed Wonders, Urban Wildlife Jungle, Winged Wonders and Survivor Week.

  • Program Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00 p
  • Age: 6-12
  • Registration Opens: 3/7/14
  • Cost: $215/wk, Sibling Discount: $10
  • To Register: Call 206-684-7434

Schedule of Classes and Locations

  • Week 1 (6/30 to 7/3): Watershed Wonders (Camp Long) ($175; sibling discount $8 pro-rated 4 day week)

Wonder what’s a watershed? Come discover the Longfellow Creek Watershed and follow the creek through magical places like the Salmon Bone Bridge and the Dragonfly Pavilion. Learn how land and water shape each other, observe creek wildlife and build a watershed model. We’ll also hold a Science Council to make decisions about an imaginary watershed, while exploring the many ways humans affect our watersheds.

  • Week 2 (7/7 to 7/11): Journey through the Intertidal Zone (Mee Kwa Mooks)

Search for life between the tides and discover how plants and animals have adapted to such changing conditions. Set up a beach science station where you can examine animals in their unique habitat. Learn how sea stars move, how clams and barnacles eat, and much more about the critters you find above and below the rocks, sand and water.

  • Week 3 (7/14 to 7/18): Urban Wildlife Jungle (Camp Long)

It is a jungle out there and worth investigating! Seattle is one of the Top 10 Cities for Urban Forests. Become a scientist and explore this urban wilderness in the Camp Long woods. Unearth the forest’s secrets and learn how hawks, owls, coyotes, fox and a multitude of songbirds live here. In every layer you’ll find clues. Identify native plant species that have grown here for centuries and investigate the role forests have in human survival. Learn how you can be involved in forest protection!

  • Week 4 (7/21 to 7/25): Schmitz Park Wildlife Jungle (Schmitz Park)

What makes Schmitz forest special are some very old trees still standing. Wander through this native ecosystem and gather clues as to how everything is connected. Explore huge old tree stumps and see evidence of logging from years ago. Answer the same questions as above for the Camp Long forest but in the unique environment of Schmitz Park.

  • Week 5 (7/28 to 8/1): History Happenings (Schmitz Park)

The natural and human history of Seattle is rich and diverse. From glaciers to Native Americans to European settlers, this area has a lot to tell. How did Puget Sound form? Where and how did Northwest Coast Indians live? And what major changes have occurred through the centuries? Take a treasure hunt around West Seattle to find your answers to these questions and more.

  • Week 6 (8/4 to 8/8): Winged Wonders (Lincoln Park)

Birds live in every habitat – forest, desert, fresh and salt water, icy, tropical – you name it, they are everywhere. Get to know the avian life all around us and gain skill at observing and identifying the numerous birds of Seattle. Learn using sight and sound, as well as watching behavior, how these adaptive creatures have survived and ways that we can support them. Binoculars are provided.

  • Week 7 (8/11 to 8/15): Watershed Wonders (Longfellow Creek South)

Learn the ways of a watershed as described above, but explore a different section of Longfellow Creek. Journey through restored.

Camp Long is located at 5200 35th Ave. SW, Seattle, Phone 206-684-7434, FAX 206-684-7435, or email at  For a current list of rental fees, please see reservations/feesandcharges/contents.htm.


NPS Rivers, Trails & Conservation Program Seeks AmeriCorps Intern for All of 2014

NPS logoThe National Park Service‘s Seattle Office has an opening for an AmeriCorps intern position in their downtown office near Pioneer Square.  Here is a link to a position description for a Southwest Conservation Legacy-AmeriCorps position with the NPS in Seattle office that will begin immediately and extend through December 2014.
NPS has worked with three interns over the last three years, and are excited to have another opportunity to work with a young professional.
They are hoping to find a great local candidate – someone who knows the metro Seattle area and/or western Washington.  The position involves helping the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance staff build public participation and plan conservation and/or recreation projects in Washington and Idaho.
An important part of the National Park Service Fellow’s responsibilities will be helping engage young people in these local community assistance projects. The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree with a major in planning, landscape architecture, natural resource management, outdoor recreation, environmental studies, or a similar field. For more info on desirable qualifications, compensation, and the application process please see this link.
Individuals interested can check the job description or, for further information,contact Susan Rosebrough, National Park Service, Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) at 206-220-4121 (office), or 206851-1657 (cell) or by email at  For more information on the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program check

City Light Environment Report Available; Plans On Deploying Smart Meters

Seattle City Light Neon SignThe Seattle City Light 2013 Environment Report now available.

