New Program Offers Free Rain Gardens and Cisterns

Pearl Jam Guitarist Stone Gossard and Local Residents Promote Win-Win Solution to Protect Puget Sound, Reduce Flooding, and Improve Health

SEATTLE – With Spring upon us, a new ad campaign on radios and buses around King County calls on people to become “Rain Changers” by creating rain gardens at their homes and businesses. The best part? The City of Seattle and King County will pick up the bill for eligible properties.

“Rain gardens and cisterns can prevent flooding on your property, keep your basement dry, and protect Puget Sound from pollution,” said Aaron Clark, director of strategic partnerships at Stewardship Partners, which is running the Rain Changers campaign. “With public dollars available, this is a no brainer.”

Every time it rains, stormwater carries pollution from our roofs, driveways and sidewalks into local creeks, and ultimately into Puget Sound. Recent research, for example, found tire dust washed into local streams and the Sound killed 40 to 90 percent of returning coho salmon before they spawn.

One residential rain garden can divert 70-100 percent of the rainwater from a property. If 12,000 homeowners build rain gardens, 160 million gallons of polluted stormwater would be treated, helping to protect the Sound. Rain gardens also keep water out of basements, keeping them dry and preventing unhealthy mold.

Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, who is currently planning his second rain garden, is lending star power to the campaign. In one radio ad he notes, “if you want to keep your basement dry and the Sound clean, cisterns and rain gardens are a beautiful way to help.”

The campaign introduces the Orca, the Salmon, and the Octopus, local residents of Puget Sound who support the use of cisterns and rain gardens to protect their homes. One such project is at Duwamish Co-Housing, where new cisterns are helping to prevent flooding and keep polluted stormwater out of the Duwamish River.

“We were so fortunate to receive three 265-gallon cisterns through a grant from King County,” said Ruth Anne, a neighborhood champion who lives at Duwamish Co-Housing. “So many people could benefit from these cisterns and rain gardens – and help Puget Sound – if only they knew the money was there to pay for them.”

Funding for rain gardens comes from two sources, depending on the property location. RainWise, operated by Seattle Public Utilities and King County Wastewater Treatment Division, offers rebates for projects in eligible drainage basins; the average rebate is $4,200. For properties that are not eligible for RainWise rebates, there are Green Stormwater Infrastructure Mini Grants through Stewardship Partners of up to $1,500 or $4,500 for income-limited people and nonprofits.

Rain gardens make financial sense, as they keep stormwater out of the sewers and reduce infrastructure costs. For example, Seattle Public Utilities estimated that natural drainage systems – like rain gardens – would cost $410,000 per block, compared to $720,000 for traditional infrastructure – a savings of more than 40 percent. To check your eligibility and learn more about the Rain Changers program, visit

About Stewardship Partners

Stewardship Partners is a nonprofit organization that creates people-based solutions to engage Puget Sound communities as caretakers of land and water. Stewardship Partners was founded over 20 years ago, as Puget Sound was in a steep ecological decline. The organization focuses on the role of private landowners—people with a deep connection to the land and a strong motivation to act as responsible stewards of the ecosystem. Starting with a single farmer in the Snoqualmie River Valley, the organization has grown into a national model for developing effective, people-based solutions and engaging communities as caretakers of the land and water. Its programs include Snoqualmie Stewardship (including Adopt-a-Buffer), Salmon-Safe, and Green Infrastructure (including City Habitats, 12,000 Rain Gardens, Green Infrastructure Summit of the Salish Sea and Sound Impacts). More at

Good Stewardship at your Home Office

These days many companies have office environmental policies around recycling, disposable water bottles, indoor air quality, and commuter policies. Now that many of us are working from home, how can we keep our eco-wits about us and stay committed to reducing our environmental footprint, even while keeping our families healthy and safe?

Of course, the lack of commute is a major positive impact on carbon emissions, as millions of Americans are now telecommuting. With changing attitudes, technology adoption, and shifting company policies, this is likely to be a lasting legacy from the pandemic. Fewer daily commuters result in fewer emissions, less traffic congestion, and potentially more mixed-use transportation opportunities (bicycles, public transit, etc.).

