In 2020, Puget Soundkeeper’s successful legal actions, including mitigation settlements from Total Terminals International LLC and Waste Action Project v. Port of Olympia, directed $560,169 to the Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund. In the Spring grant cycle, 20 grants were awarded for projects in Puget Sound related to conservation, restoration, citizen science, and environmental education. They include:
Adopt a Stream Foundation
$35,000 for Strawberry Fields Buffer Enhancement
Region: Quilceda Creek – Central Sound
Strawberry Fields Park, a 72-acre park owned by the City of Marysville, contains 2,622 feet of the main stem of the Middle Fork Quilceda Creek, including one unnamed tributary. The Middle Fork Quilceda violates state water quality standards for both bacteria, and dissolved oxygen levels. The poor water quality is attributed to multiple factors. These factors include the loss of riparian habitat and lower base flows, as well as improper manure management, septic failure, and pet waste. The overall goals of this project are to improve water quality in Quilceda Creek through the restoration of 14.6 acres of riparian forest. Funds will be used to fund the planting and maintenance activities required to do so. One of the major barriers to successful riparian plantings is supporting the new plantings while they become established. This funding will support AASF’s efforts to control invasive species such as reed canary grass, Himalayan blackberry, Japanese knotweed, and bittersweet nightshade; all which are established throughout the site. These invasive plants threaten both the survival of the installed native flora and could easily spread into additional sites downstream. This funding will also support hosting volunteer events to place plant-protectors onto installed native plants. Such protectors have been demonstrated to significantly improve protection from herbivory, which is commonly observed at this site.
$40,000 – Longfellow Creek Network
Region: Longfellow Creek Sub-basin – Duwamish River Basin, Elliot Bay
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), as part of a consent decree, is developing an overall plan to improve water quality by limiting combined sewer overflows into the City’s waterways using natural infrastructure for stormwater management. Longfellow Creek, an urban waterway that flows through Roxhill and Delridge in West Seattle before draining into the Duwamish River and Elliot Bay, is one watershed where several stakeholders are investing in natural infrastructure projects which could help achieve the City’s goals. However, there is little coordination occurring amongst the stakeholders to ensure projects are being implemented in an integrated fashion. American Rivers will leverage their momentum on their Roxhill Bog restoration project to coordinate local partners and provide a platform to: showcase their work in the Longfellow Creek watershed, explore collaboration and find funding opportunities that will amplify and accelerate natural infrastructure projects.
Capital Region ESD 113
$9,907 Watershed Education for South Sound Adjudicated Youth
Region: Deschutes River, Budd Inlet, South Puget Sound
This request would help to fund a new watershed education program for adjudicated youth in the South Sound. A new environmental education program is being implemented at the Thurston County Juvenile Detention Center in Olympia, Washington. This program includes weekly watershed education workshops or field experiences for adjudicated youth age 12-17. The program is coordinated by a regional science educator who will bring local environmental professionals to give workshops on a wide variety of topics including water quality, salmon habitat, ocean acidification, micro plastics, wastewater, surface water runoff, local wildlife, native plants and environmental jobs. The youth will also be able to attend field experience and restoration work in nearby locations led by local environmental organizations such as Thurston Conservation District, Pacific Shellfish Institute, Lott Clean Water Alliance, Thurston County Water Resources, Wolf Haven International, Pacific Education Institute and others. The youth will learn how to be better environmental stewards and gain an understanding of their local environments. All the activities will be centered around the Deschutes watershed and Budd Inlet and will be focused on improving local water quality.
Center for Biological Diversity
$30,000 – Fighting Destructive Net Pen Aquaculture in Puget Sound
Region: Puget Sound
The Center for Biological Diversity will work alongside peer organizations to challenge permit applications to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) regarding harmful net pen aquaculture operations throughout Puget Sound. In 2017, a catastrophic net pen failure resulted in the escape of over 250,000 Atlantic salmon at Cooke Aquaculture’s Cypress Island facility. Washington subsequently passed a law banning all open water net pen aquaculture of Atlantic salmon by 2022. Despite this ban, WDFW issued a new permit in January 2020, allowing for continued net pen operations in Puget Sound which transitioned to a domesticated, partially sterile form of steelhead. However, these operations would still pose a significant danger to Puget Sound habitat, as these fish are capable of interbreeding as well as exchanging pathogens and parasites with native wild steelhead, an endangered species.
