Notes from the Field: 2020

If anything, 2020 has provided us with the opportunity to hone our skills in adaptive management on many levels including that of our Snoqualmie Stewardship restoration crew. In mid-March the crew was put on furlough due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Right smack dab in the middle of planting season our riparian habitat restoration efforts were put on hold as well. Multiple volunteer events and planting days were cancelled or postponed, and our restoration efforts were hanging in limbo as were our crew members. The furlough allowed them a chance to reflect on life, consider different career trajectories, get involved with social issues, and really think about what the future holds. 

Kirby Johnson

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Kirby Johnson for his dedication and unwavering work ethic while he served on the crew for several years and in the office. We will miss workhorse mentality, but we are happy for what the future holds for him.

Geoff Bough

Geoff Bough, former Habitat Restoration Project Manager, recently made a career change after spending more than 8 years on the Snoqualmie Stewardship Restoration Crew. We will miss Geoff’s dedication and his knowledge and familiarity of the Snoqualmie Valley as a Carnation resident.

Erin Martin

Congratulations to Erin Martin on her new appointment of “Interim Crew Lead.” Erin is already excelling in her new role as the crew got back to the field work in September. We are looking forward to watching her continue to take the lead on riparian restoration and green infrastructure implementation in the Snoqualmie Valley.  

Ashley Aversa

We would like to welcome Ashley Aversa aboard on the restoration crew. Ashley comes to us via New Jersey with a great background in environmental restoration, watershed health monitoring, education and green infrastructure. No stranger to the field, she is fitting in well as she learns the ropes and restoration sites in the Valley.

Although this has been a year of change, adaptation and flexibility, the Snoqualmie Stewardship crew managed to install approximately 5,000 native trees and shrubs. That’s an amazing feat given the circumstances. This resilience is a testament to our hard work as a solutions-oriented organization with programs that allow the flexibility and wherewithal to endure even a global pandemic.   

Good Stewardship at your Home Office

These days many companies have office environmental policies around recycling, disposable water bottles, indoor air quality, and commuter policies. Now that many of us are working from home, how can we keep our eco-wits about us and stay committed to reducing our environmental footprint, even while keeping our families healthy and safe?

Of course, the lack of commute is a major positive impact on carbon emissions, as millions of Americans are now telecommuting. With changing attitudes, technology adoption, and shifting company policies, this is likely to be a lasting legacy from the pandemic. Fewer daily commuters result in fewer emissions, less traffic congestion, and potentially more mixed-use transportation opportunities (bicycles, public transit, etc.).

As we adjust to telework during the age of Covid, it is important to consider best practices for cleaning and disinfecting. While many of us reach for the most potent chemicals we could find to wipe down surfaces, phones, and common touchpoints around the home; there are ways to manage proper cleaning and disinfection without compromising our health. Many of these products could be extremely hazardous, causing asthma and other respiratory weakness, or are known to be carcinogenic. Fortunately, you don’t have to poison your family with chemicals to keep them safe from the Coronavirus.

For routine cleaning (including handwashing), it is recommended to look for products that contain a credible third-party eco-label such as GreenSeal, EPA Safer Choice, or Eco Logo. Disinfectants, however, are actually regulated as a pesticide by the EPA and therefore are not permitted to use these ecolabels. However, the list of “EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus (List N)” contains many ‘least toxic’ choices.

Avoid bleach and ammonia-based products, they are unnecessary and extremely toxic to human health and the environment. Instead, look for Hydrogen Peroxide-based, Ethyl Alcohol-based, or Thymol-based disinfectants or those that contain the active ingredients Citric acid, L-lactic acid, or Caprylic acid (octanoic acid). For further advice, see the Disinfectant guides put by our friends at GreenSeal as well as the Environmental Working Group. Of course, always follow the cleaning recommendations available from the Center for Disease Control.

As we set up our home office, we can also start thinking about energy conservation—time to replace those old light bulbs with LEDs, reducing energy consumption by 70%. Make sure your computer is set to sleep mode after 15 minutes, unplug appliances when not in use, keep your HVAC system maintained and operating efficiently, and ensure your windows and doors are well sealed. One of the biggest impacts you could have regarding energy consumption is to make sure you are purchasing the Solar Choice or Green Power options from  Puget Sound Energy (for just pennies more per KwH).

Regarding minimizing waste, carefully consider what you could do to reduce, reuse, or recycle. Purchase used or repurposed equipment and furniture, minimize or even eliminate your use of single-use plastic, ensure your compostable food scraps make it to your Green Bin, and buy products from local vendors over the convenience of an online click. And a personal pet peeve of mine, please replace your Keurig or other single-use coffee pod machine with a less disposable option as these pods are becoming a surprisingly large component of the waste stream.