As a municipal untility, we should be proud of City Light for many reasons, City Light says, including their protection of fish and wildlife habitats, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, resource conservation, and collaboration with stakeholders on environmental issues related to City Light’s electricity generation and distribution.

The 2013 Environment Report, their second report of this kind, is full of examples of the utility’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Visit Seattle City Light’s environment pages to read the report and learn more about City Light’s efforts and accomplishments.

City Light Says “Get Ready for Advanced Meters!”

Starting in 2016, City Light will be rolling out an exciting new technology – Advanced Metering!

This new generation of metering is the foundation of the “Smart Grid,” and will deliver more reliability and provide for more accuracy in billing. City Light is also hoping it will help their customers save money on their City Light bill by providing them more information on their energy use.

City Light conducted a series of public meetings about this initiative last summer, and have been collecting comments on their Advanced Metering website since mid-2013. One of the most common questions City Light receives is about the role of the meter readers. The good news is that we don’t anticipate any layoffs – many current employees are eligible for retirement in the next five years, so it is City Light’s plan to retrain the meter readers for jobs in other parts of the utility.

City Light has also been asked about the option of “opting out” of having an advanced meter installed. While there will be an opt-out policy, City Light says they are confident that most customers will see the advantages to advanced metering.

For more on the Advanced Metering Initiative check out Advanced Metering website.

Seattle Parks’ Volunteer Naturalist Program Seeks Volunteers For Summer Teaching

Parks DocentsSeattle Parks and Recreation Lists Seattle Volunteer Naturalist Program 2014 – Share your love and knowledge of urban nature with park visitors!

Deadline for applications is Feb 12!!

Do you love sharing nature with others? Are you interested in learning more about the flora and fauna of Seattle’s many public green spaces and parks? If so, you are the perfect candidate for the Seattle Volunteer Naturalist program. Volunteer Naturalists participate in 10 weeks of training and commit to providing 12 programs a year at Environmental Learning Centers and in parklands near schools throughout Seattle.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Volunteer Naturalists provide hands-on learning opportunities for school groups and nature programs for families and adults at Discovery Stations, destination locations throughout parks that present visitors with a theme and natural objects that help them discover their backyard parks. For example, volunteers would have a spotting scope at Bald Eagle nest locations and at Green Lake Park so visitors could follow the nesting cycle of Bald Eagles or Pied Billed Grebes. Another is a station at Me Kwa Mooks Beach or Discovery Park Beach with shells and information about intertidal creatures. One could be a Forest Station to introduce people to the many plants, mammals and birds that make the forested parklands home.

Volunteers’ backgrounds are as varied as the students they teach – the common thread is their desire to share nature with the greater Seattle community.

The goal of the Seattle Volunteer Naturalist Program is to enhance, promote and foster appreciation of nature by connecting citizens and students with their Seattle parklands, by providing educational opportunities for all.

Training begins in March 22, 2014.

Deadline for applications is February 12, 2014.  For more information and to get an application, please email Penny Rose at or call  at 206-386-4250.

Work at Lowman Beach Park Continues with Tree Removal and Grading

Murray Site PlanDuring the week of January 27, 2014, King County contractor crews will continue survey work around the project area and begin clearing the project site east of Lowman Beach Park to prepare for site stabilization activities in February.

Some of the survey work will occur in streets and sidewalks near the project sites. Traffic control personnel will be present to assist passage through the work areas and avoid congestion.

Crews will remove some trees, brush, underground tanks and building foundations from the eastern work area over the course of the week.

Crews will also install an entrance to the project site in Lowman Beach Park, spreading rock and grading within the fenced area.

This work supports the County’s project to build a one million gallon underground storage tank that will help keep sewage and polluted stormwater out of Puget Sound during storms.