Working with the Center for Food Safety, Wild Fish Conservancy, and Friends of the Earth, the Center has filed suit in state court challenging WDFW’s permit approval, charging that it poses significant environmental risks and depends on mitigation measures that will not prevent harm. Briefing begins this spring. In addition to litigation efforts, the Center and partners will engage and organize with tribes and local fishing communities to mobilize against this threat, with a goal of defeating the proposal and putting an end to all net pen fish-farming in Washington – the last state on the West Coast to allow the practice.
Friends of Skagit Beaches
$20,000 – Anacortes Citizen Science Water Quality Initiative
Region: Anacortes, Fidalgo Island
The City of Anacortes has 79 storm water outfalls that are subject to monitoring for water quality under their stormwater discharge permit. The City meets the permit requirements for monitoring; however, the Storm Water Division is interested in a greater volume of data collection. This project establishes a partnership between Friends of Skagit Beaches and the City of Anacortes to make available additional resources by using a crew of trained citizen science volunteers. The City will provide required monitoring criteria, quality assurance guidelines, and be responsible for any lab analyses of samples collected under this project for certain contaminants. Collected data will be documented, analyzed and available to residents and other constituents.
Friends of Skagit Beaches (Friends) will train, outfit, and coordinate citizen science volunteers to take field measurements and collect samples from storm water outfalls in the city. Volunteers will be recruited from the Salish Sea Stewards program. These volunteers receive general training on the marine ecology, critical eco-systems and habitats, and organizations in Skagit County working to preserve, protect, and restore those critical resources. Friends is one of the organizations affiliated with this program and routinely uses Salish Sea Stewards volunteers to support our projects. Other interested community members will also be invited to participate.
This project will establish baseline data on Anacortes storm water discharges into local bays and waterways. This will enable the City to prioritize their discharge sampling and help to identify outfalls that require action to mitigate pollution at upstream sources. By involving local citizens in storm water monitoring and making data publicly available, the project will increase visibility of water quality issues and engage the public in seeking solutions to problems that impact their water quality.
Green River Coalition
$39,730 – Soos Creek Basin Community Building, City of Kent/Green River Collaboration, and Operations Support
Region: Soos Creek Basin, Green River
Grant project funding will support Green River Coalition’s (GRC) new and ongoing projects including our CWM ReGreen 2018 grant based on restoration work within the Soos Creek Basin and their CWM ReGreen the Green 2019 grant based on restoration work within the lower Green River, Tukwila. GRC hopes to leverage the grant with additional funding from ReGreen 2020, which further continue restoration efforts within the Soos Creek Basin while expanding work in the City of Kent on the main stem Green River and on the Mill Creek/Springbrook Creek tributaries.
GRC will be closely coordinating the work they do in Kent with our Green the Green Network partners across three existing grants to continue and expand their coordination and mutual support on the Green River from Tukwila to Auburn. They anticipate starting invasive removal work with the City of Kent in the Mill/Springbrook basin later this summer. The Rose Foundation grant will help support the initial phase of this work until the anticipated Regreen 2020 grant, anticipated to be awarded in fall 2020. This project will also help to support employment for their part-time operations manager, who performs many of the oversight responsibilities including grant management, community outreach, and fundraising. The retainment of an operations manager has been a pivotal asset in increasing the overall capacity of their organization to facilitate more riparian restoration.
Harbor Wild Watch
$14,200- Community Science: Collecting Meaningful Data to Encourage Stewardship in the Salish Sea
Region: Key Peninsula–Gig Harbor–Islands (KGI) Watershed within Pierce and Kitsap Counties
Harbor Wild Watch’s (HWW) Community Science Experience (CSE) trains and guides citizens to collect meaningful scientific data at select south Puget Sound sites. This program includes beach monitoring at 10 locations, salmon observation, water quality monitoring, Rockfish surveys, beach clean-ups and, the newly added, sea bird and eelgrass surveys. Efforts in 2018-19 brought a total of 108 events with 1,506 community scientist participants. In 2020-21, HWW is seeking grant funding to fund existing CSE events, implement the newly developed monitoring protocol for eelgrass monitoring, expand the number of water quality sampling sites, continue to increase participation through improved promotion, and complete trend analysis of the last seven years of data using the GIS.
