Snoqualmie Stewardship: The Snoqualmie Valley Stewardship Handbook

The Snoqualmie Valley Stewardship Handbook is a resource for people that live and visit the Snoqualmie Valley. It provides solutions to local issues and the actions people can take to improve the Snoqualmie River Watershed. It is based on a collaborative effort and an understanding the we all can keep the Valley pristine. We appreciate the opportunity to share this tool with you and hope you find it helpful, as a steward to the land and water that sustains us.  

From its headwaters in the Cascade Mountains to the confluence of the Snohomish River and on into the Salish Sea the Snoqualmie River is the majestic provider of habitat and sustenance, as it breathes life into all it encounters. For time immemorial the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (sdukʷalbixʷ) has lived and cared for this river and its surrounding lands. We acknowledge this throughout this handbook and with all of our actions associated with the land and water of this area.   .  

Today, the ever-growing population, industry, extraction, production wear on this once pristine river and the territory it flows through. Our first step in rectifying this is to recognize the impacts and threats to healthy ecosystems, salmon, orca, and people. The salmon need a clean and healthy river to survive. Orca need healthy salmon to survive, and we need both healthy salmon and orca to survive. It’s going to take hard work, but we at Stewardship Partners are up for the challenge, and we hope you are too, and that this Handbook provides you the knowledge and tools to take action. 

Just like the river making its way to the sea, we are on a journey to heal the river and its riparian habitat in a way that’s conducive to all. All efforts to recover the Snoqualmie will require collaboration, patience and hard work but by working together, we can achieve a much more sustainable environment for this current generation as well as for generations to come. Let’s do this. For the River. For the Orca. For the salmon. For the people.  

The Snoqualmie Valley Stewardship Handbook was made possible by Bullitt Foundation, King County, Patagonia, and a host of volunteers.   

Award-winning Gamble Sands is a remarkable golf course resort with particular attention to land and water stewardship

In the heart of North Central Washington lies the award-winning Gamble Sands golf resort. This spectacular golf getaway offers a links style experience while maintaining particular attention to land and water stewardship. A sophisticated blend of great golf and environmentally conscious design is what  I found most remarkable.

A beautifully designed golf course weaved into the natural wild surroundings, Gamble Sands has established itself as the premier golf resort and destination in Washington State. The Gebbers family owns the resort and are well-known farmers and apple orchardists in the area, with operations based in Brewster.  The property has two golf courses, lodging, pro shop, and a charming rustic clubhouse, Danny Boy Bar and Grill.

Gamble Sands was designed by award-winning golf course architect David McKlay Kidd who is a  Salmon-Safe Golf Course certification assessment team member. His thoughtful golf course design and environmental innovation stand out at Gamble Sands, making this course an excellent candidate for Salmon-Safe certification.  The golf course was built on a strip of sand amongst the rock outcroppings and required minimal earth movement while preserving much of the shrub-steppe habitat. The site abounds with arrowleaf balsamroot, sagebrush, Mule deer, Osprey, and hundreds of wildlife species that use this critical habitat.

I was lucky enough to spend a morning touring with Josh Truan, Golf Course Superintendent, and his nine-month-old dog Penny. We played the new 14-hole par 3 Quick Sands course together while learning about his low-input management techniques. It became apparent that Truan has a deep connection to the course, his staff, and the environment. He explained the turfs treatment, which is only fertilized twice a year with no glyphosate to ensure its health and longevity.

The two golf courses were seeded using fine fescue grass, which provides perfect fairways and greens that are smooth, consistent, and fast.  Fescue grass is environmentally friendly, grows slower, and in turn requires less mowing and water use.  There are only four other courses in the country with all fescue grass, furthering the unique experience of playing Gamble Sands.

The course staff make their bunker and maintenance sand on-site using a screener, eliminating the need to import sand, further reducing their carbon footprint.  The course is watered using a state-of-the-art computer system and moisture sensors that inform Truan and the management team if certain areas need watering adjustments.  The course uses less than six-tenths of an inch of water every three days during summer months.

The comfortably chic lodging is also thoughtfully hidden below a bluff with an 18-hole putting course outside the backdoor of your spacious room.  The putting course backdrop boasts a breathtaking view of snowcapped Cascade mountains with the mighty Columbia River meandering through a vast gorge below.

