Ha?apus Village Park (Terminal 107), Seattle — In celebration of Orca Recovery Day, elected officials from King County, the Cities of Seattle and Tukwila, and the Port of Seattle are drawing attention to a new opportunity for a new position to help recover healthy salmon stocks in the Lower Duwamish River.
The Duwamish River Basin Steward will provide on-the-ground technical services to community members and other stakeholders to protect and restore habitats that assist in helping restore salmon stocks in the Duwamish River through acquisitions of open space, completed habitat restoration projects, and direct engagement with the communities they serve.
Basin Stewards work with residents and technical staff to develop and implement priority habitat protection and restoration projects in critical habitat areas along our rivers and streams. They can help streamside landowners identify resources including funding for habitat protection. The new jointly funded position is a collaboration of the WRIA 9 Watershed Ecosystem Forum and will be housed within the King County Basin Steward Program.
Metropolitan King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove said, “We must do everything we can to protect our iconic Chinook salmon and adding a Duwamish-Green Watershed steward will ensure we have boots on the ground in this area working to protect their future. This new position will work in partnership with other watershed stewards and help complete our oversight and care for the entire river system.”
King County, Seattle, Tukwila, and the Port of Seattle worked collaboratively to establish the position because of a shared interest in the welfare of salmon. “Salmon are not only a cherished Northwest icon, they are also a keystone species, an indicator of our region’s environmental health, and an invaluable resource for our orca population. With our jurisdictions coming together, we are fulfilling a need for our communities,” said City of Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold.
The Duwamish River is Seattle’s and Tukwila’s only river and until relatively recently has suffered from decades of harm and neglect. Tukwila Mayor Allan Ekberg highlighted the positive impacts of stewardship programs: “You can go back to the 1970s and the inauguration of the Superfund Program to see that when we act, we make a difference. The Duwamish River is much cleaner than before, but there’s more that we can and need to do to make it safe for salmon, as well as for people. Full application of the WRIA 9 program in the lower Duwamish will enable us to link our communities’ intentions with vital programs.”
“The Port of Seattle is excited about this collaboration to jointly fund the Basin Steward for the Lower Duwamish River. There’s an old saying, ‘No fish, no blackfish,’" said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. “Announcing the opening of this new position on Orca Recovery Day is particularly appropriate in that chinook salmon are the primary diet of the 73 members of our endangered resident orca community.
“Recovering these icons of our region requires collaboration which is why I’m encouraged by this partnership so that commerce, communities, and killer whales can co-exist,” concluded Felleman. The Port of Seattle promoted the job opportunity on its public blog this week, highlighting the importance of community engagement and environmental stewardship for Seattle’s only river.
Orca Recovery Day is Saturday, October 15. This year the Duwamish Alive Coalition and other organizations are holding events throughout the Duwamish-Green Watershed to promote salmon and orca recovery.
Paulina Lopez, Executive Director of the Duwamish River Community Coalition, encouraged everyone to celebrate Orca Recovery Day and to consider applying for the Basin Steward position. “The Duwamish has been and will be a source of life for our community forever. This position will help us continue to restore the river back to full healthy standards for the betterment of our people, fish, and wildlife."
Comments will be made at Ha?apus Village Park, 4700 West Marginal Way SW, Seattle, WA 98106, Saturday, October 15, 2022, at 10 a.m.
Port of Seattle: Cooper.firstname.lastname@example.org
Metropolitan King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove: Zoe.Mullendore@kingcounty.gov
Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold: Alex.Clardy@seattle.gov
Tukwila Mayor Ekberg: email@example.com
Duwamish River Community Coalition: firstname.lastname@example.org