2023 Highlights

As 2023 comes to a close and we reflect on the year behind us, we are so grateful for the opportunity to continue creating meaningful impacts in the Puget Sound area, the traditional lands of the Salish people. We were able to accomplish so much this year with the help and support of our communities. Stewardship Partners led the 8th Annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea, launched the Adopt-a-Downspout program in Seattle, began the biggest rain garden installation in the Snoqualmie Valley, and led volunteers in restoration efforts. These accomplishments, among many other green initiatives, have in part been made possible by people like you. Thank you for your support!

The Snoqualmie Stewardship Restoration Team enjoyed working with a full crew again starting in April. Among their many projects, this year was the biggest rain garden they’ve installed to date at Griffin Creek Farm in Carnation. The 3,000-square-foot rain garden will manage stormwater and water runoff from the farm’s vegetable processing plant. This was the first rain garden we have installed at a Salmon-Safe certified farm, but certainly not the last. We are looking forward to a new series of rain gardens going in at Carnation Farms next year.

Researchers have determined that the chemical 6PPD-quinone in tires causes pre spawning mortality in coho salmon in urban streams. Capturing stormwater and using green infrastructure has been proven to remove this chemical. Stewardship Partners has installed four aboveground stormwater biofilter boxes on two downspouts from the I-5 ship canal bridge to treat 1 million gallons of runoff. The goal of this pilot project is to monitor the results of treatment and also determine feasibility and assess scalability and replicability. Thank you to Boeing, The Rose Foundation, WSDOT and TNC for supporting this project.

Feast on the Farm is always a highlight of our year. This year at Griffin Creek Farm the weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and the company was superb. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of our donors, attendees, and volunteers. We hosted 125 people at the farm and raised $65,000. This goes directly towards supporting salmon habitat restoration in the Snoqualmie Valley and rain garden installations.

We were saddened by the passing of a beloved partner and pillar of the Seattle community, Bill Ranniger. Bill was a dedicated steward of the environment, committed to sustainably sourced seafood and salmon recovery. Chef Bill and Duke’s Seafood have been longtime sponsors of the Adopt-a-Buffer program. This year, with 20 staff members from Duke’s, we rededicated “Duke’s Point” to “Chef Bill’s Point” in his memory. Next year, in April, for an Earth Month Celebration, we are planning a sign dedication in his honor. We are inspired by stewardship partners like Chef Bill!

The mission of Stewardship Partners is about bringing communities together so that we can all be better stewards of the land and sea we live, work, and play on. Important parts of this vision are access and a sense of belonging. When people understand the role they can play and feel connected to their community, positive change happens. We wouldn’t be able to continue this work without support from folks like you. We invite you to consider Stewardship Partners in your annual giving this year.  

The 8th Annual Green Infrastructure Summit: An Amazing Convergence of Like Minds and Hearts

It seems like absence really does make the heart grow fonder. After 3 years of virtual Summits, on March 17th, we were finally able to gather about 230 leaders of the green infrastructure movement together in person (with a couple dozen more joining us online). It was great to see everyone (and the sunshine didn’t hurt either)! Faces and perspectives new and old gathered at Cascadia College in Bothell for the 8th annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea. The host committee’s chosen theme of “money as medicine, historic investments are a historic opportunity for healing*”, helped us all consider our work with shared goals of healing harms, environmental, social, and otherwise.

Over the course of 8 summits in 8 years, a lot has happened. But one theme has persisted throughout: How can we repair environmental damage in a way that heals our social wounds as well? Or put in the terms that Host committee member Bridget Ray spoke, the people here belong to this land, are of this land, not the other way around, and when we work to heal and care for one, we must keep that relationship in mind. This is happening. Investments in green infrastructure are taking community-identified goals and needs into account. Some of those goals relate to workforce and career pathways. Others talked about the very rich complexity of community-centered strategies. Green infrastructure is increasingly helping create accessible outdoor spaces in the form of stormwater parks.

Most of the sessions (all the ones in the auditorium) were recorded and will remain available for you to watch and share with your colleagues on the summit webpage (along with content from past summits).

“While I didn’t know it at the time, this summit was my last in my current role. I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding send off than that. I am profoundly grateful for this community, your vision, your love for this land and all the people that belong to it.” -A note from Aaron Clark

*Acknowledgement to Edgar Villanueva who popularized the concept ‘money as medicine’ in his important book, Decolonizing Wealth.

