Celebrating Orca Recovery with a Splash

2019 has been a big year already for salmon and orcas, with all four orca recovery bills passing the state house and senate! These bills, focused on habitat protection, vessel and noise disturbance, toxic pollution, and oil spill prevention, are a huge step forward to address the threats faced by our Southern Resident Orca population.

To celebrate these wins, Stewardship Partners participated in the Salish Splash!, a Puget Sound wide event on June 13th encouraging everyone to challenge their friends and family to take a plunge, raising awareness about these successes but also the work still needed to be done.

Sal the Salmon, who was challenged by Executive Director David Burger, was so happy to be a part of the day at Golden Gardens surrounded by so many great partners and community members doing their part for salmon and orca recovery!

Learn about the many different ways you can take action and support the recovery of salmon and orca populations!

Green Solutions to Stormwater Runoff

By now, you have probably heard that stormwater runoff is a looming threat to our Puget Sound. But the good news is that there are ways we can slow down and filter stormwater runoff, preventing pollutants from making it into our precious bodies of water. This video created by Sightline Institute features our very own Aaron Clark speaking about green infrastructure solutions to polluted stormwater runoff.

Breaking Barriers for GSI Projects

Here at Stewardship Partners we do our best to help get as many green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) projects in the ground as possible. Unfortunately, while most landowners love the idea of a beautiful rain garden or cistern going in their yard, there are barriers to getting these projects installed. Many great incentive programs exist for installing GSI, like RainWise Rebates, but cost continues to be one of the biggest barriers landowners face.

Newly installed rain garden getting its finishing touches.

We are working hard to address this issue by creating new incentive programs and expanding the financial assistance offered through the RainWise Program. Our recently launched GSI Mini Grants offer up to an additional $1,500 for landowners within the King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) service area that are not eligible for other incentive programs. The goal of the GSI Mini Grant is to help provide both guidance and financial assistance for communities that are in areas of ineligibility for other incentive programs and may otherwise be unable to install GSI projects. Our RainWise Access Grants help income-limited and underserved communities by providing an additional $1,000 for RainWise eligible homeowners and nonprofit community organizations, bridging the gap between the RainWise rebate amount and actual project costs. Without this tool, even relatively small out of pocket costs for GSI projects could pose a barrier to landowners otherwise ready to install GSI on their property.

The creation of these tools comes from actively listening to and discussing with key partners like and community members. With a little out of the box thinking, the Stewardship Partners team was able to create a whole organizational infrastructure that didn’t exist before, all because we listened to communities sharing their experiences and barriers with us. After many tweaks and improvements to both of these tools, we now have Mini Grants and Access Grants flying off the shelves. We have a great sense of pride and gratification knowing we are able to give communities a hand in their work to protect Puget Sound.

You can find out more about these financial tools and other incentive programs at www.12000raingardens.org.

Come Hang with Sal at the Bellevue Duke’s April 10th!

Come say hi to Sal the Salmon, take a “salfie” and have a delicious, sustainable dinner at Duke’s Seafood and Chowder! Sal will be hanging out at the Bellevue Duke’s April 10th from 5-7 pm!

Sal the Salmon

Sal will be letting everyone know that throughout the month of April, a portion of special menu items at all seven Duke’s locations will be donated to Stewardship Partners! Nothing better than a delicious meal that helps support  our programs that engage Puget Sound communities as caretakers of the land and water that sustain us.

Saving Salmon at the Center of the Universe

The long wait has ended and the new Data 1 Building is open for business and already actively saving salmon! Our Salmon-Safe Puget Sound team is delighted to be working with COU LLC, Owners JoAnna Callahan, Mark Grey and Mark Hess at this beautiful new building located at the corner of 34th Ave North and Troll Avenue in the heart of Fremont, also known as the Center of the Universe. In this case, we might think of the building at the center of salmon migration.

Cascading bioswales at the Data 1 site serve as an inviting green landscape amenity & are mitigating toxic runoff from the Aurora Bridge.

A new home to Tableau, designed by Weber Thompson and engineered by KPFF, this Salmon-Safe certified project has garnered lots of attention for its work and data outside the building. Inspired by a story about polluted runoff from the 520 Bridge, the owners set about to create a project that provides public benefit in the right-of-way with cascading bioswales and rains gardens treating polluted runoff from the Aurora Bridge. Stormwater not retained by these features will be captured in an underground vault prior to being discharged via a dedicated storm sewer to Lake Union.

During design phases of the project, the owners discovered that polluted runoff from the Aurora Bridge flowed directly into Lake Union and the ship canal which is an important migration route for salmon. The outfall of polluted water directly impacts the Chinook, Sockeye, Coho and Steelhead that pass through this narrow corridor on their way to the North Lake Washington and Sammamish watersheds.

The project has received Salmon-Safe certification because its overall practices are beneficial to salmon, including reaching beyond its own site boundaries to mitigate a major neighborhood water pollution source. Additional green stromwater infrastructure facilities are being planned on other properties in the vicinity to treat more of the bridge surface runoff. To form a baseline of the highway runoff water quality prior to the installation of treatment, samples of the flow from the bridge were collected on five occasions during February-April 2017. The intention is to monitor discharges from the eventual treatment facilities for comparison with this baseline. It serves as an excellent model project for private landowners to go beyond what’s required and standard operating practices to ensure untreated stormwater mitigation on private lands. Look for this beautiful building and Salmon-Safe interpretive signage celebrating their water story on your next trip to Fremont.