Olympia Coalition for Ecosystems Preservation
$40,000 – Ecosystem and Water Quality Enhancement through Watershed Restoration in Olympia, WA - Phase III
Region: Budd Inlet, Olympia, WA
The Olympia Coalition for Ecosystems Preservation (OCEP) recently conserved two acres on West Bay Drive that are contiguous with the now 18.5 acres of conserved land in the West Bay Woods in Olympia, WA. The entire West Bay Woods is an important watershed to West Bay in Budd Inlet, and represents a meaningful opportunity to address the significant water quality issues in Budd Inlet by enhancing stormwater infiltration and detoxification with green infrastructure. The eastern edge of the newly acquired properties consists of remnant feeder bluffs that once marked the pre-settlement shoreline of West Bay in Budd Inlet.
This site (directly across the bay from the Port of Olympia) has experienced significant disturbance over the past century. Most recently in 2014, the City of Olympia removed approximately 250 mature trees from the slope and surrounding area as part of the construction of a retaining wall and sidewalk. The City, however, neglected to implement the final stage of construction, a required tree plan. The result is a denuded slope that has experienced significant and predictable invasive species growth.
Funding will help OCEP restore and revegetate this area, and to construct a landscaped stormwater pond that would significantly enhance stormwater treatment of upland flows by increasing capacity and by reducing flow through the adjacent contaminated Reliable Steel site located on the Budd Inlet shoreline. The location of the proposed pond was once a paved parking lot for the Reliable Steel site before it shut down in 2009. Rose funding would be dedicated to the construction of the pond and associated check dams in the seasonal stream that is partly fed by two upland, Rose-funded green infrastructure projects.
The project represents a significant partnership-building opportunity for OCEP as they pivot from the forested watershed to the conservation, remediation and restoration of the post-industrial West Bay Shoreline that is currently a target for development.
Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT)
$40,000 – South Sound Healthy Watersheds Project
Region: WRIA 13, Budd/Deschutes, East Eld and Henderson Inlet watersheds.
Puget Soundkeeper will provide program development support to the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT) in Pollution Monitoring and Prevention in the South Puget Sound. The DERT mission is to restore and protect the Deschutes River and Budd Inlet watershed (DERT advocates for the removal of Olympia’s 5th Avenue Dam and the full restoration of the Deschutes Estuary). Since 2011, they have worked to educate the South Sound community on the benefits of estuary restoration and advocate for funding and necessary studies. They envision a restored urban estuary and functioning ecosystem in the headwaters of Puget Sound. Puget Soundkeeper will provide training, resources and logistical support to DERT to expand their capacity and assist them in becoming a Waterkeeper affiliate working in partnership with Soundkeeper and other waterkeepers and organizations in the region focused on the goal of restoring and protecting the waters of Puget Sound as a whole. DERT’s work will cover WRIA 13, which includes the Budd/Deschutes, east Eld and Henderson Inlet watersheds, with the intention of future expansion into WRIA 14, which includes Oakland Bay, Totten Inlet in the South Sound and southern portions of Hood Canal.
Salish Sea Sciences
$40,000 – Ecology and Conservation—Green-Duwamish Watershed Meets the Salish Sea
Region: Students from Green-Duwamish watershed
The project has two parts. Phase I is a 2-week immersive, residential summer Ecology and Conservation program tailored specifically to engage and empower 8-9 high schoolers—nominated by Unleash the Brilliance, an organization designed “to help close the achievement gap for students at the risk of academic failure and keep them out of the school to prison pipeline”—who have exhibited exceptional environmental leadership in their home communities in the Green-Duwamish River watershed.
