Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Seattle Parks and Recreation

Saving the Chinook Salmon


Here’s a little background on what Seattle Parks and Recreation is doing to help the salmon (including chinook) recover and thrive—efforts that we began many years before the chinook was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. As steward to more than 10 percent of the city’s total land area, much of it undeveloped “natural area,” Seattle Parks and Recreation plays a significant role in protecting and preserving salmon habitat.

Property Acquisition and Park Development
During the 1990s, we bought more than 600 acres of green space through the Open Space Bond Program. Through the Pro Parks Levy, passed by voters in November 2000, we will be able to add to this property, further protecting watersheds and their wildlife habitats. Recent park development and restoration projects have also contributed to this effort, replacing seawalls and bulkheads with the natural beaches that are more suitable for aquatic life; restoring wetlands at Matthews Beach, Golden Gardens and Roxhill Park; using salmon-friendly gardening practices along Lake Washington Blvd. and elsewhere; and reducing stormwater
We’ve also teamed with Seattle Public Utilities and local communities on projects that have brought salmon back to Piper’s Creek in Northwest Seattle, and Fauntleroy and Longfellow creeks in West Seattle.

Land and Plant Management
Seattle Parks and Recreation has developed “Best Management Practices” for all of our landscape, horticulture and forestry operations with a strong environmental and ESA focus. This includes reducing the use of pesticides in parks, conserving water through the efficient use of irrigation water, restoring our forest ecosystems, through the planting of native plant and trees—including 26,000 trees planted as part of the Seattle Millennium Project—and removing invasive weeds and plants. We are also doing more to reduce the use of pesticides. We are experimenting with liquid compost, more mulching and hot water to control weeds and invasive plants.

Education and Programming
We have increased our efforts to involve and educate children and others about the environment and how they can be responsible stewards of public and private lands and watersheds. The Seattle Aquarium offers comprehensive exhibits and programs on salmon, and initiated the innovative and effective beach naturalist program. Our three Environmental Education Centers at Carkeek Park, Camp Long, and Discovery Park offer numerous environmental education classes, tours and programs.

Volunteers greatly aid and enhance the work that we do. During the 1990s, we greatly expanded our collaboration with volunteers by forming community-based “Adopt-a-Park” groups, and organizing “work parties” involving park neighbors, school classes, corporate employee volunteer groups, environmental organizations, and other community groups.

Updated September 28, 2015
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