Stay tuned also for more good news for Fremont coming from Salmon-Safe, Stewardship Partners, the COU LLC team and other community partners. This project is a perfect example of the collaborative partnership model that is the hallmark of Stewardship Partners’ programs and projects. By working together, we can create structures and systems that are so much more than a traditional office building.

Leading the Stormwater Village at StormCon

StormCon, the nation’s largest stormwater conference, was recently held in Bellevue marking the first time this gathering of national leaders on stormwater has come to the Pacific Northwest. But there is little doubt that this region is a veritable Silicon Valley of green infrastructure solutions to stormwater runoff.

Polluted runoff spilling into a storm drain.

Why does our community invest so much in solving stormwater? Perhaps, it is because our region is famous for rain and we have over 100 years of leadership, pioneering innovation from airplanes to coffee to software. We think it is because stormwater exemplifies the kind of local, global and complex problem that requires creativity and dedication. The simple individual solutions that Stewardship Partners promotes will cascade down into systems that can heal humanity’s broken relationship with nature.

In this spirit, a group of non-profit leaders have recently developed a Puget Sound-wide campaign called City Habitats. Started by Stewardship Partners, The Nature Conservancy of Washington, Washington Environmental Council and the City of Seattle, City Habitats has now engaged over 100 partners from across the region and across all sectors. With significant investments and support from The Boeing Company, this network is accelerating and amplifying the region’s cutting-edge leadership in stormwater and green infrastructure through collaborative partnership and coordination of efforts. We are “connecting the dots” by bringing .com’s, .org’s, .gov’s and .edu’s together to share ideas, identify emerging issues and opportunities and avoid reinventing the wheel.

City Habitats was represented at StormCon 2017 with 10 full exhibition booths, loosely organized as a “Village”. We presented solutions, ideas, projects and programs with 12 of our partners. StormCon had never had non-profits, universities or government-led programs participate in the exhibition hall before and the response was resounding: we need to do this every year!

Stewardship Partners’ leadership of this effort exemplifies our passion for collaboration and innovation, and showed the world a real hope of truly solving the stormwater problem.

 

StormCon Village Participants:
Washington Storwater Center (UW & WSU) | UW Green Futures Lab | RainWise
Evergreen College’s Center of Sustainable Infrastructure | TNC | ILFI | Stewardship Partners
WEC  |  Puget Sound Caucus of Conservation Districts | Salmon-Safe | ECOSS
Friends of the Seattle Waterfront | City Habitats | Earth Corps

StormCon Connections

Aaron Clark Makes a Connection

StormCon, the nation’s largest stormwater conference was recently held in Bellevue – first time that this gathering of municipal leaders on stormwater have come to the Pacific Northwest. There is little doubt that this region is a veritable Silicon Valley of green infrastructure solutions to stormwater.

Why do we invest so much in solving stormwater? Perhaps, it is because we are already famous for our rain, or perhaps it is our 100 year history of pioneering innovation from airplanes to coffee to software. We think it is because stormwater exemplifies the kind of complex, wicked problem that, once understood, begs creativity and dedication because individual solutions can cascade down into systems that can heal humanity’s broken relationship with nature. Pretty profound stuff.

In this spirit, a group of non-profit leaders have recently developed a Puget Sound-wide campaign called City Habitats. Started by Stewardship Partners, The Nature Conservancy of Washington, Washington Environmental Council and the City of Seattle, City Habitats has now engaged over 100 partners from across the region and across all sectors. With significant investments and support from The Boeing Company, this network is accelerating and amplifying the region’s cutting-edge leadership in stormwater and green infrastructure through collaborative partnership and coordination of efforts. We are “connecting the dots” by bringing .com’s, .org’s, .gov’s and .edu’s together to share ideas, identify emerging issues and opportunities and avoid reinventing the wheel.

City Habitats was represented at StormCon 2017 with 10 full exhibition booths, loosely organized as a “Village”. We presented solutions, ideas, projects and programs from 13 of our partners. StormCon had never had non-profits, universities or government-led programs participate in the exhibition hall before and the response was resounding: we need to do this every year!

Our participants included: from the .edu, Washington Stormwater Center (WSU and UW-led), UW Green Futures Lab and Evergreen College’s Center of Sustainable Infrastructure to the .gov, RainWise program (Seattle and King County-led) and the Puget Sound Caucus of Conservation Districts, to .org’s TNC, ILFI, Stewardship Partners, Salmon-Safe, ECOSS, Friends of Waterfront Seattle, City Habitats, and Earth Corps, City Habitats is demonstrating that collaboration and innovation are critical to the bold vision of actually solving stormwater.

Join our Rain Garden Assessment Team!

We are looking for volunteers to help develop and test a Rapid Assessment Protocol for rain gardens.

If you are in or near Thurston, Pierce, Snohomish or Jefferson counties and available to spend 30-60 minutes observing and recording specific elements of your assigned rain garden then we’d love to hear from you.

We will most likely team you up with at least one other volunteer and assign you to assess between 1 and 3 rain gardens in August or September.

Contact Emma by August 11th to learn more or sign up!

Background: Rain gardens are an important tool to clean up polluted runoff throughout Puget Sound. These gardens keep storm water out of the streets, allow time for water to infiltrate into soils and filter out pollutants through plants, organisms and fungi in the soils.