In honor of Green Seattle Days 2020, we are excited to celebrate the unique public–private partnerships that are integral to restoring our urban forests and improving water quality in the City of Seattle. King Conservation District (KCD) has partnered with private residents, Seattle Parks, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), and Green Seattle Partnership to restore nearly 3.5 acres of stream corridor, wetlands, and forest along Longfellow Creek in the Delridge neighborhood.
Longfellow Creek flows through Delridge in West Seattle for about three and a half miles until it drains into the Duwamish River. According to Green Seattle Partnership, prior to European settlers’ arrival in the Pacific Northwest, Longfellow Creek was a fishery for the Duwamish people known as t7áWee (to-AH-wee), translated to “smelt”. As the area surrounding the waterway changed and developed into the urban environment that we recognize today, the creek has become less habitable for the salmon that once filled the stream. Puget Soundkeeper has found that 45%-90% of coho salmon in Longfellow Creek die before they’re able to spawn.
In 2019, KCD partnered with a private resident to remove invasive weeds and install more than 500 plants along 325 feet of Longfellow Creek. In the process, KCD reached out to the neighbors across the creek to ask about expanding the project area into their greenspace next door. Lucky for us, these neighbors happened to be SPU and Seattle Parks! This realization sparked the opportunity to join forces to expand impact and increase the total restoration area for the greater benefit of the local community.
KCD hosted a 2019 Orca Recovery Day event at the site, and now, a year later, we’re back on site and proud to partner with GSP to celebrate Green Seattle Days! Made possible by the invasive removal work of volunteers a year ago, 300 additional native shrubs and trees were planted in the green space on November 12, 2020 by KCD’s Washington Conservation Corps crew. With the establishment of native plants on both sides of the creek and GSP’s restoration of the adjacent forest, there will be numerous benefits to stormwater management, forest and stream health, and native wildlife habitat.
Though KCD is not quite ready to have volunteers in the field with us yet, we encourage you to check out the ways in which you can celebrate from afar: https://www.greenseattle.org/get-involved/green-seattle-day/.
Liz Fredrickson, KCD Contractor