Gamble Sands is a clever golf course that cares for the land and offers golfers and non-golfers a special place to relax and enjoy life.  Wine tastings, nature walks, poolside relaxation, and birdwatching are amongst the options for those who prefer not to golf. The staff at the resort are friendly and attentive to all your needs.  This golf resort should serve as an inspiration for future courses in the country.  It is truly a first-class experience that is loads of fun and creates lasting memories for anyone lucky enough to have come here.

Written by David Burger, Executive Director at Stewardship Partners

Rain Gardens and Cisterns Make for Good Neighbors

Stone Gossard is featured along with the Orca in a new campaign about grants to property owners. 

A few months ago, Stewardship Partners was awarded a grant to spread the news about incentives  for rain gardens and cisterns in King County. The challenge? To reach those unsure about rain gardens and cisterns or who would like to help the environment but also have other pressing concerns about their property such as water damage, high water bills, or landscaping. The 12,000 Rain Gardens campaign started in 2011, so Stewardship Partners figured that most people who were already primed and ready for a rain garden or a cistern had likely installed one. But what about that next layer of folks? Those for whom it can seem like a financial stretch – but are amenable to taking steps that help their property as well as Puget Sound, provided they can afford it. 

After working with Board members Cal McAllister and Samantha Neukom to identify the opportunity, Stewardship Partners gathered the talents of Merlino Media Group and Northbound to create a media plan and creative campaign to reach property owners in the King County area. Our goal? To let them know that there are grants available that can cover  $4,000 toward installing a rain garden or cistern and that by doing so, they can create a win-win. The first win is improving property: rain gardens can improve drainage, dry out basements and decrease mold, and cisterns can significantly lower summer water bills. Rain gardens can also be a beautiful way to add landscaping to your yard. The second win is that by installing a rain garden or cistern, you’re also helping your human, orca, salmon, and other wildlife neighbors that cohabitate with us here in Puget Sound. 

The creative idea came from a mix of Pacific Northwest quirky attitude with lovable, custom animations of our fauna neighbors, featuring the Orca, the Octopus, and the Salmon. In posters, print ads, and bus side ads, you see our animal neighbors installing their own rain gardens and encouraging us, their human neighbors, to do the same. Radio ads feature Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, a rain garden and cistern owner himself, chatting with his orca, salmon, and octopus neighbors. In one radio ad he notes, “if you want to keep your basement dry and the Sound clean, cisterns and rain gardens are a beautiful way to help.”

Stone Gossard, The Neighbor

Monisa Brown, The Orca

The campaign’s goal is to reach King County residents who may be eligible for one of several grants that could cover up to 100% of the cost of installing a cistern or rain garden and to let them know the multiple benefits of doing so. With a simple click or two at www.rainchangers.org, property owners can check their eligibility and set up a visit from a local certified contractor.   

Check out RainChangers in the news at https://www.seattletimes.com/life/garden/installing-a-rain-garden-you-could-be-eligible-for-a-rebate/

View the press release at https://www.stewardshippartners.org/new-program-offers-free-rain-gardens-and-cisterns/

Summit 2021 Highlights and Call for Action

Looking back on six years of Green Infrastructure Summits, some things have changed and others have stayed the same. That first year, I had this phrase I couldn’t stop saying about how this region was poised to become the “silicon valley of green infrastructure.” I felt that we had the necessary components for an “innovation ecosystem” that could lead the world in nature-based solutions to complex, “wicked problems” like stormwater, climate change, and environmental justice if we could “connect the dots” across sectors (.com, .gov, .org, .edu)  and “bust silos.” With all those catchphrases, I’m lucky no one kicked me out of the PNW to go live in the real silicon valley! Creating a host committee that shared many of those ideas and brought so many more of their own took that initial vision and made it into something that the whole green infrastructure sector can feel proud of.  

The summit host committee is the heart of the event, and this year proved that yet again. From identifying a unifying theme to selecting speakers and sessions, right down to redefining and helping de-colonize the event name, this year’s summit host committee put on a fantastic event against the odds, in the face of multiple pandemics (e.g. COVID and Global-scale Zoom Fatigue) a societal reckoning around race and equity, a climate crisis, and a more divided society than we’ve seen in decades. Yet we all gathered. We all shared openly, even vulnerably. And we participated in difficult conversations that opened doors, and learned about collaborations that poked holes in silos and brought down barriers. We heard about agencies “failing forward” (did .govs learn that from our .com colleagues?), community needs that were put first and ultimately supported by stormwater funding. It is humbling and inspiring at the same time to see where we started and the significant progress we’ve achieved as a community and as a green infrastructure movement. There’s a long way to go before we reach our shared goals of human and natural systems in balance, the end of any one dominant culture, and an infrastructure system that grows better with age rather than deteriorating. But looking back at where we started and forward into the unknown, it’s possible to imagine all those things. And if we can imagine them, we can create them.   

