WRIA 9 March 2022 Newsletter

Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed Salmon Recovery News, WRIA 9

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Camp Kilworth Acquisition

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After 3 years of planning, negotiation, and fundraising, Forterra NW closed on the acquisition of Camp Kilworth in Federal Way. The Camp Kilworth property is a critical high bank forested feeder bluff with historic and cultural importance to the local community and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. In addition to the critical nearshore habitat value for salmon and forage fish, the site also offers the opportunity for the local community and underserved South King County populations to access, recreate, and learn on a site that holds immense environmental, cultural, and aesthetic values. The tentative plan for this property is to begin geotechnical work and bluff restoration, formulate an invasive species removal plan, and partner with the Greater Seattle YMCA to run a youth camp focused on environmental education.

Economic Outcomes of Urban Floodplain Restoration

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American River’s is pleased to announce that we will be releasing an upcoming report on the economic outcomes of urban floodplain restoration in Puget Sound in May 2022. Our latest work aims to fill this gap in knowledge by conducting three original case studies that are representative of the outcomes that future floodplain restoration projects can offer to communities when they are designed for multiple benefits and part of an integrated floodplain restoration planning process. The study found that key drivers of community revenue include avoided flood costs, economic contributions in the form of jobs and economic activity, fiscal revenues for local taxing jurisdictions and other sources of community value like recreation. The largest economic benefits documented occur when communities take a corridor-wide planning approach and design projects to create co-amenities and support local businesses while achieving restoration outcomes.

Lowman Beach Seawall Removal and Restoration

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Seattle Recreation continues to move forward with restoration of the Loman Beach Park. The failing seawall (left) and tennis court at the West Seattle park have been removed and the underlying beach has been beach restored (right). A short section of return wall was built to connect to the neighbor to the north’s seawall to protect their existing seawall. The new Pelly Creek channel has been constructed to allow daylighting of the creek. Planting and pathway work will be completed in the next month or so. 


New Duwamish River Signage on the First Avenue bridge

Last month, “Duwamish River” highway signs went up on the 1st Avenue Bridge in Seattle. This is part of a larger outreach effort to broaden awareness of the Duwamish as a “river” as opposed to a commercial “waterway.” This effort is part of rectifying a major issue in river engagement - most of the bridges over the Green-Duwamish River carry no mention of the river below, long a point of contention with the local community. As part of Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) mission to connect people to the watershed, basic signage has been a missing first step in awareness and engagement. County and local crossing river labels will be the next focus - please contact Weston Brinkley, if you would like to support the effort in your local jurisdiction.


Howard A. Hanson Dam (HAHD) Downstream Fish Passage

Covington Water District coordinated a regional letter of support (March 1, 2022) to the Washington State Congressional Delegation for including the reauthorization of the HAHD Fish Passage Facility within the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2022 submittal. Covington Water District staff continue to brief state and federal legislators about the critical importance of this project to strengthen political support for the project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently working on finalizing a Director’s Report to support the reauthorization request. Covington Water District produced this short video about the project.

"Trees are Cool" impact projects from Sustainability Ambassadors

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Sustainability Ambassadors announced five new impact project templates on the theme of “Trees Are Cool.” These templates are designed to help students build project management skills around project design, impact data tracking, and impact storytelling. The collection will feature the best of these student projects, and can be found on the community impact mapping website, My Watershed Address. Sustainability Ambassadors' work reinforces career-connected learning to teach students how watershed resource project managers, city staff, and environmental engineers design effective projects to meet critical goals such as tree canopy and its relationship to salmon recovery. Join the mailing list to stay up to speed on new resource development, or contact Peter Donaldson, Director of Learning, with additional insights and connections.

Salmon Heroes program at work at Madrona Elementary

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Environmental Science Center (ESC) has been working closely with students and teachers at Madrona Elementary in SeaTac through their Salmon Heroes program. Salmon Heroes is a four-part education and stewardship program designed to teach students about salmon and watershed health. Some teachers can also opt-in to a multi-part workshop series designed to build off the Salmon Heroes program and learn how to lead their students from Salmon Heroes to Schoolyard Heroes. Last year, two teachers and their students embarked to remove ivy around trees and planted 30 native plants, with additional plantings and mulching installed last month.