Buy Summit Tickets Now!

At the 2023 Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea we are taking the historic opportunity to look at the way infrastructure investments have been done to date, and inform the ways that we want them done now. This year’s theme is: Money as Medicine* – Historic investments are an historic opportunity for healing that we can’t afford to miss. There will be presentations and discussions on funding, workforce and career pathways, regional coordination, research, modeling, design and planning at watershed scales, and food systems too. We’ll have opportunities to walk outside, share food and drinks together, talk in the hallways, and yes, we will talk about tires too!

On behalf of an incredible host committee and Stewardship Partners, please join us.

What: The 8th annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea
Where: Mobius Hall, Cascadia College, Bothell, WA (with an online livestreaming option for the larger sessions)
When: March 17, 2023 (approx. 8:30 AM-4:30 PM)
Register Now: Eventbrite

*Acknowledgement to Edgar Villanueva who popularized the concept ‘money as medicine’ in his important book, Decolonizing Wealth.

Only Three Days Left to Give to the Environment in 2022!

This has been a big year for Stewardship Partners. We are proud of our on-the-ground actions as we continue to facilitate partnerships and create measurable positive impacts on the environment and neighborhoods across the region. Please take this opportunity to show your support of Stewardship Partners before the year ends!

Stewardship Partners’ resolute staff represents the most experienced and knowledgeable people working to solve our region’s challenging environmental problems. We would like to share program highlights for the year. 

The 7th annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea was held virtually on March 24 and 25th, and despite not being together in person (for the 3rd year in a row!) the feeling of connectedness to a community of hundreds of leaders and innovators was still profound. The 8th Summit will be in-person on March 17th so save the date.

The Snoqualmie Stewardship Program restored 1.8 acres of habitat, planted over 8,000 plants at multiple farms, and maintained one acre of restoration sites. We also received a total of $25,000 in volunteer time and over $100,000 in government grants.  Two new rain gardens were installed in Carnation at the library, and another will soon be completed at Griffin Creek Farm.  The program continues to expand its impact and partnerships with homeowners, businesses, and farms.

As a friend of ours, we know you’ve probably heard this before. Protecting and restoring salmon and their streams is the reason we started planting riparian habitat buffers over 20 years ago and building rain gardens in 2008. Then we created the 12,000 Rain Garden Campaign for Puget Sound back in 2011, and now we are further sharpening our focus to address runoff from our shared highways and roadways, focusing on the worst first by placing rain garden boxes under elevated highways in the densest urban areas. The concept is called ‘Adopt-a-Downspout’ but in the SP office we affectionately refer to it as ‘box of rain.’ The pilot project has been in the works behind the scenes for more than 3 years as we built a partnership with Washington State Department of Transportation. And now we are launching the pilot phase of adopt-a-downspout under the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge in Seattle, one of the most heavily trafficked roads in the state, passing over a major salmon migration corridor. We will be refining the design of our boxes of rain and testing their overall effectiveness over the coming ‘rain year’ and if the concept works as well as it is expected to, we will expand as quickly as possible to protect and restore the health of our urban streams for salmon, other wildlife and communities.

The Alliance for Pioneer Square, in collaboration with Stewardship Partners, held a volunteer planting event in March 2023 to transform four tree pits on Occidental Ave South into miniature rain gardens. The rain gardens are home to several native plant species that attract pollinators and help filter stormwater, keeping Puget Sound clean. The volunteer event was a huge success, with community members dedicating time and energy to create a unique space in Pioneer Square. In addition to rain gardens, the project included the installation of native artwork designed by Tommy Segundo, a local Native American artist, that was installed adjacent to a storm drain on the sidewalk to draw attention to where our polluted runoff goes and the importance of keeping it clean.

Artist Tommy Segundo

We are so happy to have had an in-person Feast on the Farm; the magical evening at Griffin Creek Farm was full of energy and generosity that our guests brought to the farm.  We wanted to say thank you again to everyone who attended, volunteered, and donated to make our return to Feast on the Farm so special! Thanks to our generous sponsors and guests we raised $88,000 to support our work.

Stewardship Partners would not be here without you. Thank you for being dedicated to our team and our mission and loving this special place we call home. Please consider Stewardship Partners in your annual giving this year.

