Green/Duwamish/Puget Sound Watershed, WRIA 9
image of river and WRIA 9 logo of a salmon

View archive newsletters at https://www.govlink.org/watersheds/9/news/default.aspx

Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound receives additional $423k in funding

The WA State Legislature made an unprecedented investment in salmon recovery during this year’s short supplemental budget session. An additional $75M was appropriated to the Salmon Recovery Account to directly support projects that restore and protect salmon habitat. The funding was divided to support both large-scale, higher-cost projects as well as smaller scale projects, with $50 million being divided across the seven regional salmon recovery organizations (e.g., Puget Sound Partnership) to support projects costing greater than $5M, and the remaining $25M being allocated among lead entities (e.g., WRIA 9) to support projects (or phases of projects) costing less than $5M. For WRIA 9, this increased the total amount of Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) funding available in 2022-2023 from $295,895 to $719,315. The Puget Sound Region, via the Puget Sound Partnership, is expected to support additional projects from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) Large Capital list with funding from their respective share of the $50M allocation. For more information, please reach out to Suzanna.


Partner Updates

Long-time Duwamish tribal member and river advocate bids adieu to WRIA 9

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James Rasmussen receives the award from DRCC’s Paulina Lopez on June 11, 2022 (Tom Reese)

James Rasmussen, a leading voice for the Green-Duwamish watershed, is retiring at the end of June and moving out of the Puget Sound area, where his family has resided for millennia. James’ legacy of advocacy for the watershed, its salmon, and its people spans four decades, during which he has deeply influenced our treatment of and relationship with the rivers, creeks, and communities that comprise the Green-Duwamish watershed. His immeasurable contributions to the health of the watershed were honored by the Duwamish Alive Coalition’s Watershed Champion Award in recognition of his lifetime service and stewardship of our local water resources.

James represented the Green-Duwamish Watershed Alliance (GDWA) on the WRIA 9 Salmon Recovery Steering Committee since its founding in 1998 and on the WRIA 9 Watershed Ecosystem Forum since 2009. He championed the salmon recovery interests of the GDWA membership, including the Duwamish River Community Coalition (DRCC), where he served as Duwamish Tribe liaison (2001-09), Coalition Coordinator (2010-18), and Superfund Manager (2019-22) through a time of unprecedented collective action and progress in restoring habitat for Chinook salmon in the watershed, as well as cleaning up contamination in the lower Duwamish River. As a Duwamish tribal member, James also brought his deep historical connection to the watershed to the WRIA 9 salmon recovery team and reminded all of us of the cultural significance of the river’s salmon and the communities – indigenous and immigrant alike – that depend on their survival.

James will remain on the Duwamish Tribal Council from his new home in Las Vegas, where he will join his daughter and continue to advocate for the health of our watershed and the recognition of Seattle’s first people, albeit poolside! We extend our deepest gratitude and raise our hands to James for his years of service to our watershed and our community.

Duwamish River People’s Park Celebration

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Duwamish River People’s Park and Shoreline Habitat in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle.

The Port of Seattle will host a celebration for the opening of the Duwamish River People’s Park and Shoreline Habitat (DRPP - formerly Terminal 117), the largest habitat restoration site along the Duwamish River in a generation. Join us for a commemorative ceremony, park tours, family friendly art activities, educational booths, kayak tours, Hub Open House, and local catering. The Duwamish River People’s Park and Shoreline Habitat (formerly known as Terminal 117) will officially be opening on July 16, 2022, 11-3pm. It is the first habitat project built as part of the Port’s mitigation bank, which will generate over 500 Natural Resource Damages credits via restoration of valuable habitat in the marine-freshwater transition zone. This project is restoring 14 acres of estuarine habitat along nearly half a mile of Duwamish River shoreline, enhancing a high priority migratory corridor for Chinook salmon where they can seek refuge before navigating into Puget Sound.

King County, Tukwila and WRIA 9 provide tour for Senator Murray staff

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Mike Perfetti (Tukwila) provides an overview of the Riverton Creek fish barrier removal project.

Staff from King County, Tukwila and WRIA 9 collaborated on a tour for Senator Patty Murray's staff on June 9 showcasing recent salmon recovery efforts in the Green/Duwamish. The tour highlighted the importance of the federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to supporting critically needed restoration work. In additional to the opportunity to extend our deep appreciation to the Senator for her efforts to secure recent funding for fish passage at Howard Hanson Dam and PCSRF, the tour allowed us to showcase the interconnectedness of ongoing investments in the Lower Green and Duwamish, as well as the significance of the federal investment in fish passage at Howard Hanson Dam.

Take a tour of land conservation successes in the Green-Duwamish Watershed

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Executive Constantine and Mayor Ekberg at the Riverton Creek restoration site in Tukwila.