What to expect

  • Work hours will be weekdays from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Beach Drive and Lowman Beach Park remain open
  • Increased activity and noise from both project areas
  • Crews operating heavy equipment including excavators and dump trucks
  • Traffic control personnel directing traffic during survey work in nearby streets

Please avoid accessing the project sites at all times. Pedestrians are encouraged to use Beach Drive’s western sidewalk to pass by the project sites.


Seattle Parks Hosting Community Meetings On Possible Ballot Measure

ParksNoticeDatesSeattle Parks’ citizens committee will be hosting meetings with the community about a potential park funding ballot measure.

Seattle Parks and Recreation will host three community meetings in January to get feedback on the work done by the Parks Legacy Citizens’ Advisory Committee in preparation for a potential 2014 park and recreation funding ballot measure.

Seattle Parks and Recreation began working on the Park Legacy Plan, which forms the basis of a ballot funding measure, more than a year ago. The process began with a series of community and park-user surveys, and culminated with six public meetings throughout the city to gather input. The process has focused on bringing a chorus of voices into the conversation about how Seattle Parks and Recreation can meet the growing needs of a vibrant city. After Seattle Parks published the second draft of the Parks Legacy Plan in June 2013, the Mayor and City Council convened a volunteer Parks Legacy Citizens’ Advisory Committee to advise them on what a park funding ballot measure should pay for and what type of funding mechanism it should be – a levy or a metropolitan parks district.

In December, 2013, the committee released its preliminary report and a first draft of a prioritized list of programs and services it believes should be funded. At each of its meetings, the committee took public input, and it held a public hearing in November.

At the community meetings in January this year, the public will learn more about the committee’s recommendations, become educated on the possible funding options, and meet and talk with committee members.

The meetings will be held:

  • Thursday, January 23, International District/Chinatown Community Center, 719 8th Ave. S, at 6:00 pm.
  • Saturday, January 25, High Point Community Center, 6920 34th Ave. SW, 1:00 pm. (free childcare will be provided)
  • Thursday, January 30, Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N, at 7:00 pm.

The meetings will feature a brief presentation that describes how the committee has prioritized a list of potential investment initiatives. That will be followed by professionally facilitated workshops that seek community input in three specific areas.

  1. Priorities: Did the Committee find the right balance among: 1) taking care of the park and recreation assets that the City already owns; 2) funding programs, classes and services for the community; and 3) preparing for the future by developing “land banked” park properties into new parks and acquiring new park land?
  2. Size: Attendees will learn how different levels of funding affect homeowner taxes, and then give feedback on which size of funding package seems appropriate.
  3. Funding mechanism: Facilitators will explain the differences between short-term, long- term, and permanent levies, and how those compare to the formation of a metropolitan parks district (MPD). Attendees will then be asked to give feedback on which mechanism is most suitable for Seattle, and will be offered the chance to express thoughts or concerns about each option.

After the January community meetings, the committee will reconvene in February to review, and perhaps revise, its preliminary recommendations based on the public input; and they will discuss and make a recommendation on the size and type of the funding measure. The committee will send its final recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on March 12.

Committee members are: Barbara Wright, Co-Chair; Charlie Zaragoza, Co-Chair; Thatcher Bailey; Steve Daschle; Juli Farris; Bill Farmer; Thomas Goldstein; Jessie Israel; Diana Kincaid; Michael Maddux; Brice Maryman; Yalonda Gill Masundire; Mustapha Math; Erika Melroy; and David Namura.

To learn more, read the Legacy Committee’s Interim Report. It’s available at, or in hard copy at community centers and pools. The Interim Report details the committee’s process, rationale, and interim recommendations.

Detailed information about each proposed investment and possible funding mechanisms is also available on the Parks Legacy Citizens’ Advisory Committee website, and will be available at the meetings.

Those who want to give input, but are not able to come to the meetings can give written comments, which bear equal weight to verbal comments. Please email comments to

For interpretation services or special accommodations at the meeting, please email or call Susanne Rockwell (206-733-9702). For more information contact Joelle Hammerstad at