Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea

Building off of the 2020 Green Infrastructure Summit and events since, it is more apparent than ever that we can’t merely fix and put back the stuff that breaks (due to a pandemic, racial inequity, economic downturn, etc.). Instead, we need better stuff. So this year, the theme of the summit is “Evolving Green Infrastructure: adapting systems for better outcomes.” 

Up-to-date info can be found on the summit webpage. There are many details still in the offing, but below is what we know:

  •  This summit will be held virtually over the mornings of March 25th and 26th, 2021 (mark your calendars).
  • After five years of calling this event the “Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit” we are pleased to announce that we are renaming it the “Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea.”  This re-naming is in recognition and honor of the original Indigenous inhabitants and stewards of this land and water, the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, since time immemorial. This re-naming also underscores our continued commitment to identify and implement solutions that protect and enhance the Salish Sea basin, through collaboration, best practices, racial equity, and community engagement. 
  • If you have a topic or story that you would like to share, please fill out this simple online abstract submission form. Your submission does not need to include details. Many of the best summit presentations started as a simple sentence. But the deadline for submissions is January 26th (extended), so don’t delay!
  • This event will give us all a chance to connect across geographies and sectors, discuss and learn about topics as far reaching as: leadership in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties; green infrastructure across the urban-rural continuum; whole watershed systems; storytelling; maintenance; stimulus spending; climate resilience; tires; silos; racial equity; the WA environmental justice task force; youth leadership; career pathways; the state of the science and what works and what doesn’t. 
  • Financial sponsors make this event possible. If your organization would like to learn more, please email Aaron Clark.

Looking Back on Our 2020 Accomplishments

As a generous supporter of Stewardship Partners, you are the reason we continue to step up and fill the gap of providing environmental solutions for communities and individuals to be great stewards of this beautiful place we call home. While this year continues to be challenging, we are resilient. Thanks to you, we persist in our efforts to work for the water and land that sustain us all.

While our workplaces shifted, Stewardship Partners’ hard-working staff forged ahead. The Snoqualmie Stewardship Program restored two acres of habitat by planting over 6,000 plants at multiple farms. We also completed a new Snoqualmie Valley Stewardship Handbook, a great resource for landowners.

The 5th Annual Green Infrastructure Summit adapted to a global pandemic and brought forward nine virtual panel discussions over four weeks and engaged a bigger and broader audience than ever. We covered big ideas and impacts that go way beyond water alone. Topics 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. We also continued to shift conversations regionally on green infrastructure incentives, bringing more support for environmental improvement to underserved and overburdened communities, leading the way with our own equitable incentive programs.

We were able to create protocols for Salmon-Safe virtual assessments of farms, vineyards, and golf courses. Several properties joined the Salmon-Safe network this year, furthering the label’s value and consumer demand for sustainable products and management.

This year, we weren’t able to gather at a community farm table for Feast on the Farm, but the urgency of sustainability is clearer than ever before. Along with sustainability, the need for community has never been greater. The Feast’s pivot to a community-building at-home experience wouldn’t have been possible without generous volunteers, partners, supporters, sponsors, farmers, and chefs. Feast on the Farm at home raised $55,400, which will directly support our conservation and restoration initiatives in Puget Sound!

We are thinking of you and how you might be impacted by this global crisis and if we can support you in your own stewardship or just want to connect, please reach out to us. Stewardship Partners would not be the same without you. Thank you for being loyal to our organization, loving the land, our communities, and ultimately creating a story of growth. By staying present, slowing down, and spending time alone or with family, we will grow now more than ever. And if you are doing annual giving this year, please consider Stewardship Partners.

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

Tumwater Golf Course is Salmon-Safe Certified

On October 15th, 2019 Stewardship Partners presented the City of Tumwater with the official Salmon-Safe certification of Tumwater Valley Golf Club. Tumwater Valley Golf Club is a leader in sustainability that minimizes its environmental impacts. The fact that Tumwater Valley Golf Club is the first Salmon-Safe Certified public golf course in Washington state is a testament to this commitment. The Salmon-Safe designation is the result of a year-long, comprehensive third-party evaluation of the golf course’s land and water management practices.

“The Tumwater Valley Golf Course provides many benefits to our residents, and enhancing salmon habitat is another opportunity we’re excited to undertake,” said Pete Kmet, City of Tumwater Mayor. “We’re proud to have earned a Salmon-Safe Certification and look forward to further enhancing our operations to benefit salmon.”

The Tumwater Valley Golf Club implements many practices in accordance with Salmon-Safe standards, particularly related to water use, landscape maintenance, and habitat preservation and restoration. The golf course uses approximately 43 million gallons of reclaimed wastewater from the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant to irrigate the course. Multiple habitat restoration projects have been implemented since 1993 along the Deschutes River with additional projects planned. Tumwater exemplifies Salmon-Safe’s philosophy of encouraging low-impact practices that go beyond environmental regulations and committing to further reducing environmental impact over time.

Stewardship Partners looks forward to working collaboratively with The City of Tumwater to implement the requirements of Salmon-Safe at the golf course over the coming years. We are also thrilled about the opportunity to showcase the Salmon-Safe certification to visitors of the course and illustrate to them how they can take actions to protect our land and water and our iconic salmon.

