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.

New Partnership with Grow It Forward Restoration

Snoqualmie Stewardship is now partnering with Grow It Forward Restoration which offers some unique new volunteer opportunities for folks. More information from GIFR below!

Do you own a pickup truck? You can use it to heal our environment by delivering native tree seedlings to habitat restoration projects!  “Grow It Forward Restoration” (GIFR) is a new local non-profit that organizes gardeners to each grow 100 native tree seedlings in a “micro-nursery” in their gardens, which we sell at below cost to the many habitat organizations in our region who toil to restore ecologically vital habitat for endangered species like salmon and the orcas that feed on them. GIFR’s mission is to empower average citizens to be personally involved in habitat restoration by connecting them to the organizations who do this work.

We rely on a small fleet of volunteer pickup truck owner/drivers like you! Pickups make deliveries at 2 different times of the year. If you sign up to be on our list, you can choose to help out or not as follows:

This October and November, GIFR’s small fleet of pickup truck owners deliver finished seedlings to the sites where they will start a new forest. As we get orders for seedlings, we will ask if you are available during a specific time period to make a delivery as follows:

  • We ask if you can make deliveries up to 2 weeks in advance. If so, we provide contact information for 2 or 3 micro-nursery hosts, and the organization getting the seedlings.
  • You contact everyone and arrange a time to pick up the seedlings from each host then deliver them to a local restoration organization’s site.
  • You go to each micro-nursery, several days in advance if you like, and with the host’s help, load the potted seedlings into your truck. Each is about 5 lbs, 3 feet tall in a pot 4 inches square and 10 inches tall. A pickup truck holds 200 to 250 seedlings.
  • You deliver the seedlings to the grateful habitat restoration organization at the scheduled time and location.

In March of each year, GIFR distributes raw materials for new micro-nurseries to a new set of gardeners who will host them for 1 to 2 growing seasons. We need pickup truck owner/drivers to deliver 500 lbs of clean topsoil for each new micro-nursery as follows:

  • We ask if you are available up to 2 weeks in advance of our kickoff date, usually the first weekend in March. If so, we give you the contact information for 2 or 4 new micro-nursery hosts.
  • You reach out each host to arrange when and where to deliver 500 lbs of soil to each.
  • You go to a Pacific Topsoils location at a time convenient to you. You tell them to charge the soil to us. They load your truck with 1/2 cubic yard of topsoil (about 1,000 lbs for 2 micro-nurseries), or 1 cubic yard if your truck has the capacity.
  • You then drive to each gardener’s home and shovel the soil off the back of your truck. (The host is responsible for picking up 100 pots and bare root seedlings from us). The soil is very fluffy and fairly easy to shovel down off the truck since gravity is working for you!

You may also consider becoming one of our micro-nursery hosts. Here is how that goes:

  • You must live in the Seattle/East side area and have basic gardening skills
  • Pay $100 to Grow It Forward Restoration for the materials for your micro-nursery (500 lbs of soil, delivered, 100 bare root baby seedlings, 100 plastic nursery pots)
  • You must pot all 100 seedlings within 2 days of getting them on the first Sunday in March, requiring about 5 hrs. of light work.
  • You need to devote 16 square feet (4 feet by 4 feet for example) of garden space that has partial sun and shade (full sun is too much, full shade with dappled sun is good, half sun and half shade each day is good.)
  • You agree to host the micro-nursery for one or two growing seasons until the seedlings are big enough, keeping them in a partially shaded spot, and watered through spring and summer dry spells.

If you are interested, please go to our website https://growitfwd.org/ where you will find two forms, one to be a pickup truck owner/driver, and one to host a micro-nursery. Signing up to be a pickup truck driver/owner will put you on our list of possible drivers, and we will later contact you as we are ready to make deliveries and ask if you are available. If you sign up to host a micro-nursery, we will send you a PayPal invoice for $100, then as March approaches, arrange for delivery of your soil and tell you how to pick up your pots and baby seedlings (probably from the Phinney Neighborhood Center in N Seattle).