Thank you,

David J. Burger                                       Christopher T. Bayley
Executive Director                                 Founder and Board Chair

Helping to Green Up Pioneer Square

As part of a broader greenspace improvement project, the Alliance for Pioneer Square, in collaboration with Stewardship Partners, held a volunteer planting event in March 2023 to transform four tree pits on Occidental Ave South into miniature rain gardens. The rain gardens are home to several native plant species that attract pollinators and help filter stormwater, keeping Puget Sound clean. The volunteer event was a huge success, with community members dedicating time and energy to create a unique space in Pioneer Square. This ecologically beneficial beautification project is the result of the volunteer group’s work! Funding for this project was made possible by Historic South Downtown.

In addition to rain gardens, the project included the installation of native artwork designed by Tommy Segundo, a local Native American artist, that was installed adjacent to a storm drain on the sidewalk to draw attention to where our polluted runoff goes and the importance of keeping it clean.

The Summit is Returning in Person!

Stewardship Partners and the Summit Host Committee are excited to announce that after 3 years in virtual formats, the Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea will have be coming back in person on March 17, 2023 at Cascadia College in Bothell.

Over the last 3 years we brought attention to regions beyond the central Seattle and King County area to the South, the North, and the West, and now we are back in the middle. We hope you will save the date and watch for updates on the Summit website. Even as we shine a spotlight on the greater Seattle area and meet up in person there, this event is always about sharing stories and leadership in the field of green infrastructure from across the whole Salish Sea region. Please join us and help turn the tide of polluted runoff.

Just a Box of Rain

Summer may still be in full effect for a few more weeks, but at Stewardship Partners we are already thinking about rain. ‘Why??’ you ask. Because we know that all the dry days we’ve had mean that tire dust, car drips, and anything else that lands on our impervious urban surfaces (roads, parking lots, roofs… even lawns) will soon be washed into salmon streams across the region. That ‘first flush’ of polluted runoff (aka stormwater) often comes as coho salmon swim around at the mouths of their birth-streams waiting for rain to swell the streams and allow them to swim up and complete their incredible life cycles and start the next generation. If too much pollution is in the streams when they enter, instead of spawning, those fish will die with bellies full of eggs and milt, and future generations never get their chance.

As a friend of ours, we know you’ve probably heard this before. Protecting and restoring salmon and their streams is the reason we started planting riparian habitat buffers in 1999, and building rain gardens in 2008. Then we created the 12,000 Rain Garden Campaign for Puget Sound back in 2011, and now we are further sharpening our focus to address runoff from our shared highways and roadways, focusing on the worst first by placing rain garden boxes under elevated highways in the densest urban areas. The concept is called ‘Adopt-a-Downspout’ but in the SP office we affectionately refer to it as ‘box of rain.’ The pilot project has been in the works behind the scenes for more than 3 years as we built a partnership with Washington State Department of Transportation. And now we are launching the pilot phase of adopt-a-downspout under the I-5 Ship Canal Bridge in Seattle, one of the most heavily trafficked roads in the state, passing over a major salmon migration corridor. We will be refining the design of our boxes of rain and testing their overall effectiveness over the coming ‘rain year’ (starting October 1), and if the concept works as well as it is expected to, we will expand as quickly as possible to protect and restore the health of our urban streams for salmon, other wildlife and communities. Stay tuned over the coming months for updates as we kick the tires so-to-speak on this approach.

As with everything we do, this project is moving forward because of amazing partners including but not limited to Julia Ebert, the Boeing Company, Snohomish Conservation District, UW Center for Urban Horticulture, WSDOT, Herrera Environmental, TNC, Site Story, Salmon-Safe and many others have all played or continue to play vital roles in this project.

Project Site Plan Draft

Seven Salish Summits Strong

The 7th annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea was held on the interwebs on March 24 and 25th, and despite not being together in person (for the 3rd year in a row!) the feeling of connectedness to a community of leaders and innovators was still profound. We are incredibly lucky to be blessed with abundant resources of all varieties here in the Salish Sea region: diverse human and cultural resources, natural resources, and soon we expect some pretty significant increases in financial resources for infrastructure too.