Stewardship Partners’ 2019 Highlights

Supporters are central to the success of Stewardship Partners and are one of the main reasons why our programs had such a profound positive impact throughout our region this year. By supporting Stewardship Partners, you continue to support a healthy Puget Sound environment.

Your support this year allowed us to:

  • Plant 15,000 native trees and shrubs
  • Restore 2.4 river miles
  • Restore 10.5 acres of vital riparian habitat
  • Engage volunteers in over 2,800 hours of work
  • Grow our Salmon-Safe program to over 100 farms and vineyards
  • Grow our coalition of over 100 green infrastructure partners
  • Host the 2019 Green Infrastructure Summit and begin planning for the 2020 Summit, to be located outside of King County for the first time
  • Provide resources and financial incentives for green infrastructure ($100,000 of incentives awarded to date)
  • Engage in the Seattle Waterfront Project alongside new partners
  • Host the 10th Annual Feast on the Farm, raising over $151,000 in direct support of conservation and restoration initiatives in Puget Sound

THANK YOU FOR BEING A STEWARDSHIP PARTNER!

Make Your End of Year Gift

This season, Patagonia Action Works is matching donations made to their environmental grantees! Now through December 31st, donations made through their site will receive a dollar-for-dollar match! Please help us take advantage of this amazing opportunity by making your year-end gift to Stewardship Partners through Patagonia Action Works! Thank you Patagonia!

You can also give directly through our website. Only together can we fight for clean water, healthy salmon and wildlife habitats, sustainable agriculture, healthy communities, and overall stewardship of our shared environment.

Remembering a Friend of the Salmon – Bill Ruckelshaus

Bill and Governor Gregoire visiting Stewardship Partners rain gardens in Burien (2012)

On behalf of the staff and Board of Stewardship Partners, I am sad to announce the passing today of Bill Ruckelshaus. There are only a few people in the world that worked as hard to recover salmon in our watersheds across the region. The salmon have lost one of their best friends.

Bill had the ability to work with anyone including tribes, businesses, government, farmers and non-profits with integrity and honesty making him a great American hero for the natural environment. His priority was putting the environment before politics or party.

Bill was the first director of the EPA, led the U.S./Canada salmon negotiations, was the chair of Shared Strategy, the first chair of Puget Sound Partnership, and held so many other leadership roles. Bill received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2015.

We went fishing together several years ago in the San Juan Islands and I remember Bill telling all of us on the boat that this would probably be one of the last times he goes fishing. Turns out it was, and I feel lucky to have shared that time with him. Bill had many accomplishments and was taller than most but was never intimidating. He was a warm down-to earth person that was willing to listen and give his time, talent and wisdom to what he called “doing the right thing for the fish.”

Bill has been a longtime friend and supporter of Stewardship Partners. We will miss him dearly and our thoughts go out to his family.

Written by David Burger – Stewardship Partners Executive Director

Finnriver Farm & Cidery: Fermenting a vision of good land, renewed rural community and a vibrant food culture

Why did Finnriver decide to become Salmon-Safe certified?

Photo credit: James Curtis

We were approached by the Salmon-Safe folks about certification and it resonated with our core values of care for the land and community. We had come from a background in environmental education and already felt a strong commitment to ensure that we were striving to reduce negative impacts and possibly repair the ecosystem we were dwelling and farming within. We were inspired early in our journey by the Aldo Leopold land ethic about preserving the beauty and integrity of “the biotic community” and by Wendell Berry’s teachings about how agriculture connects us to landscape and community. So, we kept asking ourselves what steps we could take to preserve and grow the beauty and integrity here.

It felt very significant to us that a salmon-bearing stream runs through our farm— Chimacum Creek. We got involved in upkeep of the restoration [started by the previous property owners and various partners], and we watched over the years as the re-meandering and reforestation of that section of the stream went from a weedy ditch to a lush (albeit narrow) habitat for wildlife and forested, shady haven for salmon.

We knew that there were historic tensions around the interaction of ag land and salmon habitat, and we wanted to try to role model a project that allowed both to recover and thrive.

How does the program align with the priorities and goals of Finnriver?

Our goal in farming is to increase the health of our soils, add biodiversity to the farm and protect the watershed. These goals align with Salmon-Safe and allow us to celebrate the aspiration for the co-existence of healthy streams and salmon with vibrant farms. We know this will always be a quest and not an achievement— that ecosystems are very complex and interconnected, and that human impacts are problematic, no matter how benevolent the intention. We want to keep learning and striving for a better model.

What does the Salmon-Safe label mean to your consumers?

The label provides a form of activism when purchasing cider and organic produce from our farm. It tells them that we are taking into account the larger watershed issues and impacts that go along with farming in proximity to salmon-bearing waterways. We hope that our customers continue to make the connections between their purchases and their impact on the ecosystems that sustain us!

Photo credit: Jen Lee Light

What’s the most valuable aspect you see in the Salmon-Safe program?

It illuminates and holds us accountable to the intricacies and complexities of the relationship between farming and the ecological health of our surroundings.

Look for Finnriver products in your local stores and learn more about their work by visiting them for a tour and cider talk:
www.finnriver.com

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!