Finally, as the rainy season arrives in Western Washington, it is time to think about polluted runoff from our driveways, roofs, and pavement flowing into the storm drains or directly to streams and the Puget Sound. Now would be a perfect time to find out where your downspouts direct runoff and consider installing a rain garden or cistern to help rainwater infiltrate into the ground instead of polluting local waterways. Of course, Stewardship Partners’ 12,000 Rain Gardens Program is a resource to help you do this.

This “great pause” provides us a tremendous opportunity to think about our values, our actions, our community, and the kind of world we want to create. Together let’s be partners in stewarding a better future.

Written by Lawrence Nussbaum, former Program Director and early leader of Stewardship Partners who pioneered the Salmon-Safe program in Washington State. He currently works as a Senior Sustainability Consultant for the California-based consulting firm, Environmental Innovations, providing Green Business services to government and corporate clients. More information about Lawrence could be found at www.sustainable-source.com.

King County Employees Can Now Be Stewardship Partners!

We are thrilled to announce that Stewardship Partners has been accepted into the King County Employee Giving Program’s 2020 cycle, including the Annual Giving Drive (October 5 to November 20) and volunteer opportunities! Our unique four digit code is #Ø825.

If you work for King County, please consider making Stewardship Partners the recipient of your employee giving. Your support helps us strengthen partnerships with property owners working to improve regional water quality, restore fish and wildlife habitat, protect wetlands and open space, and encourage green infrastructure within our local built environment.

Fall is Fun at Salmon-Safe Farms

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love—that makes life and nature harmonize.” -George Eliot

Fall is a beautiful time of year filled with chilly mornings, crisp leaves and spooky Jack-O-Lanterns lit up on the front porch. As with everything else, this fall season looks a little different as the world has changed around us. One tradition that remains almost the same is visiting your local pumpkin patch or corn maze. Many of our Salmon-Safe farms offer fall activities that provide an opportunity to get the family out to do something fun, while being in fresh open air with plenty of room for social distancing. So if you are feeling cooped up and ready to get in the fall spirit, consider visiting one of our local farms and buying a Salmon-Safe pumpkin or other goodies! 

Click Here for a map of Salmon-Safe farms
Be sure to visit the farm’s website to confirm they are open and review their Covid-19 policies. Happy fall everyone!

Pumpkins at Jubilee Farm, Carnation, Washington

Salmon in the City Coming to a Screen Near You!

Join Salmon-Safe on October 29th for Salmon in the City 2020 – Registration is live!  This free, virtual event will highlight innovations in ecologically sustainable urban design and development that protect water quality and our urban watershed. NOAA Fisheries will present groundbreaking research regarding the impacts of urban stormwater on salmon and watersheds. The event will feature pioneering design collaborations bridging architecture and ecology as well as case studies of projects incorporating Salmon-Safe stormwater design principles. Register Today

Feast 2020 Looked a Little Different

Despite the challenges of 2020, we were able to keep the annual tradition of Feast on the Farm alive from the comfort of our own homes. The pivot of our yearly event to a virtual experience wouldn’t have been possible without our supporters, sponsors, farmers, and chefs. Feast on the Farm at home raised $55,400, which will directly support the conservation and restoration initiatives in Puget Sound! While this is a third of what we typically raise at Feast on the Farm, we are grateful for the support and commitment to stewarding our water and land during these difficult times. If you would still like to donate to our organization, click here. A huge thank you to our sponsors, farmers, and chefs, and most importantly, our supporters. You can see all the fun (and amazing food) that was had by looking up #feasthomedelivery2020 on Instagram or Facebook!

“While we were missing the farm, the feast certainly did not disappoint. Thank you Stewardship Partners and Chefs Ethan Stowell, Joe Ianelli, and Zoi Antonitsas for your gourmet farm to table CSA box. Our bellies are full and our hearts are thankful for learning more on how we can become better caretakers of our Pacific Northwest land and the water that sustains us.”  -Cassie and Jeremey Johnson

Feast Home Delivery

This Year, We’re Coming Your Way

This year, we aren’t able to gather at a community farm table, but the urgency of sustainability is more clear than ever before. Along with it, the need for community has never been more felt. So rather than postpone we are bringing the Feast to you and your pod. Introducing Feast Home Delivery, a world of sustainability brought to your doorstep. What does this look like? A fun-filled evening with a private farm to table experience, unlike any other.

Each meal kit serves two and is priced at $150 and features a vast variety of local fresh veggies from Full Circle Farm, sustainably caught wild salmon from Halmia Fish, Salmon-Safe wines from Novelty Hill Januik Winery and coffee from Caffe Vita. Through collaboration Seattle chefs and restauranteurs, Zoi Antonitsas, Ethan Stowell (Ethan Stowell Restaurants), and Joe Ianelli (Harvest Beat) have curated a three-course meal that will come from the farm straight to your table. Meal kits will be delivered to your doorstep on October 2nd or 3rd, including an opportunity to watch these three chefs prepare the meals with a step by step cooking video guide.