Phase I will be hosted at the Salish Sea Sciences facility on San Juan Island in the Salish Sea, where freshwater and shorelines are precious and where the severe losses of southern resident orca remind us we are at an ecological precipice. The location also is one of the world’s most biologically diverse and home to a constellation of organizations and individuals with extraordinary expertise in marine and environmental sciences as well as advocacy, policy and law, offering what the National Monument Declaration suggests: “a refuge of scientific and historic treasures and a classroom for generations.” During Phase One, students will learn the arc of environmental science, action, and career awareness, highlighting the Salish Sea as a giant estuarial system from the mountains to the Sound and Straits and drawing attention to the fluidity between research and mitigation efforts pursued here in microcosm with that of the Green-Duwamish Rivers.
After completing Phase I, the students will return home to their watershed with a renewed energy to engage, enabled with action plans, and equipped with new knowledge and skills to exert a positive effect. Students obtaining a sense of belonging and agency in a place they can fully appreciate as their own, in the company of a tight cohort, and among mentors representing multiple fields of expertise and experience is a powerful thing. Phase II will support the students in using their new skills to implement restoration and green infrastructure projects in their home watershed of the Duwamish basin.
Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group
$6,332 – Skagit Watershed Community Restoration
Region: Skagit, Samish, and Sauk watersheds
For over two decades, Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group (SFEG) has sponsored a Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crew to complete restoration work in the Skagit, Samish, and Sauk watersheds. The WCC AmeriCorps program is designed to mentor new leaders in the field of restoration and provides young adults the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, field skills, and training certification related to habitat restoration. SFEG is seeking funds to support both their sponsored WCC crew and their restoration partners through donated WCC crew labor; and these restoration projects are, in large part, possible because of the work of the WCC crew, which implements the riparian planting, maintains the restoration sites, and provides the workforce for their knotweed program in the Sauk and upper Skagit watersheds. By providing funds to support the WCC crew, the Rose Foundation will increase their ability to work with more partners and create more opportunities for the WCC members to participate in volunteer events. SFEG strives to enable the WCC crew to participate in events that help them grow and utilize their leadership skills, such as their Earth Day and Make a Difference Day volunteer events. SFEG wants to create opportunities that enable WCC members to participate in other parts of our organization, like their native plant nursery or at their monitoring sites throughout the Skagit. They would support new or underfunded restoration projects by providing necessary labor to important restoration work. The grant will also help defray involvements in partners’ events, like Orca Recovery Day hosted by the Skagit Conservation District.
Sno-King Watershed Council
$25,000 – Protecting Puget Sound Streams via Project Reviews and Appeals Round 2
Region: Lake Washington-Cedar-Sammamish watershed, sub-basins of the Sammamish River, Swamp Creek, North Creek, Little Bear Creek, Snohomish watershed on the Skykomish River.
The water quality of Puget Sound is threatened by many land-disturbing development projects underway, especially those which do not comply with applicable codes, particularly relating to water quality, storm water flow control, wetland delineation, and wetland and stream buffer widths. Based on long-time volunteer watchdogging on a local level, Sno-King watershed Council believes that agencies and jurisdictions charged with reviewing applications and enforcing codes may fail in their due diligence and often approve projects which under closer scrutiny don’t meet the code requirements.
Expert members of the Sno-King Watershed Council have been reviewing permit submittals, engineering diagrams and calculations, wetland and critical area drawings and reports, offering comments, and filing appeals as appropriate. As a result of their reviews, comments, and appeals, they have been successful in protecting streams and wetlands, getting better water quality and flow control designs enacted, and obtained settlements which have been used for construction of rain gardens and other projects to benefit the water quality of Puget Sound. In addition to the direct benefit of these reviews and appeals, they also set precedents, their goal being better subsequent review processes by enforcement agencies.
They rely primarily on volunteer work for civil engineers and stormwater expertise, but also use paid consultants as needed including wetlands biologists and lawyers. They partner with affected downstream jurisdictions and other non-profits. The grant will help provide the capacity to increase the amount of work that they do in this vitally important area, especially regarding project reviews and appeals.
