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Seattle Curb Cut Project Takes Root

Courtesy of a grant received two years ago from the Rose Foundation and Soundkeeper, funded through the Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, the Surfrider-Seattle Chapter was able to purchase plants for the East Ballard Green Street Project. On October 10th, Surfrider volunteers gathered at the site during heavy downpour, working along other neighborhood residents and partners to put the plants they purchased via the Rose Foundation grant in the ground. (One partner, the Duwamish Infrastructure Restoration Training Corps (DIRT), lead the plant layout and installation - people on left in picture at right.)

Traditionally, Seattle has a very wet climate and with the rain comes pollution as the stormwater acquires contaminants as it makes its way down our steep streets to bodies of water like Salmon Bay. The City of Seattle continues to provide programs to help homeowners install rain gardens at their homes through the Rainwise Program but in the case of this project, a sense of community and partnerships leading to green infrastructure was the priority.

The planting was a highlight for the chapter after spending a few years waiting on the permitting process for the project to make it finally happen. About 20 people came together from the different partners to get the plants in the ground despite the heavy rain. Cuts will be made in the curb will be made after the plants have a had 1-2 months to grow in size and get rooted (identified by the yellow tape and wood sticks in the picture below/left. 

The East Ballard Greenstreet Project, a soon to be certified Surfrider Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG), has already received positive news coverage due to the dialogue it’s created between the city, neighbors, and organizations. While supported primarily by contributions from the Russell Family Foundation, collaboration between several groups such as Antioch University, the East Ballard Community Association, and the Seattle Chapter of the Surfrider foundation have led to a lot of hands making light work. To get a context of the size, scope, and the area, see this post in the East Ballard blog.

This effort will have an immediate positive impact on the local neighborhood as it works to limit stormwater runoff and prevent a complicated flooding issue effecting local residents. While the specific goal is to provide a neighborhood project to beautify a residential street, slow traffic, and reduce polluted runoff to Salmon Bay, the collaboration and efforts to make it easier for non-city entities to install gardens and effect the right-away is also a major accomplishment. From pending curb cuts to already constructed swales, the project is truly a coming together and should be completed by the new year.

 As the project approaches finalization, a follow-up post will be put together to to show the final construction and layout. If you would like to get involved or to learn more about Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program please contact WA Field Manger Brice Boland.

- written by Brice Boland