The S’Klallam Singers

While we didn’t bring this community physically to one geographic area, we continued our quest to shine a spotlight on different parts of the region each year. This year the island and peninsula-rich areas including San Juan, Island, Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallam counties showed off some of their visionary leadership. Smaller jurisdictions like Sequim, where rainfall is about half of what Seattle gets, helped us think about climate change and rain as a resource of growing importance. Many Coast Salish tribes who are leading in ecological and cultural restoration and healing, call this part of the Salish Sea home, and we were fortunate to hear experiences, share stories and learn together. We were welcomed to the summit and these lands and waters by Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Chairman Jeromy Sullivan and the S’Klallam singers, and we heard from 32 speakers and session chairs over the course of 2 days, 7 plenary sessions and a networking breakout session to boot. I could wax on and on about trees, forests, streams, beaches, dancing with cockles, money, mulches and hydrologic models… but rather than taking my word for it, you can see for yourself because we recorded the whole summit and put it on YouTube. Learn more and stay tuned for next year’s summit. We hope to return to in-person convening in March of 2023: www.12000raingardens.org/summit.

Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea

Help turn the tide! The 7th annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea on March 24th and 25th will feature a geographic spotlight on the region’s island and peninsula-rich parts and is organized around a theme of “Turning the Tide: Disrupting status quos in infrastructure investment, climate, and the land we occupy.” Get your tickets today and let us know if you need any accommodations or a scholarship. Purchase Tickets

Our 2021 Accomplishments

Dear Stewardship Partners Community,

As we approach the end of 2021, we are thankful for your continued support that has allowed Stewardship Partners to continue providing environmental solutions for landowners and businesses who care for the land and water of the region. We are proud of our on-the-ground work as we continue to forge long-lasting partnerships and measurable positive impacts on the environment and communities across the region.

Stewardship Partners’ resilient, hard-working staff comprises the most experienced and knowledgeable people working to solve our region’s complex environmental issues. We’d like to share several program highlights for the year.

The Snoqualmie Stewardship Program restored two acres of habitat, planted over 3,000 plants at multiple farms, and maintained a record 9.5 acres of restoration sites. We also completed a new Snoqualmie Valley Stewardship Handbook. This guide includes tips and funding sources for projects including home stewardship, agricultural stewardship, forest stewardship, sustainable recreation, volunteering, and green consumer tools. The program continues to expand, working with schools and cities in the Snoqualmie Valley, building rain gardens, and installing other green infrastructure projects in addition to riparian restoration.

A new innovative ad campaign was created this spring that calls on people to become “Rain Changers” by creating rain gardens at their homes and businesses. The campaign was the brainchild of Sam Neukom and the pro-bono creative team at NorthboundMerlino Media also provided resources to match advertising funding. Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, who is planning his second rain garden, lent star power to the campaign. Noting in one radio ad, “if you want to keep your basement dry and the Sound clean, cisterns and rain gardens are a beautiful way to help.” The campaign was featured in the Seattle Times and South Seattle Emerald and included bus-side ads, radio ads, and billboards. The RainWise website saw the largest ever number of visitors to the site after the Seattle Times article. Visit www.rainchangers.org to see if your property qualifies for rebates from the City of Seattle or King County or to find incentives in other areas of Puget Sound. 

The 6th Annual Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea gathered seven virtual panel discussions and an online networking event over two days in March. We covered big ideas and impacts that go way beyond water alone. Discussion topics included innovative partnerships, whole watershed approaches, climate resilience, systems of power and access, science, and research-based pragmatism, and we shined a spotlight on innovative leadership in northern Puget Sound watersheds. 

We continue to educate the public on supporting local farms and restaurants by choosing sustainable Salmon-Safe products. We also hosted educational workshops and webinars, such as the virtual Flower Farmer Workshop in April. Stewardship Partners maintains a vital relationship with the Salmon-Safe headquarters team in Portland, and we all meet regularly. We are thrilled to welcome new farms to the program this year, such as Farm at Water’s Edge in Belfair and Paradise Parking Plots in Kent. We hope you will help us protect our Puget Sound and all its residents by choosing Salmon-Safe products! 

Once again, we couldn’t gather in person for Feast on the Farm; so we feasted and celebrated with supporters, each in our own homes across the region. It wouldn’t have been possible without our sponsors, farmers, and chefs. Feast on the Farm at home raised $25,500, which will directly support our conservation and restoration initiatives in Puget Sound! 

Stewardship Partners would not be here without you. Thank you for being dedicated to our team and our mission and loving this special place we call home. Please consider Stewardship Partners in your annual giving this year.