Lost Urban Creeks of the Watershed Terrell Dorsey, Unleash the Brilliance and Anna Bachmann, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance,
Throughout Puget Sound, hundreds of freshwater urban streams are overlooked, abused and neglected even though they are a vital part of the watershed's ecosystem. These creeks often flow through communities most impacted by pollution and social justice issues, highlighting the environmental inequities of our region. Springbrook Creek is an example of what can be accomplished, revitalizing creek and community health through collaborative efforts. Historically, Springbrook Creek once supported healthy runs of Chinook salmon, its headwaters are still pure, but now lower stretches are overrun by invasive species and polluted by stormwater runoff. Puget Soundkeeper has joined with youth leaders from Unleash the Brilliance, a program focused on inspiring youth from communities of diversity to positively engage in their future and community, to develop a restoration model for Puget Sound’s lost urban creeks.
Our Green Duwamish Watershed-wide Stormwater Strategy Todd Hunsdorfer, King County Water and Land Resources Division, DNRP . Learn of King County’s experience in facilitating broad partnerships, exploring innovative, holistic approaches to collaborative stormwater management, and enabling coordination across the broad landscape to develop strategies which strengthen communities and improve environmental conditions in the Green Duwamish Watershed. This effort included over 40 representatives from community-based organizations, business leaders, urban planners, public health organizations, regulatory agencies, tribes, and elected officials, this initiative is meant to increase coordination of current work in the watershed to better manage habitat restoration, salmon recovery, flood control, stormwater management, public health, social equity, environmental cleanups, economic development, open space preservation, and water quality. The outcome is key to improving the health of the watershed. This effort has now entered the transitional phase, pivoting from ‘planning’ to ‘doing’. This presentation will share the goals and objectives developed by this collaborative body, discuss the direction we’re headed, and highlight a tool we’re planning to use in assisting with Phase II NPDES stormwater permit compliance.
Beavers are an integral part of our watersheds. As ecosystem engineers, beavers create complexity, increase biodiversity, and improve resiliency. However, their activities are often at odds with current human land use. How can we learn to live with beavers as urban wildlife, as partners in restoration, and as neighbors in our communities? Beavers Northwest is a small nonprofit serving Western Washington whose mission is to preserve biodiversity, aquatic habitats, and ecosystem services by partnering with landowners, farmers, local jurisdictions, and many others to find novel solutions to keep beavers on the landscape. We will discuss the many benefits of beavers, solutions for living with beavers, and our current efforts in the Green-Duwamish Watershed.
Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Initiative: Outcome-driven Decision Making Abby Hook, King County Environmental Affairs, DNRP
In an effort to insure King County’s investments in environmental services are addressing the greatest threats to our environment and create resilient landscapes, the Clean Water, Healthy Habitat Initiative, an integrated effort from individual work groups to leadership levels, requiring and empowering King County departments to coordinate and collaborate more effectively to achieve accelerated and improved water quality and habitat outcomes. The County will work with Tribes, federal and state regulators, cities, residents and ratepayers to ensure that investments in water quality and habitat – projected at $6.3 billion over the next 10 years – bring the best outcomes for water quality, habitat, and human health.
The Climate Crisis Hits High School Joshua Rubenstein Crystal Mountain and Enumclaw High School
Students will present how their education has dealt with the climate change and share ideas on how to engage high school students in learning about the climate crisis. Our experiential program provides students with a three-legged base to support their life-long climate work, building their capacity to understand and deal with the challenges of our watershed and world they are receiving. If our society set educational priorities based on the current and future importance in the lives of students, the climate crisis would weave through every curriculum. This presentation by students will spark discussions on how schools and other groups can collaborate to effectively incorporate the climate crisis and the elimination of greenhouse gas pollution into student learning.
Using Natural Systems to Address Climate Change Steve Winters, Natural Systems Design
Building Resiliency Requires Dedication and Innovation There are challenges aplenty for restoring ecosystems in urban areas, so constant innovation is essential element of restoration projects. Recent innovations to build resiliency is offered in the context of three urban projects in the Puget Lowlands.
Flooding along Thornton Creek in North Seattle was a persistent problem and was only the most overt impact. Chinook had not returned to Thornton for decades, and untreated stormwater delivers high concentrations of urban pollutants. A series of City of Seattle projects to restore channel and floodplain connectivity addressed flooding while the inclusion of innovative project elements such as forced hyporheic exchange have resulted in improved water quality and the return of Chinook to Thornton Creek.