South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group
$35,000 – Butler Cove Estuary Restoration
Region: West side of Budd Inlet
The Butler Cove Estuary is the largest pocket estuary in Budd Inlet that drains Butler Creek which has three separate tributaries each with wetland complex headwaters and host 3 miles of potential habitat. Each year, multiple salmonid species attempt to reach these headwaters. Butler Cove estuary was modified and developed in the early 1930’s by the property owner for the installation of fish rearing ponds from the mouth of the estuary up 400’ to Windolph Road, a private road. The development consisted of installing an earth embankment across the estuary, a concrete spillway, an 18-inch bypass pipe and upstream concrete divider walls and spillways. But as time passed, fish rearing operations were abandoned, and as a result of neglected maintenance the impoundment filled with sediment. In 2006, the earthen dam failed, but the infrastructure remains. The project will: remove the remaining infrastructure; prepare a plan and work with local residents to address invasives; and let natural processes restore the creek bed. The project is fully designed and partially permitted.
Restoration of Butler Cove salt marsh is high priority for locally driven salmon restoration. Restoration of marine marshes like Butler Cove improve estuarine function compromised by physical alteration. The Windolph Road community has been advocating for and supportive of this project since 2003. The project received $192,000 from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. This grant provides match funding required by the State, and is essentially being leveraged x5 by the SRFB funding.
Stillwaters Environmental Center
$25,000 – Carpenter Creek Estuary Restoration, Research, & Monitoring Program
Region: Puget Sound, Appletree Cove, Carpenter Creek Estuary, Carpenter Lake, Carpenter Creek watershed, Kingfisher Creek, Crabapple Creek
This long-running restoration project in Central Puget Sound protects & restores over 30 acres of high-quality estuarine habitat in this crucial location for migrating salmonids. This estuary is one of the last refuges before the salmon head north into the Strait.
The monitoring program of the restoration project is critical to evaluation of the project effectiveness & in creating a reference site for restoration elsewhere around the Sound. They engage citizen-scientists & professionals, all volunteers, to conduct monitoring & research in the watershed on 20+ different parameters.
In 2020, they continue to document our procedures & protocol for their citizen-based monitoring program, & they will share more of that on our website. When they started the salt marsh monitoring, they had no reference sites to access for protocol or comparison. They see a need to be a reference for other restoration around the Sound, especially citizen-based projects.
Stillwater will use this restoration program to educate interns & graduate research students from Western Washington University, from the University of Washington, & other universities. They offer field trip sites for the local schools from preschool to college, & high school field studies for Kingston High School students. They also educate local citizens on the importance of watershed protection at a community & at an individual level.
The Common Acre
$35,000 – The Green Line Green Infrastructure Youth Crew
Region: Duwamish estuary sub-watershed; headwaters of the Duwamish River, Taylor Creek West Fork, and Lake Washington.
The Green Line is one of The Common Acre’s keystone projects: a 2-acre pollinator conservation project along the Creston-Duwamish transmission corridor of Seattle City Light, developed and managed by The Common Acre and their partners since 2015. This demonstration site that models how communities may repurpose inactive public space to enhance pollinator habitat, food resilience, human health, and water quality. In 2020, The Common Acre will partner with DIRT Corps to conduct a project aimed at: engaging diverse local youth with their site, helping to prevent ongoing watershed pollution, and improving the health of native habitats along their site, including riparian restoration zones.
The grant funding will support:
1) Engage up to 20 youth ages 13-22, in a 6-week program that offers 33 hours of curriculum focused on: stormwater and wastewater; BMPs of ecological restoration work; native and invasive plant ID and management; site assessment skills; visiting DIRT Corps’ nursery at King County’s South Treatment Plant; volunteer management and leadership skills. Youth will likely be recruited from Rainier Beach Action Coalition’s Youth Fellowship program and will receive these opportunities in green infrastructure and ecological restoration guided by professional mentors and community leaders.
2) Work with an Indigenous landscape designer and DIRT Corps member to design and implement a site-expansion on up to 2 acres, focused on improving native habitat and increasing stormwater infiltration on the project site by installing up to 2,000 native shrubs and forbs, amending compacted urban soils, and removal of invasive species including Reed Canary Grass and Himalayan Blackberry.