If you missed this year’s summit, or if you joined us but want to revisit anything that was shared, please visit the summit webpage at: www.12000raingardens.org/summit2021. All the presentations are available to watch, and additional resources from the event can be downloaded at that webpage.  

Written by Aaron Clark, Director of Strategic Partnerships

New Program Offers Free Rain Gardens and Cisterns

Pearl Jam Guitarist Stone Gossard and Local Residents Promote Win-Win Solution to Protect Puget Sound, Reduce Flooding, and Improve Health

SEATTLE – With Spring upon us, a new ad campaign on radios and buses around King County calls on people to become “Rain Changers” by creating rain gardens at their homes and businesses. The best part? The City of Seattle and King County will pick up the bill for eligible properties.

“Rain gardens and cisterns can prevent flooding on your property, keep your basement dry, and protect Puget Sound from pollution,” said Aaron Clark, director of strategic partnerships at Stewardship Partners, which is running the Rain Changers campaign. “With public dollars available, this is a no brainer.”

Every time it rains, stormwater carries pollution from our roofs, driveways and sidewalks into local creeks, and ultimately into Puget Sound. Recent research, for example, found tire dust washed into local streams and the Sound killed 40 to 90 percent of returning coho salmon before they spawn.

One residential rain garden can divert 70-100 percent of the rainwater from a property. If 12,000 homeowners build rain gardens, 160 million gallons of polluted stormwater would be treated, helping to protect the Sound. Rain gardens also keep water out of basements, keeping them dry and preventing unhealthy mold.

Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, who is currently planning his second rain garden, is lending star power to the campaign. In one radio ad he notes, “if you want to keep your basement dry and the Sound clean, cisterns and rain gardens are a beautiful way to help.”

The campaign introduces the Orca, the Salmon, and the Octopus, local residents of Puget Sound who support the use of cisterns and rain gardens to protect their homes. One such project is at Duwamish Co-Housing, where new cisterns are helping to prevent flooding and keep polluted stormwater out of the Duwamish River.

“We were so fortunate to receive three 265-gallon cisterns through a grant from King County,” said Ruth Anne, a neighborhood champion who lives at Duwamish Co-Housing. “So many people could benefit from these cisterns and rain gardens – and help Puget Sound – if only they knew the money was there to pay for them.”

Funding for rain gardens comes from two sources, depending on the property location. RainWise, operated by Seattle Public Utilities and King County Wastewater Treatment Division, offers rebates for projects in eligible drainage basins; the average rebate is $4,200. For properties that are not eligible for RainWise rebates, there are Green Stormwater Infrastructure Mini Grants through Stewardship Partners of up to $1,500 or $4,500 for income-limited people and nonprofits.

Rain gardens make financial sense, as they keep stormwater out of the sewers and reduce infrastructure costs. For example, Seattle Public Utilities estimated that natural drainage systems – like rain gardens – would cost $410,000 per block, compared to $720,000 for traditional infrastructure – a savings of more than 40 percent. To check your eligibility and learn more about the Rain Changers program, visit www.rainchangers.org.

About Stewardship Partners

Stewardship Partners is a nonprofit organization that creates people-based solutions to engage Puget Sound communities as caretakers of land and water. Stewardship Partners was founded over 20 years ago, as Puget Sound was in a steep ecological decline. The organization focuses on the role of private landowners—people with a deep connection to the land and a strong motivation to act as responsible stewards of the ecosystem. Starting with a single farmer in the Snoqualmie River Valley, the organization has grown into a national model for developing effective, people-based solutions and engaging communities as caretakers of the land and water. Its programs include Snoqualmie Stewardship (including Adopt-a-Buffer), Salmon-Safe, and Green Infrastructure (including City Habitats, 12,000 Rain Gardens, Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea and Sound Impacts). More at https://www.stewardshippartners.org/.

Support Clean Water & Healthy Habitat for Generations to Come!