Ravines are a critical element of the Puget lowlands – they are widespread, occurring at the margins of alluvial valleys and glacial bluffs. They are often the last greenspaces left in developed areas, and surrounding development has increase runoff to a degree that has increased erosion and incision rates. Projects have focused on wood treatments to reverse incisional trends in ravines to reduce net sediment export and retain more water in the alluvium.
Balancing stormwater treatment and natural floodplains and wetlands. Roxhill Park in West Seattle provides a severe example of how urban development can fundamentally alter wetland functioning. We are working with the community to assess current conditions and identify ways to re-integrate a millennia old wetland into highly altered urban context.
Resilience, Resistance, and Survival: The Duwamish Throughout History BJ Cummings Founder, Duwamish History Project & Manager of Community Engagement, UW Superfund Research Program
The Duwamish watershed has been subject to massive environmental and social upheaval since European American settlers first arrived on its shores in 1851, ushering in an age of cataclysmic change by re-engineering the rivers of the watershed and displacing its first people. Today, we face new threats to a river that developed as the region’s urban and industrial center and one of the nation's most toxic waste sites. Today's river also lies at the intersection of increasingly powerful floods and Puget Sound's rapidly rising seas. Climate change requires that we understand the past, what has been effective in addressing challenges as we plan for the future. Cummings will draw on chapters of her forthcoming book, The River That Made Seattle: a Human and Natural History of the Duwamish and interviews with the native, immigrant and industrialist communities occupying the watershed today. She calls us to action by linking our resilience to cross-cultural collaboration and a deep commitment to environmental and social justice.
Duwamish River Floating Wetlands Project, Monitoring Results Mason Bowles, University of Washington Green Futures Research and Design Lab
The vast majority of the Duwamish river has been channelized and armored, significantly decreasing vital salmon habitat to less than 1% of the original river. This is especially critical in river’s transitional zone with the mixing of fresh and saltwater for juvenile salmon. UW Green Futures Research and Design Lab’s innovative floating wetlands project provides valuable information on the suspending of wetland plants, growing hydroponically in the river, can provide valuable salmon habitat along armored riverbanks while also providing other benefits such as improving water quality. Results from the initial tests will be shared on the potential to expand opportunities for the creation and regeneration of near-shore wetland habitats in the Duwamish River.
How to Discuss Climate Change Effectively with Community Members Lisa Yeager, Woodland Park Zoo and Miami University,
It can be difficult to have productive conversations about climate change causes, impacts, and solutions, especially with diverse communities with different cultures, perspectives and values. A critical step in catalyzing community engagement is to mainstream climate change as a discussion topic and bridge the gap between public and scientific understanding of it.
Learn how to use informal conversations effectively to engage our communities about climate change with the training and toolkit being developed. These materials provide proven communication tactics such as those developed and tested by the Frameworks Institute and the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) about regional climate change impacts and community action. Lisa has over 20 years of consulting and program management with higher education, public sector, and corporate experience. She is dedicated in finding relevant ways to effectively engage the public in our region’s climate challenges.
Empowering indigenous women leaders to transform the narratives of communities affected by climate change. Karla Brollier, Climate Justice Initiative,
The Climate Justice Initiative is a is multi-generational and Inter-Tribal indigenous women designed, run, and led organization to develop community minded and native women led strategies to empower indigenous women leaders to transform the narratives of communities affected by climate change. While climate change adaptation is not only about responding to observable or tangible effects, but also about understanding and addressing the manner in which the broader context will make communities learn how to be resilient towards to the impacts and how it has changed the culture so dramatically and so quickly. Indigenous social systems have to withstand external and internal challenges and changes to maintain strong governance and traditional leadership structures to confront and navigate the complex climate-related impacts.
SeattleCity Light’s Transportation Electrification Strategy & amp Plan Andrea DeWees, Seattle City Light
Transportation electrification, which includes the use of electricity to power buses, trucks, cars and ferries, offers a sweeping set of potential benefits for the region, including cleaner air, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, opportunities to save money, and reduced dependence on petroleum. Seattle City Light, a public utility, is in a unique position to provide its carbon neutral electricity to power the transportation sector across its service area which includes the Green-Duwamish Watershed.
