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

Snoqualmie Strategy: Greening the Valley for Generations to Come

Picking Pumpkins at Fall City Farms, Fall City, Washington, US

Stewardship Partners’ Snoqualmie Strategy efforts continue to make a positive impact in the Snoqualmie Valley with our collaborative approach to conservation and sustainability. It’s been several years since a stakeholder suggested the lofty goal of “building rain gardens in all Snoqualmie Valley schools” at a Green Infrastructure working group session. With a coordinated effort involving multiple partners (The Snoqualmie Tribe, Nature Vision, and Aspect Consulting to name a few) we’ve started to fulfill that vision by installing one rain garden at Carnation Elementary School, with a second one planned for installation in the years to come. With continued support from the Bullitt Foundation, and most recently a King County Flood Control District Flood Reduction Grant, we are leading the charge from gray to green infrastructure.

The Full Circle Farm Demonstration Rain Garden and Carnation Green Infrastructure Integration project is another multi-partner project with a wider reach. It will tie together several efforts throughout the Valley with valued partners who are investing in both a viable economy and an environmentally sustainable future. Our friends at Full Circle Farm will continue their stellar farming and land stewardship practices by installing a large rain garden/bioswale to treat stormwater and agricultural runoff . This project is proposed right next to some of our riparian restoration efforts along Griffin Creek, allowing us to see the full extent of our work at this incredible site. Full Circle Farm will be the first farm in the Snoqualmie Valley that Stewardship Partners will work with to install green infrastructure features!

In addition, we will work with our new partners at Orenda Winery, strategically located across the highway from Full Circle, to perform a green infrastructure assessment in order to help them continue their dedication to sustainable land use practices. We will also work with the City of Carnation to inventory green infrastructure features and provide technical support for future green infrastructure installations as the city makes infrastructure upgrades as a result of increased flooding and other pressures due to ongoing development.

These are just a few examples of how the Snoqualmie Strategy continues to engage local stakeholders in a collaborative and innovative manner. Only by working together and taking action can we ensure future generations have clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink and plenty of healthy local food to eat.

Carnation Farms: A History of Innovation

In our current age of factory farming and mass consumption, the ethos of stewardship practiced by those farmers who came before us seems to be a fleeting concept. If we take a step back and look at the history of Carnation Farms, maybe we could learn a lesson or two.

Caring for the land and animals on which we rely was a focal point of E.A. Stuart, Carnation Farms’ founder, who purchased 360 acres of Tolt, WA farmland in 1908. Stuart saw a need to increase dairy production while at the same time treating their livestock in such a way to ensure they were happy and healthy. Stuarts’ advertising slogan “milk from contented cows” was the basis on which the farms reputation was built.

Stuart had an early impact in the Snoqualmie Valley, and this impact continues to this day. The farmland originally purchased in 1908 has gone through several transitions, a few different owners, and operational changes, but today it is still known as Carnation Farms and it functions in a manner akin to the early days with a special emphasis on stewardship.  

E.A. Stuart unveiling the monument of “Possum Sweetheart” at the annual Washington State Holstein-Friesian Association picnic, held at Carnation Farms on July 31, 1928

Presently, Carnation Farms is a nonprofit organization and Salmon-Safe certified farm, still owned by the Stuarts and still operating with the historic stewardship practices embodied by E.A. Stuart. Rosy Smit, Director of Sustainable Agriculture Education, boasts “Carnation Farms and Stewardship Partners have been working together since 2013 on sustainability initiatives, community education and environmental stewardship. Our mission is to transform the way that people want to eat, and we celebrate delicious and nutritious food produced in a sustainable manner by providing inspirational and educational experiences that positively affect the health of our community and the environment. We deeply value ecosystem health and working with Stewardship Partners has enabled us to restore large tracts of riverbank and enhance riparian corridors, all the while educating farm guests, and summer camp and youth program participants about how to not only responsibly farm the land but also how we strive to be good stewards of our property. Stewardship Partners provides us with education and ecological restoration expertise, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration and making an impactful difference, not just on our farm but in our local community. We are excited to include ecological education in our Mentorship in Sustainable Agriculture program this year, where our farmers-in-training will experience firsthand how riverbank restoration can impact the local ecology on the farm and in the greater community.”