Join us Saturday October 3rd for a virtual experience with an exclusive panel discussion with farmers, Andrew Stout, and Wendy Munroe to learn about local, sustainable farming practices and stewardship. To keep the spirit of the Feast alive and to connect us now more than ever, we will have a virtual toast, raise the paddle and a live performance by a local musician. We hope you can join us for an unforgettable night.

Menu Details:

King Salmon with Warm Sunchoke, Farro and Leek Salad with Parsley Lemon dressing, prepared by Chef Ethan Stowell

Wild Foraged Lobster Mushroom Bisque topped with Marcrina Potatoes Crostini and Tonnamaker Roasted Pepper Relish, prepared by Chef Joe Ianelli

Griffin Creek Farm Salad, prepared by Chef Zoi Antonitsas

Choice of red, white or rosé from Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Coffee from Caffe Vita

Macarons from Trophy Cupcakes

Vegetarian option: Smoked delicatas Squash cup stuffed with Celery Root and Cashew Cheese, served with warm Sunchoke, Farro and Leek Salad with Parsley Lemon dressing.

Delivery Details:
-Delivery is available to homes within 30 miles of Seattle (excluding locations requiring ferry travel)
-A pickup location will be available to individuals outside of delivery area

Please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring, donating or volunteering. All proceeds from Feast Home Delivery go directly towards Stewardship Partners’ conservation and restoration initiatives.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Green Infrastructure Summit 2020 Hindsight

At Stewardship Partners we are always thinking about the ways we can change our world. Over the last 5 years of convening the Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit, we have learned a lot about the intersection between environmental and social issues. We have tried to center racial equity and social justice in this community and make green infrastructure a tool for improving the most impacted environments first and foremost. This year, we adapted to a global pandemic and brought forward 9 virtual panel discussions over 4 weeks. We covered big ideas and impacts that go way beyond water alone. Topics of discussion included incentives, education, communication, trees, authentic community engagement, racial equity in green infrastructure and we shined a spotlight on innovative leadership in the south Puget Sound.

Looking back on those discussions and the amazing people leading them and looking ahead to the incredible challenges in front of us, it is this collaborative group of brilliant and compassionate people that gives us hope. Our community is poised to respond and is responding right now. The green infrastructure community is building innovative new systems, both social and physical, that account for what might be downstream.

Solutions that simultaneously improve social equity and environmental quality must be a part of our path forward. As the nation and the world look for ways to recover and rebuild, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in better solutions that meet that challenge, and many of those ideas can be found in the recorded summit sessions here. From every sector and across the region, these are many of the leaders who are already making it happen. Recovering from the current overlapping crises is, by definition, not a matter of going back to the way things were. It is a matter of restoring justice for our communities and restoring the natural systems on which we all depend.

We are immensely grateful to all 53 speakers, 336 attendees, our sponsors, our amazing host committee, advisory committee, Cascadia Consulting and Stewardship Partners teams. Thank you all for helping us lead the first virtual Summit!

Keeping Salmon Safe in the Age of COVID-19

Like many of you, we have had to adjust the ways in which we do our work due to COVID-19. One particular challenge has been moving forward with certifying and re-certifying farms as Salmon-Safe, which requires a site assessment that has historically been in person with a third party assessor. After some diligent work by the Salmon-Safe team, we are thrilled to have protocols in place for virtual assessments of farms during the 2020 growing season and beyond. Growers, Salmon-Safe staff, and independent assessors will work together on Zoom or similar online conferencing platforms. These virtual assessments replace customary on-site assessments for the time being. For existing Salmon-Safe certified farms, we also have the flexible options of doing a virtual re-assessment or offering a 12-month extension of certification to these farms. We are very excited to have these new protocols in place that allow us to keep this program running smoothly and continue our partnerships with local farms. If you are interested in becoming Salmon-Safe or re-certifying, please email us

Organic Kale at Oxbow Farm, Duvall, Washington

One specific area we plan to put our virtual assessment practices in place is Mason County. Stewardship Partners recently received grant funding from Squaxin Island Tribe to do Salmon-Safe outreach to growers in Mason County. Our hope is to bring new farms on board with Salmon-Safe, and we also have scholarship funding to help cover the fees associated with certification. If you know of any growers in Mason County who would be interested in learning more about Salmon-Safe, please email us. We look forward to working with new farms and acknowledging the good work being done by local growers.  

Welcome Todd!

Stewardship Partners is pleased to welcome Todd Albertson to the office staff. Todd first joined Stewardship Partners in 2018 as an intern. A transplant from Northern California, he received a degree in history from the University of Washington and later a Masters of Public Administration from the Evans School at UW where he specialized in policy analysis and environmental policy. He is excited to use his policy knowledge to better the Puget Sound region through his role managing grants at Stewardship Partners. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, watching sports (Go Dawgs!) and exploring the Puget Sound region.