King County Executive Dow Constantine recently saw firsthand a few of the conservation successes in the region known as the Green-Duwamish Watershed, which includes the industrial corridor where the river reaches Elliott Bay. It was an opportunity for him to thank elected officials, experts, and community partners from surrounding cities – Des Moines, Seattle, and Tukwila – who helped protect some of the last remaining greenspace in the urban river corridor. They also provided a preview of potential land acquisitions that are included in the County’s budget. Read the full King County blog post.

King County Green Start Program supports stewardship efforts in WRIA 9

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Green Start crew members and Dirt Corps leaders learn about the work Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group has done at Fenster Park in Auburn.

King County's new Green Start crew recently launched and has begun conducting ecological restoration and stewardship work throughout the Green/Duwamish watershed. Green Start provides a restoration-focused job training experience to people currently experiencing homelessness as a gateway to careers in conservation and ecological restoration. Green Start is funded through King County’s Jobs and Housing Program and the crews are managed by Dirt Corps. The Jobs and Housing Program is designed to stabilize the lives of people experiencing homelessness by providing a stable place to live, a temporary job, and access to support services and career navigation. The new Green Start crew will be working in South King County and will be exposed to work with a variety of agency partners including the Cities of Auburn, Tukwila, Kent, Seattle, and Burien. The crews will help steward both riparian and upland sites, addressing maintenance gaps, protecting forest health and critical habitat, and reducing the impact of invasive plants on protected open space. To find out more, please contact Alicia Kellogg.

StormFest brings Highline middle schools hands-on science education

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Students at Highline School District learn about macroinvertebrates and watershed health.

In April-June 2022, 6th and 7th graders at five Highline School District middle schools experienced StormFest: an interactive stormwater science festival sponsored by Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, Sea Tac, and King County. Students at each school participated in two days of hands-on outdoor activities to learn about their local watershed, stormwater pollution, aquatic macroinvertebrates and stream health, and ways students can contribute to the health of their watershed. Developed to serve a highly diverse school district, StormFest was intentionally designed as an equitable education opportunity for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, or English language learning status. StormFest is currently a Highline School District program, but all the equipment, kits, and models can be checked out by any Washington school district at no cost. The curriculum and lessons are available online and meet Washington State Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards 6th grade standards. Check out StormFest 2022 in the news.

Vashon Nature Center Internship Program

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Vashon Nature Center Science Communications intern Catherine Montano helps interpret for a 1st grade beach trip at Point Robinson along with help from another high school marine science student. Photo credit: Peter Woodburn

Vashon Nature Center has welcomed 11 high school interns onto our summer team! This new internship program is supported in part by a WRIA 9 Stewardship, Engagement, and Learning (SEaL) grant. Interns are focusing on professional development in marine sciences, restoration ecology, and science communication. They will be out at Heron Meadow helping continue our watershed restoration efforts, out on the beach surveying shorelines, helping us bolster our communication streams to increase accessibility, and even jumping in on our 24-hour BioBlitz survey. Our shoreline restoration monitoring data has contributed to a new paper "Shoreline armor removal can restore variability in intertidal ecosystems" published in Ecological Indicators.

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Green Duwamish Revegetation partners discussing recent revegetation efforts along the Green/Duwamish River.

Green Duwamish Revegetation

Last Friday, Green Duwamish Revegetation partners came together to tour revegetation sites in Kent, Auburn, and unincorporated King County. Special thanks to the Green River Coalition, City of Kent, King County Parks, and Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group for hosting us on their sites.



Grant Announcements

Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal Notice of Funding Opportunity

Up to $65 million in funding is available through the NOAA Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal Notice of Funding Opportunity. This funding will support projects that reopen migratory pathways and restore access to healthy habitat for fish around the country. Eligible applicants include institutions of higher education, non-profits, commercial (for profit) organizations, U.S. territories, and state, local, and Native American tribal governments. NOAA will accept proposals with a federal funding request of between $1 million and $15 million total from non-federal partners over the award period. Applications are due by August 15, 2022.


In the News

Duwamish ALIVE! Coalition: Stewards of the River

Article about the collaborative approach of the Duwamish Alive! Coalition to protect and restore the health and habitat of the Duwamish River and its watershed for wildlife and communities.

Full text article by Patheresa Wells in the South Seattle Emerald.

Chinook salmon (also known as king salmon) are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In WRIA 9, citizens, scientists, businesses, environmental and community organizations, and local, state and federal governments are cooperating on protection and restoration projects and have developed a science-based plan to conserve salmon today and for future generations. Funding for the salmon conservation plan is provided by 17 local governments in the watershed. For more information visit our website at www.govlink.org/watersheds/9/.

If you would like to submit an item for inclusion in the next WRIA 9 e-newsletter, please email mgoehring@kingcounty.gov.