You can come learn more about Carnation Farms, their commitment to stewardship, and our partnership with them restoring riparian habitat at one of the volunteer events we host there each spring and fall.

Crew for Hire!

The Snoqualmie Stewardship restoration crew extended their reach recently with a collaborative effort between Capri Hospitality Management, the City of Woodinville, and a few other partners. The crew has always been for hire, but more and more businesses and new partners are approaching us to work on restoration projects, mitigation projects, and collaborative efforts outside our normal routine of riparian restoration on agricultural lands. This recognition is a great way to expand our breadth of work while maintaining our focus on providing clean water, healthy habitat, and engaged community partners.

 

This September they worked to stabilize nearly 200 feet of stream bank on the property of the new Hampton Inn and Suites in Woodinville, WA. This project offered the crew a chance to hone their bioengineering skills by stabilizing a steep and challenging bank along a tributary of Little Bear Creek, a creek historically known for salmon spawning.

As Stewardship Partners gains this new knowledge and expertise, expanding our services offered to landowners, businesses, and other organizations/agencies, the Snoqualmie Stewardship Restoration crew is available to work on slope/bank stabilization, volunteer event management, riparian habitat restoration, wetland restoration, upland forest restoration, implementing green infrastructure features such as rain gardens, and mitigation projects.

 

Additionally, the entire Stewardship Partners’ staff is available to be hired for consultation and opportunity assessments, project design, mitigation design, permitting assistance, implementation, and maintenance. Our full-time restoration crew and Director of Ecological Restoration combined have over 25 years of experience providing these services to landowners and communities and have restored over 72 acres of degraded habitat. We are excited to share our expertise, muscle, and passion with a wider audience in the years to come!

New Partners in the Snoqualmie Valley

Partnership is a central characteristic of Stewardship Partners’ core values and is one of the reasons why our work has such wide-ranging impact. A great example of partnership is our recent collaboration with Aspect Consulting  to build the Carnation Elementary School Rain Garden.

In the summer of 2017, Owen Reese, a Water Resources Engineer with Aspect Consulting, contacted Stewardship Partners offering design, project management, and hands-on construction expertise for any volunteer opportunities with our 12,000 Rain Gardens program. The Carnation Elementary School Rain Garden provided the perfect project to exercise this exciting partnership.

Planting and engineering design for Carnation Elementary School Rain Garden. Design by Aspect Consulting/ Owen Reese.

Within a month of Owen’s first email, Aspect conducted a detailed soil analysis and sent us a professional garden design and planting plan, which were quickly approved by both school administrators and the school district. Aspect Consulting’s technical expertise immensely helps to complete projects quickly and efficiently. The Aspect team then returned a few months later to install this new rain garden, joining even more volunteers from the Carnation Elementary School Environmental Club. Today, the rain garden flourishes. From this successful rain garden project, we recently heard that that the King County Flood Control District agreed to fund a second rain garden at Carnation Elementary School through their Flood Reduction Fund. We’re thrilled to build this second rain garden and our partners at Aspect Consulting are already on-board to help!

Stewardship Partners and Aspect Consulting staff at the Carnation Elementary School rain garden ribbon cutting and volunteer event.

But Aspect Consulting’s professional assistance, volunteering, and pro-bono work doesn’t stop at rain gardens. Later this fall, we are teaming up with Aspect at Carnation Farms to engage their staff in an Adopt-a-Buffer – planting native trees and shrubs on one of our biggest restoration sites along the Snoqualmie River.

Inspired? You can help, too! Visit our volunteer calendar to sign up for an event that fits your schedule. Our volunteer events are a great way to be a stewardship partner and are fun for the whole family!

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.

