Protect Our Waters
Protect Our Waters is the City of Seattle’s commitment to take actions and promote partnerships that protect and improve our creeks, lakes, the Duwamish River and Puget Sound.
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SPU and Parks Receive Green Globe Award for Mapes Creek Habitat Restoration


Mapes Creek flows toward Lake Washington. SPU and the Parks Department recently resurfaced 440 feet of the creek, including the section pictured.

Chinook salmon now have an award-winning rest stop on their journey from the Cedar River to Puget Sound. At King County’s Green Globe Awards, SPU and Seattle Parks and Recreation received top honors for leadership displayed in the habitat restoration of lower Mapes Creek.

The Mapes Creek restoration project surfaced 440 feet of the creek that previously flowed through a pipe buried under Be’er Sheva Park. Recent studies have shown that the mouths of small creeks are critical feeding and resting grounds for migrating salmon.

The project also revitalized the park through the addition of a new trail, pedestrian bridge, art pieces, and plants. “It’s a more exciting, vibrant place,” says Cheryl Eastberg, a Project Manager at Seattle Parks and Recreation. “Kids run around and look at the creek, and people are picnicking in areas that used to have drainage issues. It’s a great example of aligning creeks with the urban environment so that they meet needs of fish and people.”

Triple Play: Mariners, SPU, and Puget Sound Starts Here Team-up to Promote Water Quality

Scoopy Doo, Mariner Moose, and Bert the Salmon at Safeco Field.

Left to Right: Scoopy Doo, Mariner Moose, and Bert the Salmon gather at Safeco Field to promote water quality in Puget Sound.

May 16 — Clad in throwback Seattle Steelhead jerseys, the Mariner’s took to the field for Puget Sound Starts Here (PSSH) night at Safeco Field. It was a serendipitous reminder that the health of iconic Northwest salmon is tied to our local waters.

PSSH is an umbrella organization that draws government, non-profits, and private sector actors around the region together to address water pollution. “Water quality is not just a Seattle issue or a Bellingham issue,” remarked Bill Malatinsky, Senior Planning and Development Specialist at SPU. “Twelve counties around the region drain into Puget Sound. We’re all connected.”

With 827 tickets sold, an outreach booth on the concourse, and over 20 different attending partner organizations–including SPU—the 4th annual Mariners night generated public awareness and provided a forum in which to share best practices for keeping the Sound safe. Remember, you can contribute with a water-quality grand slam: scoop pet waste, report spills, fix auto leaks, and fertilize responsibly.

Employee Spotlight: Managing Habitat for the Future

Deb Heiden

Meadowbrook pond is a cornerstone of SPU’s water-quality infrastructure along Thornton Creek. SPU Urban Ecosystems manager Deb Heiden maintains the site’s habitat and functional purpose.

Ribbon cutting ceremonies get all the shine, but behind the scenes Deb Heiden is usually planning for a project’s future. Deb is SPU’s Urban Ecosystems manager and thus the long-term “owner” of the utility’s drainage infrastructure sites: places like Meadowbrook Pond and the Thornton Creek Confluence. “My role is to find the balance between people and the environment,” she says. That means harmonizing between public use, safety, ecosystem functions, and the efficiency of SPU facilities, all while carefully considering impacts. Is it nesting season? Will vegetation be trampled?

“We’re constantly assessing what kind of habitat is important to foster,” says Deb, “especially in the context of surrounding development.” At the Confluence, she monitors the health of recent plantings. Vulnerable to invasive species and situated in a residential zone with plentiful trails, they face many pressures. Deb and landscape crews will use the next five years as a critical window to shape the young habitat. “I want our sites to last 100 years,” she concludes. “We’re going to get a good bang for our buck.”

Breaking News

Restoring Venema Creek’s Natural Drainage

Swell progress on swales that will protect Venema Creek. Check out project updates!

Genesee CSO Reduction Project Nearly Complete

The project brings substantial benefits to Lake Washington by reducing sewer overflows. Learn more here.


Build a Rain Garden, Receive a Rebate

Watch this video to hear RainWise customers share their experience. Visit to check your eligibility!

Free Automobile Leaks Classes

Gain new car maintenance skills, and learn how to help keep local waterways and wildlife safe from oil and other fluid leaks.

Water Quality Hotline

Spot it? Spill it?
SPU's got it!
Report water pollution online or by calling (206) 386-1800

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Outreach Coordinator: Susan Harper