3) Conduct 4 public work parties, co-managed by The Common Acre and DIRT Corps staff, and supported by their project Community Liaison, and Field Director. At these free public events, community members will play a hands-on role in site restoration and learn about issues impacting water quality.
$20,000 – Soil & Water Stewards / Youth Employment
Region: Southeast Seattle, Connecting wetlands of Rainier Beach to Lake Washington and Puget Sound.
With support from the Rose Foundation, Tilth Alliance piloted their Soil and Water Stewards (SWS) program in 2017 with a goal of training a diverse cohort of volunteers to lead water quality improvement projects and serve as watershed ambassadors throughout Seattle and King County. Additional support helped grow the program with a focus on traditionally underserved communities and fueled targeted outreach and projects in East and South King County, within immigrant and refugee communities, low-income neighborhoods, senior centers, and schools. This program has been phenomenally successful, having now trained 124 volunteers who worked over 1,365 hours of volunteer time including community-based water quality improvement demonstration projects, rain garden and green infrastructure installations, and educational workshops encouraging residents to adopt chemical-free, natural yard care and better manage stormwater runoff, all of which benefits the quality of water in Puget Sound. What began as a one-month, six-session, 21-hour training has grown into a nine-month program with 45 hours of comprehensive training on soil, water, and food system stewardship with monthly projects throughout King County. At their 10-acre Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands (RBUFW) public property in southeast Seattle, they employ 10 youth of color from low-income households to work on restoring the onsite wetlands that connect directly to Lake Washington. This grant will help keep this critical activity thriving for the benefit of the waterways and the youth. In addition to stipends for five additional youth, grant funds will support the development of outdoor signage that will educate the public on the importance of wetland preservation and connecting the wetland to Lake Washington and Puget Sound, as well as the impact of regenerative, sustainable, and organic growing methods on water quality. Youth participants will help design and install the new signage.
Toxic Free Future
$40,000 – Safer Products for Pollution Prevention in Puget Sound
Region: Puget Sound, especially Elliot Bay, Commencement Bay, the Thea Foss Waterway, and the Duwamish River outfall.
Over the past few years, numerous studies have documented highly persistent and bio-accumulative chemicals in Puget Sound including PFAS, PBDE and PCBs, which have been detected in Puget Sound surface waters, wastewater effluent, groundwater, fresh waters, sediments, and wildlife. Additional chemicals including phthalates and bisphenols have also been detected in stormwater and municipal treatment plants. These chemicals, most of which are prevalent in commonly-used consumer products, pose serious public health threats and also impact Puget Sound. For example: Puget Sound’s endangered orcas and salmon populations suffer from elevated levels of PBDE flame retardants. Past restrictions on PBDEs have already resulted in decreasing amounts in many Puget Sound species, demonstrating that restrictions on toxics in products pays off for Puget Sound water quality. Phthalates are a problematic contaminant in Commencement Bay, the Lower Duwamish waterway, and Elliott Bay. Bisphenols have been detected in Puget Sound region treatment plant effluent and biosolids and in storm water (with higher levels during rain events). BPA was found in much higher levels in Puget Sound compared to the relatively uninhabited Barkley Sound in British Columbia. This indicates that removal of bisphenols will improve water quality in more highly populated areas of the Puget Sound.
Washington’s new Safer Products for Washington Act provides an unprecedented opportunity to remove millions of pounds of harmful chemicals from thousands of consumer products. In addition to protecting people and communities, implementation of this new law could benefit vulnerable wildlife and sensitive ecosystems throughout Puget Sound. The first classes of chemicals to be addressed under Safer Products for Washington are PFAS chemicals, hormone disrupting phthalates, toxic flame retardants, industrial phenolics, and PCBs. In collaboration with community partners, Toxic-Free Future (TFF) will assertively advocate for aggressive implementation of Safer Products for Washington and provide state agencies with strong science and analysis to support phase-out of harmful chemicals. TFF will also activate and engage their grassroots, coalition partners, decision makers, scientists, health-effected individuals, and media outlets to encourage support for full implementation of the new safer products law.