Salmon Highlights from the 2022 Legislative Session

The 2022 legislative session provided a record investment in salmon recovery for a supplemental budget year. Key investments include $75 million to the State Recreation and Conservation Office for salmon projects, $25 million dollars for the Duckabush Estuary restoration in Hood Canal, and $10 million to the Conservation Commission to support riparian restoration grants. The Transportation Package – Move Ahead Washington – also included $2.4 billion for fish passage barrier removal and $500 million over 16 years to support stormwater retrofits needed to address existing pollution sources that are impacting our impacting salmon. Although several high-profile salmon policy bills did not pass, important conversations among key stakeholders should provide a foundation for moving forward on these issues during the next biennium. The March 14, 2022 Puget Sound Legislative Update provides a detailed summary of legislation and budget items related to Puget Sound recovery.

New art springs up along Duwamish River

The Art Walk at Riverton Creek consists of five art installations created by Sarah Kavage – Tukwila’s artist in residence – located along a short stretch of the Green River Trail between Tukwila International Boulevard and East Marginal Way South. The installations are part of the Riverton Creek restoration project in the City of Tukwila. A recent Crosscut article highlights the new art installations and provides additional information on visiting the site. 

Draft 2022-2026 Action Agenda Available for Public Review

The Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) released the draft 2022-2026 Action Agenda and will be accepting public comment through April 15. To review the draft Action Agenda and submit feedback online, please visit the Action Agenda website. The Action Agenda is the community’s shared plan for achieving Puget Sound recovery over the next four years. It calls for bold leadership to direct and support recovery that leverages the expertise, experience, and collaboration of the recovery community. After the public comment period, a revised draft will be presented to the PSP Leadership Council for final adoption in June. 


17th Annual Duwamish Alive! April 16th Celebrating the Green/Duwamish Watershed

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Duwamish Alive! is a collaborative stewardship effort of conservation and community groups, businesses, and government entities. Twice a year these events organize hundreds of volunteers to work at multiple sites in the river’s watershed, connecting the efforts of communities from Auburn to Seattle. Volunteers’ efforts include a river cleanup by kayak, salmon habitat and upland restoration, forest revitalization while learning about the watershed and how they can make a positive impact in their daily lives on it.  All communities are welcome to join in this collaborative effort which highlights the complex and rich nature of our watershed and the community stewardship of it.  For more information contact Sharon Leishman, or visit the Duwamish Alive Coalition website.

16th Annual June Orca Action Month 

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Orca Action Month is an effort of the Orca Salmon Alliance to raise awareness of our endangered Southern Resident orcas and how communities throughout the Green-Duwamish Watershed can join the month of educational, celebratory and stewardship events across the Salish Sea to raise awareness of the threats facing our Southern Resident orca population and how members are directly connected.  For information on how your community can become involved contact:  Shari Tarantino, Executive Director, Orca Conservancy.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Announces National Coastal Resilience Fund

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation business logo, words

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) released the 2022 Request for Proposals (RFP) for the National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF) which provides funding to restore, increase and strengthen natural infrastructure such as coastal wetlands, reefs and barrier islands. NCRF pre-proposals are due April 21, 2022. Link to the full RFP or, email Rob Blumenthal, (202) 857-0166 with any questions you may have.

For more information visit our website at www.govlink.org/watersheds/9/.

If you would like to submit an item for inclusion in the next WRIA 9 e-newsletter, please email carnelson@kingcounty.gov.

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Chinook salmon (also known as king salmon) are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In WRIA 9, citizens, scientists, businesses, environmental and community organizations, and local, state and federal governments are cooperating on protection and restoration projects and have developed a science-based plan to conserve salmon today and for future generations. For more information visit our website at www.govlink.org/watersheds/9/.

If you would like to submit an item for inclusion in the next WRIA 9 e-newsletter, please email carnelson@kingcounty.gov.