As we adjust to telework during the age of Covid, it is important to consider best practices for cleaning and disinfecting. While many of us reach for the most potent chemicals we could find to wipe down surfaces, phones, and common touchpoints around the home; there are ways to manage proper cleaning and disinfection without compromising our health. Many of these products could be extremely hazardous, causing asthma and other respiratory weakness, or are known to be carcinogenic. Fortunately, you don’t have to poison your family with chemicals to keep them safe from the Coronavirus.

For routine cleaning (including handwashing), it is recommended to look for products that contain a credible third-party eco-label such as GreenSeal, EPA Safer Choice, or Eco Logo. Disinfectants, however, are actually regulated as a pesticide by the EPA and therefore are not permitted to use these ecolabels. However, the list of “EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus (List N)” contains many ‘least toxic’ choices.

Avoid bleach and ammonia-based products, they are unnecessary and extremely toxic to human health and the environment. Instead, look for Hydrogen Peroxide-based, Ethyl Alcohol-based, or Thymol-based disinfectants or those that contain the active ingredients Citric acid, L-lactic acid, or Caprylic acid (octanoic acid). For further advice, see the Disinfectant guides put by our friends at GreenSeal as well as the Environmental Working Group. Of course, always follow the cleaning recommendations available from the Center for Disease Control.

As we set up our home office, we can also start thinking about energy conservation—time to replace those old light bulbs with LEDs, reducing energy consumption by 70%. Make sure your computer is set to sleep mode after 15 minutes, unplug appliances when not in use, keep your HVAC system maintained and operating efficiently, and ensure your windows and doors are well sealed. One of the biggest impacts you could have regarding energy consumption is to make sure you are purchasing the Solar Choice or Green Power options from  Puget Sound Energy (for just pennies more per KwH).

Regarding minimizing waste, carefully consider what you could do to reduce, reuse, or recycle. Purchase used or repurposed equipment and furniture, minimize or even eliminate your use of single-use plastic, ensure your compostable food scraps make it to your Green Bin, and buy products from local vendors over the convenience of an online click. And a personal pet peeve of mine, please replace your Keurig or other single-use coffee pod machine with a less disposable option as these pods are becoming a surprisingly large component of the waste stream.

Finally, as the rainy season arrives in Western Washington, it is time to think about polluted runoff from our driveways, roofs, and pavement flowing into the storm drains or directly to streams and the Puget Sound. Now would be a perfect time to find out where your downspouts direct runoff and consider installing a rain garden or cistern to help rainwater infiltrate into the ground instead of polluting local waterways. Of course, Stewardship Partners’ 12,000 Rain Gardens Program is a resource to help you do this.

This “great pause” provides us a tremendous opportunity to think about our values, our actions, our community, and the kind of world we want to create. Together let’s be partners in stewarding a better future.

Written by Lawrence Nussbaum, former Program Director and early leader of Stewardship Partners who pioneered the Salmon-Safe program in Washington State. He currently works as a Senior Sustainability Consultant for the California-based consulting firm, Environmental Innovations, providing Green Business services to government and corporate clients. More information about Lawrence could be found at

King County Employees Can Now Be Stewardship Partners!

We are thrilled to announce that Stewardship Partners has been accepted into the King County Employee Giving Program’s 2020 cycle, including the Annual Giving Drive (October 5 to November 20) and volunteer opportunities! Our unique four digit code is #Ø825.

If you work for King County, please consider making Stewardship Partners the recipient of your employee giving. Your support helps us strengthen partnerships with property owners working to improve regional water quality, restore fish and wildlife habitat, protect wetlands and open space, and encourage green infrastructure within our local built environment.

Feast Home Delivery

This Year, We’re Coming Your Way

This year, we aren’t able to gather at a community farm table, but the urgency of sustainability is more clear than ever before. Along with it, the need for community has never been more felt. So rather than postpone we are bringing the Feast to you and your pod. Introducing Feast Home Delivery, a world of sustainability brought to your doorstep. What does this look like? A fun-filled evening with a private farm to table experience, unlike any other.

Each meal kit serves two and is priced at $150 and features a vast variety of local fresh veggies from Full Circle Farm, sustainably caught wild salmon from Halmia Fish, Salmon-Safe wines from Novelty Hill Januik Winery and coffee from Caffe Vita. Through collaboration Seattle chefs and restauranteurs, Zoi Antonitsas, Ethan Stowell (Ethan Stowell Restaurants), and Joe Ianelli (Harvest Beat) have curated a three-course meal that will come from the farm straight to your table. Meal kits will be delivered to your doorstep on October 2nd or 3rd, including an opportunity to watch these three chefs prepare the meals with a step by step cooking video guide.