$10,000 – Invasive Weed Species Removal near Myers Way Wetlands
Region: Green River watershed
The overall goal is to improve the health of the wetlands and streams within the Myers Parcels by removing invasive weed species. The project site, located in the Green/Duwamish Watershed, is in proximity to the headwaters of Hamm Creek, which empties into Puget Sound via the Duwamish River. The purpose of this project is to protect and conserve the wetlands of Myers Parcels and restore the damage by invasive weed infestations that occurred from neglect by a previous tenant. These Parcels are now in the City of Seattle Finance and Administrative Services Dept. and a section of the parcels is home to a City-sanctioned tiny-house encampment of approximately 50 homeless individuals, Camp Second Chance. The project includes activities that engage community volunteers and residents of Camp Second Chance in the removal of invasive noxious weeds in the area near the wetlands.
In addition to achieving watershed protection goals, the project addresses the social equity justice issues by training and employing the residents that have been displaced from traditional housing due to rising rental costs in the Seattle area. This project, located in a racially diverse low-income area of West Seattle, also demonstrates citizen involvement in environmental stewardship activities and educates about the importance keeping Puget Sound healthy. The project will pay stipends to the camp residents, provide training on invasive species removal, and supply the necessary tools, work boots and jackets. The volunteer participants and the camp residents, who are of varied ethnicity, cultural backgrounds, and sexual orientation, will acquire a skill, increasing employment opportunities, and gain knowledge about the local environment.
Western Environmental Law Center
$30,000 – Legal Advocacy to Protect Puget Sound
Region: Puget Sound, specifically Elliott Bay, the Duwamish River Watershed, Commencement Bay, Budd Inlet, and the waters of South Sound.
Funding will help WELC advocate for the protection of Puget Sound’s via two complementary efforts.
First, All Known, Available, and Reasonable Treatment (AKART) is the concept that all known and reasonable methods of pollution treatment must be used to control pollution. Currently, the Washington Department of Ecology is in violation of AKART and the agency routinely issues National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits that require only the use of secondary sewage treatment. This process fails to reduce the amounts of nutrients and toxics discharged to Puget Sound. Over the last 35 years, tertiary treatment, which can remove nutrients and toxics, has become increasingly known, available, and economically feasible. The goal of this element is to press the Washington Department of Ecology to comply with AKART and the Clean Water Act to protect the Sound from improperly treated wastewater.
Second, funds will support a legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of Washington’s 2012 Clean Water Act section 303(d) List and water pollution cleanup priority schedule, and failure to develop total maximum daily load (TMDLs) rules for impaired waters. The goal of this element is to force the EPA and Ecology to comply with the 303(d) rules, which will inherently lead to a cleaner, healthier Puget Sound. WELC’s legal team will work with their clients and partners including, most notably, Northwest Environmental Advocates and Earthrise Law Center. WELC will not be partnering with, working with, communicating with, or coordinating with Puget Soundkeeper on this project.
Wild Fish Conservancy
$25,000 – Taking Back Our Sound
Region: Central, Eastern, and North Puget Sound, Salish Sea
Since 2017, Wild Fish Conservancy has led and facilitated the Our Sound, Our Salmon campaign, a broad-based grassroots coalition, with the shared objective of ending commercial open water finfish aquaculture in Puget Sound to improve water quality, protect threatened and endangered species, and restore greater ecosystem health, and to drive important policy changes to better regulate this industry through the phase out including actions to protect water quality and prevent the spread of pathogens to wild stocks.
Funding will support the coalition’s continued advocacy to prevent net pen industry from expanding in Puget Sound by transitioning their permits and leases to allow for the commercial propagation of highly-domesticated steelhead not prohibited by Washington’s recent law. WFC use their scientific and legal expertise to submit a technically rigorous application to lease all public lands currently proposed for net pen aquaculture, and effectively argue that protecting these public waters for the restoration of water quality, salmonids, orcas, and the greater ecosystem would be ecologically, scientifically, and financially in the best interest of the public, and thus a better use of the public resource than net pen farming.