Snoqualmie Tribe: Stewarding the Land Since Time Immemorial

The Snoqualmie Valley has been home to the Snoqualmie Tribe (Sdukwalbixw) since time immemorial. Long before European explorers came to the Pacific Northwest, Snoqualmie people hunted deer and elk, fished for salmon and gathered berries and wild plants for food and medicine. By comparison, Stewardship Partners’ Snoqualmie Stewardship program has been restoring agricultural land in the valley merely for the past 15 years. We have been partnering with the Tribe’s Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) program for much of that time, planting native trees and shrubs and removing noxious weeds along the river, as we educate the broader community, connecting them to their land and water. Through this partnership our relatively new role is connected to a much older stewardship tradition.

Snoqualmie Valley family, early 1900’s.
Credit: Snoqualmie Valley Museum

One of our earliest joint-projects supported ENR’s mission to restore traditional ecological knowledge by planting species historically used by the tribe for harvests and medicine along the river at Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center. Our latest collaboration addresses the problem of stormwater pollution by building a demonstration rain garden at Carnation Elementary School; adding to several green infrastructure installations that ENR has constructed on tribal property. This rain garden will treat approximately 150,000 gallons of runoff annually from 6,500 sq. ft. of the school’s roof. This project will give students a real-world example of green infrastructure that improves water quality and create green space. ENR’s toolkit for conserving the Snoqualmie Valley also includes water quality monitoring and a robust recycling and composting program.

In addition to the above projects, we have been working with the tribe since 2015 on a series of educational habitat restoration events at Tolt MacDonald Park and Fall City Community Park, thanks to a King County Small Partnerships grant. Through these efforts, we have planted thousands of trees, engaged hundreds of community volunteers and educated many students. Today, if you drive over the Snoqualmie River on Tolt Hill Road and look to the north, parallel to the Tolt River, you will see a young forest of native alders, cottonwoods, and conifers emerging from what was once a giant swath of non-native, invasive blackberry. We are grateful for our partnership with the Snoqualmie Tribe and for their continued leadership as stewards of the Snoqualmie Valley.

Growing Together: Adopt-a-Buffer Gains Support from Campbell Global

Restoring habitat along the Snoqualmie River is hard work that can be bolstered by a group effort. Thanks to Valley landowners and local businesses, collaboration is becoming much easier through Stewardship Partners’ Adopt-a-Buffer program.

Campbell Global, a Portland-based sustainable timber company that also works in the Snoqualmie Valley, is the latest company to adopt a buffer. The firm was founded in 1981 as The Campbell Group and they bring over three decades of experience and industry knowledge to timberland investment management and value creation.

As the new owner and operator of the 100,000 acre Snoqualmie Forest, Campbell Global is also the largest landowner in the Snoqualmie Valley. This is significant as the watershed supports some of the largest runs of wild Coho in Puget Sound, due in part to an intricate network of beaver ponds in the tributaries that flow through the Snoqualmie Forest. Griffin Creek, one of these tributaries, winds through Full Circle Farm on its way to the Snoqualmie River. Full Circle Farm, a Salmon-Safe certified farm that runs the largest Community Supported Agriculture program in the Northwest, is the site of Campbell Global’s adopted buffer.

We have been actively engaged in restoration at Full Circle Farm since 2004 and are proud of the example it sets for how we can all grow together for a sustainable Snoqualmie Valley and Puget Sound. Campbell Global is dedicated to practices that will protect the watershed as they support our efforts downriver from the Snoqualmie Forest.

Their dedication to the river’s health was apparent on October 6th, when a team of Campbell Global employees spent hours removing invasive blackberry in preparation for planting next spring. This work contributed to the health of “their” buffer that will provide a habitat corridor for wildlife, shade for salmon and protection against winter floods. We are proud of this new partnership that plays a key role in enhancing the health of the Snoqualmie River and all of its inhabitants.

Campbell Global joins the ranks of the Boeing CompanyMicrosoftDuke’s Chowder HouseStarbucks Partners for SustainabilityPatagonia, the Caring Club and multiple agricultural landowners in the Adopt-a-Buffer program. You too can join them by adopting a buffer today.

For more information about Adopt-a-Buffer, please contact Chris LaPointe at cl@stewardshippartners.org.