Join us Saturday October 3rd for a virtual experience with an exclusive panel discussion with farmers, Andrew Stout, and Wendy Munroe to learn about local, sustainable farming practices and stewardship. To keep the spirit of the Feast alive and to connect us now more than ever, we will have a virtual toast, raise the paddle and a live performance by a local musician. We hope you can join us for an unforgettable night.

Menu Details:

King Salmon with Warm Sunchoke, Farro and Leek Salad with Parsley Lemon dressing, prepared by Chef Ethan Stowell

Wild Foraged Lobster Mushroom Bisque topped with Marcrina Potatoes Crostini and Tonnamaker Roasted Pepper Relish, prepared by Chef Joe Ianelli

Griffin Creek Farm Salad, prepared by Chef Zoi Antonitsas

Choice of red, white or rosé from Novelty Hill Januik Winery

Coffee from Caffe Vita

Macarons from Trophy Cupcakes

Vegetarian option: Smoked delicatas Squash cup stuffed with Celery Root and Cashew Cheese, served with warm Sunchoke, Farro and Leek Salad with Parsley Lemon dressing.

Delivery Details:
-Delivery is available to homes within 30 miles of Seattle (excluding locations requiring ferry travel)
-A pickup location will be available to individuals outside of delivery area

Please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring, donating or volunteering. All proceeds from Feast Home Delivery go directly towards Stewardship Partners’ conservation and restoration initiatives.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Green Infrastructure Summit 2020 Hindsight

At Stewardship Partners we are always thinking about the ways we can change our world. Over the last 5 years of convening the Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit, we have learned a lot about the intersection between environmental and social issues. We have tried to center racial equity and social justice in this community and make green infrastructure a tool for improving the most impacted environments first and foremost. This year, we adapted to a global pandemic and brought forward 9 virtual panel discussions over 4 weeks. We covered big ideas and impacts that go way beyond water alone. Topics of discussion 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.

Looking back on those discussions and the amazing people leading them and looking ahead to the incredible challenges in front of us, it is this collaborative group of brilliant and compassionate people that gives us hope. Our community is poised to respond and is responding right now. The green infrastructure community is building innovative new systems, both social and physical, that account for what might be downstream.

Solutions that simultaneously improve social equity and environmental quality must be a part of our path forward. As the nation and the world look for ways to recover and rebuild, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in better solutions that meet that challenge, and many of those ideas can be found in the recorded summit sessions here. From every sector and across the region, these are many of the leaders who are already making it happen. Recovering from the current overlapping crises is, by definition, not a matter of going back to the way things were. It is a matter of restoring justice for our communities and restoring the natural systems on which we all depend.

We are immensely grateful to all 53 speakers, 336 attendees, our sponsors, our amazing host committee, advisory committee, Cascadia Consulting and Stewardship Partners teams. Thank you all for helping us lead the first virtual Summit!

Keeping Salmon Safe in the Age of COVID-19

Like many of you, we have had to adjust the ways in which we do our work due to COVID-19. One particular challenge has been moving forward with certifying and re-certifying farms as Salmon-Safe, which requires a site assessment that has historically been in person with a third party assessor. After some diligent work by the Salmon-Safe team, we are thrilled to have protocols in place for virtual assessments of farms during the 2020 growing season and beyond. Growers, Salmon-Safe staff, and independent assessors will work together on Zoom or similar online conferencing platforms. These virtual assessments replace customary on-site assessments for the time being. For existing Salmon-Safe certified farms, we also have the flexible options of doing a virtual re-assessment or offering a 12-month extension of certification to these farms. We are very excited to have these new protocols in place that allow us to keep this program running smoothly and continue our partnerships with local farms. If you are interested in becoming Salmon-Safe or re-certifying, please email us

Organic Kale at Oxbow Farm, Duvall, Washington

One specific area we plan to put our virtual assessment practices in place is Mason County. Stewardship Partners recently received grant funding from Squaxin Island Tribe to do Salmon-Safe outreach to growers in Mason County. Our hope is to bring new farms on board with Salmon-Safe, and we also have scholarship funding to help cover the fees associated with certification. If you know of any growers in Mason County who would be interested in learning more about Salmon-Safe, please email us. We look forward to working with new farms and acknowledging the good work being done by local growers.  

