Green-Duwamish Watershed Symposium Panels
Panel 4: Creative Solutions
Using creativity to challenge the current process and introduce something new. Albert Einstein once said, “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” These presentations will trigger our curiosity and ignite new ways of imagining solutions to the watershed’s challenges.
Depaving the Way to Building a Diverse Community Garden
Tahmina Martelly, World Relief
World Relief’s Hillside Paradise Parking Plots community garden combines an easily accessible space for refugees and immigrants to grow food with innovative and effective Green Stormwater Infrastructure features. Located in a food desert, this garden is easily accessible by bus from Kent’s East Hill neighborhoods where World Relief resettles over 1,000 newcomers each year. With the help of over 400 volunteers we have de-paved 12,000 square feet of asphalt and transformed an acre of parking lot into 44 in ground beds and 6 ADA accessible beds. The five rain gardens planned on the site will include design curricula for high school and middle school youth Plans include the installation of four 4,000-gallon cisterns to capture rainwater, which will provide 80% of the irrigation of the garden. This unique large-scale rainwater catchment and de-pave project is part of the Green/Duwamish watershed and provides incredible opportunities for communities of color to interact with sustainability and GSI concepts.
Becoming Carbon Neutral with Eelgrass and Kelp
Jon Sloan, Port of Seattle
The Port of Seattle goal to become carbon neutral by 2050 includes reducing emissions and enhancing carbon sequestration through habitat restoration. To that end, the Port completed a study in 2017 to quantify sequestration benefits associated with different land cover and habitat types found in the Duwamish River estuary and Elliott Bay. The review determined that kelp and eelgrass – so called “blue carbon” – provide highly significant sequestration benefits. In fact, they sequester more carbon than almost any other habitat type in the world. To explore this potential, the Port is partnering on a 25 acre kelp, eelgrass and shellfish enhancement pilot study at Smith Cove. The project will create 8 acres of canopy kelp forest, 12 acres of eelgrass beds, and 5 acres of experimental shellfish plots. Monitoring will be conducted over time to assess the project’s effects on water quality, habitat, and carbon sequestration. Challenges include that the project site is within an active area that supports important maritime land uses: a cruise ship terminal, commercial vessel moorage, recreational boating and shoreline public access.
Problem Based Learning, an Integrational Approach Using Stormwater Pollution
Chandra Reiners, Emerald Park Elementary, Kent School District
How can we inform our community about the impacts of polluted stormwatrer runoff in a way that influences behavior and results in a healthier watershed? Educators are answering this question by using 21st Century skills of critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration which integrate science, language arts and math in teaching students about real life community problems such as stormwater runoff. Students are engaged with community professionals working on these types of problems providing them “hands on” experience. Learn about how academic learning uses real community issues with this Stormwater Pollution Solutions- 6th grade problem based unit.
Just Scales: Watershed-Scale Problems Need Watershed-Scale Solutions
Cyrus Philbrick, Earth Economics
Exploring the idea of a watershed district to see how it may be able to solve persistent funding issues faced by WRIA 9 stakeholders. What barriers remain to making this idea a reality, and how do we overcome them? What are the benefits—economic, environmental, political, and social—of such an institution. We will briefly explore:
- How such an institution could coordinate solutions at the watershed scale; it could provide sustainable funding while empowering local decision-makers to efficiently address a number of interrelated environmental, political, and social problems.
- A few feasible funding mechanism options, based on past and ongoing Earth Economics research.
- Major blockades to this idea—namely conflicting district and municipal interests.
- Possible governance and funding structures that could overcome these barriers.
Questions and Answers Afterwards