Early in 2019, Seattle City Light worked with the Rocky Mountain Institute to develop a comprehensive transportation electrification strategy to identify how the utility can best enable and respond to opportunities as they emerge, such has the new Washington State law (SHB 1512) that grants authority to public utilities “…to offer programs and services, including incentives, in the electrification of transportation for their customers.” In response to this new law, Seattle City Light is creating a Transportation Electrification Plan that will identify priorities for investment, strategic objectives for transportation electrification, the process it has taken so far to develop the plan and early lessons learned through that plan.
Multi-Purpose Innovating: Elliot Bay Salmon Habitat Sea Wall Kerry Accola-graduate student, University of Washington, Fisheries
The need for a new tunnel which replaced the viaduct opened a new multi-purpose vision of also replacing an aging sea wall with a new, innovative design which provides habitat for juvenile Green-Duwamish salmon as they enter Elliot Bay along Seattle’s waterfront, a key migration route for juvenile Pacific salmon. The hardwired tendency of these salmon to inhabit nearshore waters results in close association with coastline urbanization, including piers and seawalls. This innovative approach offers fresh perspective on traditional design methods incorporating with enhancements intended to aid the movement of juvenile salmon. Presentation will discuss the new approach, data collected, and lessons learned in studying the effectiveness of the seawall enhancements on improving juvenile salmon habitat.
Addressing Future Climate in Today’s Stormwater Systems Tyler Jantzen, PE, CFM; Jacobs Engineering
One of the most formidable challenges facing the Green-Duwamish Watershed and the greater Puget Sound today is quality and quantity of stormwater runoff. Planning today for future climate conditions is essential – especially when considering large and expensive infrastructure designed to operate well into the future. Three methods will be presented for developing rainfall projections for use in planning future stormwater infrastructure capacity. These methods represent a range of technical and input complexity, but all serve the same ultimate purpose: provide usable data for future stormwater system planning and design. All three methods produce future time series suitable for stormwater and CSO planning and design, and were applied to projects in the greater Puget Sound. The product of these efforts were future precipitation data that could be used by hydrologic and hydraulic models to evaluate the impact that climate change may have on sizing of future facilities. This presentation compares the results of these three methods relative to method complexity, with the goal of informing about technology available for improved stormwater project planning and design.
Transportation Demand Management in South King County Alison Turner and Chris Andree, City of Tukwila
The South King County Trips team works within the Green River Watershed to encourage sustainable transportation by delivering Transportation Demand Management (TDM) services to residents, employees and businesses aimed at reducing the demand for roadway travel, particularly in single occupancy vehicles. SKC Trips projects reduce congestion and improve air quality by influencing south King County road users to choose ways of getting around such as transit, carpool, biking and walking instead of driving alone. Our TDM strategies include outreach and education, employer consultations, and a rewards program. We seek to develop partnerships with embedded organizations in the communities we are serving to facilitate more effective outreach and improve long-term program outcomes. We will share results of a monthly transportation rewards program for employees at Sea-Tac Airport in 2018 which showed a 15.2% reduction in participants drive alone rate, resulting in reductions of 23,636 vehicle trips and 309,037 vehicle miles traveled.
City of Kent Planet Protector Summit - Educating Youth About Water Conservation Tony Donati and Meara Heubach, City of Kent
The Planet Protector Summit is an annual education event for 3rd and 4th grade students from communities of diversity, to be engaged in water and resource conservation. Presentation topics include recycling, storm water pollution, macro invertebrates, and how watersheds work led by professionals from local agencies, institutions, and organizations from across the region. Students not only learn with real world examples but learn about the professions that tackle these challenges. Family members are encouraged to participate which further deepens the knowledge and commitment within the community. This program is in its 21st year and has won awards in the past for its creativity and scale.
Green Walls, Vertical Solutions In Small Spaces to Tree Canopies: Improving Air Quality and Neighborhood Beautification Andrew Schiffer & Roseann Barnhill - Dirt Corps
Green walls provide an alternate option in areas of limited space where large trees aren't viable, especially in industrial and dense residential areas such as Georgetown and South Park. Green walls were chosen by the community as an air quality improvement action project for their air pollution mitigation effects, as well as their additional community benefits such as neighborhood beautification and delineation of places as community spaces. Green walls are an effective style of green infrastructure due to their fast rate of growth, air quality as well as stormwater benefits, and wide variety of possible styles and costs. We will be discussing the following topics: community outreach for location and style of installations; choosing the most effective and non-invasive vines for air pollution and healthy regional ecology; issues and challenges we encountered when siting and constructing our green walls; and possibilities for integrating green walls into more projects that promote the health of the Green-Duwamish Watershed.