Lower Mapes Creek project honored with Green Globe Award from King County

On Monday, April 20, King County Executive Dow Constantine presented the Lower Mapes Creek project with a Green Globe Award for being a leader in habitat restoration. The project was a joint effort between Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities.

The Lower Mapes Creek restoration project, completed in early 2015, re-established 440 feet of natural stream channel through Beer Sheva Park and reconnected the creek to Lake Washington to provide critical rearing habitat for juvenile chinook salmon in southeast Seattle. The project also enhanced a park in an underserved area of Seattle and was done in tandem with a Seattle Public Utilities project to reduce combined sewer overflows to Lake Washington.

The Mapes Creek restoration project was partially funded by Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 8-directed grants through the King Conservation District, Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration program. Seattle is a key partner with King County and others in WRIA 8 salmon recovery efforts.

Fourteen Green Globe Awards were given on April 20. The Green Globe Awards are King County’s highest honor for local environmental efforts. More information is available here.

Seattle Aquarium honored for sustainable operations

The Seattle Aquarium received two awards for sustainable operations in October of 2014. The first was the 2014 “Visionary Leadership Award” presented by the Seattle 2030 District, or S2030D, a high-performance building district in downtown Seattle that aims to dramatically reduce environmental impacts of building construction and operations.

The Aquarium was honored for energy-efficient retrofits, carbon capture through tree planting and solar panels constructed on its Pier 59 facility, among the largest array on an aquarium in the country. The institution was cited by the 2030 District for embodying “the visionary leadership across disciplines necessary to meet our most challenging environmental goals and for being a champion for water quality and restoration of Puget Sound.”

In addition, the Aquarium was honored to receive a “Community Impact Award” from Seattle Business magazine. The awards honored “the region’s most influential community leaders” and celebrated 24 honorees in categories ranging from sustainability to youth development. The Aquarium received a silver award in the “Sustainability in Business Operations” category.

Sustainable business practices are an important part of delivering on our institution’s vision, notes Aquarium President & CEO Bob Davidson. “The Aquarium’s mission is Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment. And that’s not limited to our waterways. Every step we take toward sustainability—from energy sources we rely on to reducing our carbon footprint—benefits the incredible marine and terrestrial world around us.”


About the Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is one of Washington State’s leading environmental education and stewardship institutions, and the region’s gathering place for discussion and sharing information about marine conservation. It maintains a number of research initiatives in cooperation with federal, state, zoological and university partners. The Aquarium is located on Pier 59, at 1483 Alaskan Way.

On the web: SeattleAquarium.org
On Facebook: Facebook.com/Aquarium.Seattle
On Twitter: Twitter.com/SeattleAquarium

Inspiring Conservation of our Marine Environment

Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345

Lower Mapes Creek Restoration Project improves habitat for Lake Washington salmon

The Lower Mapes Creek Restoration Project in Beer Sheva Park is near completion.  This is the same Mapes Creek that flows through Kubota Garden and Sturtevant Ravine.

In early 2014, Seattle Public Utilities, in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, began a project to reroute Mapes Creek from entering a sewer pipe and take it in its own dedicated pipe to Beer Sheva Park and Lake Washington in support of salmon habitat.  The project required installing several hundred feet of a pipe under the 52nd Ave walkway and S Henderson St. and building a new natural creek channel in the park where the pipe could release the water to flow into the lake.

The restored connection to the lakeshore is important to juvenile Chinook salmon who migrate from the Cedar River to Puget Sound along the lakeshore.  They use creek mouths to feed and rest on their long journey to salt water.

The creek restoration project also includes a new pathway, pedestrian bridge and public art by John Grade.  A celebratory opening event will be planned next spring.

The Lower Mapes Creek Restoration Project was a joint project with SPU’s 52nd Ave. S. Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Reduction Project.

Amy Yee Tennis Center Orchard unveils new sign to honor namesake

On Saturday, Oct. 18, Seattle City Councilmembers Sally Clark and Tom Rasmussen joined City Fruit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and other community volunteers for a harvest celebration at Amy Yee Tennis Center Orchard to unveil a new sign that honors Amy Yee and provides a detailed map of the orchard’s fruit trees.

The site was named for Amy Yee, who taught tennis in the Beacon Hill and South Seattle Communities for more than 30 years and had a passion for gardening. Yee offered free tennis clinics in Seattle schools and public parks. She taught people of all ages, including two future mayors.

The indoor and outdoor tennis center shares its site with more than 30 fruit trees, mostly apple with some pear trees and a quince graft. For the celebration, 33 volunteers endured the rain to help harvest apples for food banks, meal programs and homeless shelters and cleaned up fallen apples and invasive species.

The new sign was made possible by funding from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and by support from Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Our Parks, Our City, Our Environment: Seattle Parks releases environmental stewardship report



Dear Seattle Partners and Community Members,

Supporting a healthy environment is one of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s fundamental outcomes as an organization, together with healthy people, strong communities and financial sustainability. These outcomes are at once unique and interconnected. A healthy environment is the product of how we, as a community, connect to nature and reduce our regional and global footprint. Our performance as an environmental steward is an indicator of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s role in building strong communities and healthy people.

This fall, Seattle Parks and Recreation releases its environmental stewardship report, the first of many steps to enhance our accountability to Seattle residents. With the passage of the ballot measure establishing the Seattle Park District in August 2014, the department made a commitment to track and report our work through enhanced performance management. We will use the information to recognize our achievements and identify opportunities for improvement.

The title of this publication, Our City, Our Parks, Our Environment, reflects the people-based approach of our pledge to sustain a healthy environment. Seattle is a dense and diverse urban space and we at Seattle Parks and Recreation are committed to caring for the whole ecosystem. We take our role of stewardship seriously, protecting spaces that provide services and access to nature, as well as enhancing our health, well-being and enjoyment of Seattle landscapes.

As a department we plan for the future by integrating an environmental ethic into our everyday activities. We know that small steps can have a big impact. This work does not happen on its own; it takes the care and commitment of parks professionals to select each tree that gets planted, develop a fieldtrip curriculum, operate a maintenance building thoughtfully and efficiently, and coordinate volunteers.

Although we have dedicated and inspired staff, Parks does not have the resources to do it alone. In 2013 we had 120,726 hours of committed volunteers working through our various programs to help us achieve our goals, translating into nearly $3 million of community investment. The hard work and commitment of volunteer trailblazers, forest builders, environmental educators and urban farmers expands the depth and breadth of our programs. These volunteers and the community members they inspire represent the current and future generation of environmental leaders. Unfortunately, we are seeing a downward trend in long-term volunteers.

We need to continue to draw environmental stewards to not only replace current volunteers, but to fulfill our promise of a sustainable future.

As we continue to track our goals and progress, we hope that you will join us in taking steps to steward a sustainable park system for the next generation.

Christopher Williams
Acting Superintendent

Download the full report here: Our City, Our Parks, Our Environment