Today is not just any regular Tuesday, today is GiveBIG! 
GiveBIG will be a two-day online giving event from May 4-5th. 
Our goal is to raise $5,000 for our programs!

 Gifts of ANY size have an impact on our work!

Donate $25  = buy ten trees for a volunteer to plant at one of our restoration sites
Donate $100 = provide scholarship funds for a local family farm for Salmon-Safe certification
Donate $250 =  fund the planting of a rain garden at a local school or park

Today, you can take a stand for a healthy Puget Sound environment. Together we can achieve clean water, sustainable agriculture, thriving salmon and orca populations, and healthy communities, throughout our region.

Save the Date: Feast at Home Delivery

While we would love to meet in person at the farm, we believe it’s safer to have Feast on the Farm delivered to you again this year. Join us on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021, for Feast at-home delivery. A lovely curated meal brought to your doorstep from local chefs that will use sustainably grown farm-fresh produce. We will also include other local artesian goodies, music, and stories from the field. Sponsorships are available, please contact David at db@stewardshippartners.org if you’d like to get involved. 

Save the Date: GiveBig

GiveBig returns again this year with a two day giving event on May 4th-5th, 2021. We hope you will mark your calendars with a reminder to support Stewardship Partners and other causes dear to your heart during GiveBig.

Your support is critical to ensuring a healthy Puget Sound environment both now and for years to come. Together we can achieve clean water, sustainable agriculture, thriving salmon and orca populations, and healthy communities, throughout our region.

Tis the Season…for Planting

With planting season just around the corner, we are usually gearing up to mobilize hundreds of volunteers to plant thousands of different native trees and shrubs throughout the Snoqualmie Valley. This year is a little different as we are still dealing with the effects of a global pandemic. Since we still can’t gather in large groups, we would like to offer some ideas on what native trees and shrubs you can plant on your property. Here are a few recommendations from our Snoqualmie Stewardship staff regarding some of our favorite PNW plants we use in our restoration projects that you can use at home! Happy planting!

Crew Member Ashley’s recommendation: Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata):

Thuja Plicata is actually from the Cypress Family of the genus Arborvitae, which translates to “tree of life.”

We love to plant western red cedars because they are a signature PNW tree and are highly versatile. They can be planted in groves or singly, as well as in wetland and upland areas. The wood is resistant to decay, which made it the most valued tree to the Native Peoples. The wood was used for building structures, totem poles, canoes, tools, the branches for ropes, and bark for weaving. The trees are easily identifiable by their reddish-grey fibrous bark, oriented in vertical strips, with flat, scale like leaves resembling plaited braids.

Advantages for the garden:
The leaves are evergreen, giving your garden color all year, without dropping needles or leaves. The cones come in small fragrant clusters resembling rosettes. The bark and leaves have a famous cedar scent as well. They provide seeds and habitat for birds, small mammals enjoy the cavities of the bark, elk and deer enjoy browsing the trunk and branches. Just make sure you have plenty of room if you plant a Western red Cedar as they grow quite large.

Western Red Cedar

Director of Ecological Restoration Chris’ recommendation: Red Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum
 
I love this native plant and its brilliant red/pink flowers. I’m not the only one who loves them. Pollinators are highly attracted to them, and hummingbirds fancy them as well. They’re used in a lot of our riparian restoration sites along the Snoqualmie River and its tributaries. These are perfect areas for them as they thrive in disturbed sites, open spaces, and rocky slopes. I plan on planting some around my garden at home! Many Coastal Salish groups have traditionally used these plants as their berries are edible, but they lack flavor. What they lack in taste they make up in garden aesthetics when in bloom!

Written by the Snoqualmie Stewardship Staff

Red Flowering Currant

We’re Hiring!

We are hiring for the crewmember position!

Snoqualmie Stewardship Habitat Restoration Crew Member

Position Description: This temporary part-full time position (average 40 hrs. /wk.) with Stewardship Partners; a Seattle based non-profit conservation organization. Work is focused in the Snoqualmie Valley, along the Snoqualmie River and its tributaries with agricultural landowners. Interns assist in implementing habitat restoration project Best Management Practices (BMPs) which may include riparian planting, wetland enhancement, erosion control, livestock fencing, volunteer event management and partner/landowner relations. Crew Members also help with our annual Feast on the Farm fundraiser.

Position is open until filled.

Interested parties can learn more here or contact Chris LaPointe at cl@stewardshippartners.org.