Stewardship Partners Seeks Board Members

Interested in getting involved in a local non-profit organization with a direct impact on Puget Sound? Do you love our area and want to have a hand in programs that engage landowners, shopkeepers, homeowners, builders, and corporations in taking care of our land and water? Stewardship Partners is actively recruiting board members with a diversity of voices in our community. Our low-key, approachable board meets six times annually to help guide and govern the high-impact, hands-on work of Stewardship Partners. If you’ve never been on a board before, but are interested in making an impact locally, please contact info@stewardshippartners.org.

Have a Pint for a Purpose – June 8th

Join us for Pints for Purpose at Wheelie Pop Brewing in Ballard on June 8th! $1 from every pint sold will go to Stewardship Partners! Come hang out with us, have a beer and learn how you can help protect and restore the Puget Sound!

Wednesday June 8th – Meet Staff from 4-7pm
Benefit Hours 3-10pm
Wheelie Pop Brewing
1110 NW 50th St – Seattle 98107

Feast on the Farm is Back!

Save the date for the 13th Annual Feast on the Farm on September 24, 2022, and immerse yourself in the world of sustainability happening all around us. Come be a part of this magical night at Griffin Creek Farm, a Stewardship Partner dedicated to sustainable farming practices. Feast on the bounty of food prepared by local chef Kevin Murray of Ray’s Boathouse and oysters from Baywater Shellfish Company prepared by Seabird, of Hitchcock Restaurant Group. Raise a glass of Salmon-Safe wine and break bread with like-minded community members engaged in caring for our region. Settle in on a haystack to the sounds of a secret, soon to be announced musician.

A limited number of tickets will go on sale June 21st!
If you are interested in sponsoring our fundraiser or volunteering your time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

In Memoriam – Hiram Scott Wallace

On April 4, 2022, we lost a long-time partner and Snoqualmie Valley mainstay. Hiram Scott Wallace, an advocate of environmental conservation, agricultural stewardship, and a wealth of Snoqualmie Valley history will be dearly missed.  Chris LaPointe, Stewardship Partners Director of Ecological Restoration, says they will miss their frequent meetings and lunches with Scott at his favorite local Chinese restaurant, Twin Dragon in Duvall. Scott’s legacy will live on as Stewardship Partners continues to restore salmon habitat on his former family dairy farm known as “Wallace Acres.”  Read Scott’s Obituary Here

A newspaper clipping shared by Scott’s Family

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.

It’s Earth Month!

April is our favorite time of the year! The sun is showing itself again, temps are warming up (ever so slightly), new leaves are beginning to reveal themselves, it’s planting season and it’s EARTH MONTH! It’s been almost three years since we’ve been able to celebrate Earth Day in the field by engaging the public in direct environmental action. Earth Day turns 42 years old on April 22nd and we invite you to help us celebrate it all month long. We are organizing multiple riparian restoration events focusing on salmon habitat restoration on the Snoqualmie River in Carnation and Duvall, WA (dates below). Join us in the celebration!

As we head into Earth month, we’ve got some great events in the works! 

  • Centennial Fields Park Rain Garden Maintenance – Saturday April 9th, 2022 (9am-12pm) – Sign Up Here
     
  • Salmon Habitat Restoration on the Snoqualmie River – Saturday April 16th (10am-2pm) – Sign Up Here
     
  • Salmon Habitat Restoration with Stewardship Partners & Long Live the Kings – Friday April 22nd (10am-2pm) – Sign Up Here
     
  • City of Duvall Earth and Arbor Day Celebration at Depot Park – Saturday April 23rd (11am-2pm): stop by our table to learn about green stormwater infrastructure and enter to win a free rain barrel! More Info Here
     
  • Feast on the Farm – September 24th, 2022 – More info coming soon!

Save the Date – Feast on the Farm is BACK!

We are beyond excited to return to hosting Feast on the Farm in person! This year will look a little different as we celebrate a few months later than usual. Please mark your calendars for Feast on the Farm – September 24th, 2022 at Griffin Creek Farm in Carnation, WA! If you are interested in sponsoring our fundrasier, please don’t hesitate to get in touch