Welcome Todd!

Stewardship Partners is pleased to welcome Todd Albertson to the office staff. Todd first joined Stewardship Partners in 2018 as an intern. A transplant from Northern California, he received a degree in history from the University of Washington and later a Masters of Public Administration from the Evans School at UW where he specialized in policy analysis and environmental policy. He is excited to use his policy knowledge to better the Puget Sound region through his role managing grants at Stewardship Partners. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, watching sports (Go Dawgs!) and exploring the Puget Sound region. 

Black Lives Matter: A Message from Stewardship Partners

Dear Stewardship Partners community,

Stewardship Partners stands in solidarity with and in support of Black lives. As a historically white-led environmental organization, we recognize the intersectionality of racial injustice and our contribution to a system designed to oppress Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We acknowledge that we are part of the problem and are committed to doing our part in dismantling this system that promotes racial violence and injustice.   

In this time of great sorrow and reflection, we acknowledge the injustices of our country and the structures of our society. We have been horrified by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Armaud Arbery, as well as the thousands who were murdered before them. Yet, we know that while a simple acknowledgment of solidarity may be necessary so that we do not sit in privileged silence, it is not enough to say that we stand with people of color. We must act. We must do more. We must be part of the solution.   

We need to look no further than the purpose of our organization, which revolves around engaging and empowering people, from every walk of life and community, in being caretakers of the land and water. Our actions will fall into the following categories: 

Listen – We will give space and listen to the voices of BIPOC communities.  

Show Up – We will follow the lead of BIPOC communities and support their vision of the antiracist environmental movement.  

Act – We will do the work to dismantle the system of institutionalized racism.

Collaborate – When invited, we will continue to collaborate with BIPOC partners.  

As an organization, we are committed to analyzing our practices and policies to push toward more significant racial equity. We know that because BIPOC communities are more greatly impacted by environmental damage, and we must change our behavior to meet the injustices these communities grapple with daily.   

In addition to promoting equitable and inclusive programming, we are deepening our commitment to:  

  1. Follow and revise our board-adopted Organizational Equity and Social Justice Value statement
  2. Define a leadership (board) recruitment strategy using a racial equity lens
  3. Review and revise our HR recruitment, hiring, and retention policy with a racial equity lens  
  4. Continue promotion/messaging acknowledging the moment, the injustice, and the history of racism in the country, as well as our understanding that we still have a lot of work to do internally

Stewardship Partners will continue to create people-based solutions that engage Puget Sound communities as caretakers of the land and water that sustain us. However, we won’t be able to fulfill this mission until we have racial justice on a systemic level. We vow to do our part in that process, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it will be.   

We stand in solidarity with Black lives, Stewardship Partners.

Support Clean Water & Healthy Habitat for Generations to Come!

Today is not just any regular Tuesday, today is GiveBIG and GivingTuesday! Our goal is to raise $5,000 for our programs!

Today, you can take a stand for a healthy Puget Sound environment. Together we can achieve clean water, sustainable agriculture, thriving salmon and orca populations, and healthy communities, throughout our region.

 Gifts of ANY size have an impact on our work!
 Donate $25  = buy ten trees for a volunteer to plant at one of our restoration sites
Donate $100 = provide a scholarship to a local family farm for Salmon-Safe certification
Donate $250 =  fund the planting of a rain garden at a local school or park

 This year, given the impacts of the coronavirus on Washington’s nonprofits, GiveBIG will be a two-day online giving event from May 5-6, with donations remaining open through May 15. So if you forget to make your gift today, you can still give!
Make Your Gift Today!

Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Days

Stewardship Partners’ mission and the essence of what we do on a daily basis is deeply rooted in the Earth Day movement. With today’s 50th anniversary we are proud to have participated in 20 years of Earth Day activities, projects and initiatives. Today we would like to pay homage to Denis Hayes, Earth Day founder/coordinator and presently the president and CEO of Seattle based Bullitt Foundation. Denis continues to inspire, fund and collaborate with organizations such as Stewardship Partners. As we look toward the future and envision what another 50 Earth Days looks like we invite you to join us as we continue make it Earth Day every day!   

Photo by Roddy Scheer

Earth Friendly Things You Can Do at Home