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spring 2017 heroes

On February 16, 2017, Hank Landau and Sandra Ripley Distelhorst, both members of the Edmonds Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee, interviewed members of the Students Saving Salmon Club of Edmonds-Woodway High School. The following article celebrates their efforts and successes in addressing climate protection-related projects.

The Students Saving Salmon Club at Edmonds-Woodway High School, with 20 student members, has been designated as Sustainable Heroes for 2017 by the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee (CPC).

The CPC Sustainable Heroes series highlights community members who make a difference by contributing to sustainable climate-related projects. Climate change may impact Edmonds in a number of ways including an overall rise in ambient air temperature and fresh water temperature, rising sea level, wider range of fluctuation in weather (e.g., more severe storms), change in dominant trees, shrubs and plants, and changes to bird, fish and insect populations.

Changes to the fresh water and marine environment are of particular significance to salmon that rely on and navigate both environments. Understanding how salmon navigate the available fresh water estuaries in Edmonds and identifying barriers to their successful spawning can help our community better understand how to mitigate the influences of climate change and other man-made and environmental impacts.

Hank Landau and Sandra Distelhorst – members of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee - interviewed several members of the Students Saving Salmon Club (SSSC): Joe Cooper (President), Malia Clark (Vice President), Jared Yu (Secretary), Taylor Blevins, Emily McLaughlin Sta. Maria, Farah Al-Qurishi, and Ava Wilson. Club advisors included Biology teacher Dave Millette, retired NOAA fisheries biologist Joe Scordino, and Valerie Stewart, community advocate.

Every month the Students Saving Salmon Club members take time out of their busy weekend schedules to collect water quality data from several creeks that feed into the Edmonds Marsh as well as samples from the Marsh. Valerie Stewart, club advisor said “This is a very conscientious group who go above and beyond to volunteer their time to help our community.” A few hours a month of water sampling is supported by hours of data entry.

Collecting and recording data is an important part of the project according to Joe Cooper, SSSC President: “Even if conditions are reasonable now, having a baseline is important so you can monitor future activities. In ten or 15 years we will be able to see if any change happened, gradual or dramatic. The data we collect today will still be important in the future.” Students who participated in data entry include: Ava Wilson, Angela Yang, Jared Yu, Erin Francisco, Emily McLaughlin Sta. Maria, Joe Cooper, Taylor Blevins, Sabrina Liu, Malia Clark, Emily Hoang, Natalie Flaherty, Farah Al-Qurishi, Ryan Peterson, along with advisor Joe Scordino.

Students get valuable scientific training from their advisors, including proper data recording and quality control procedures for sample taking. Several students have visited the Edmonds City laboratory to see how the City monitors storm water. The group plans to present their data to the Edmonds City Council at the end of the school year. The report will also include data on stream water quality during and after storm events.

Hands on experience is another one of the most rewarding parts of the club activities according to Cooper: “In biology class everything is hypothetical . . . this happened in this ecosystem somewhere really far way. . . whereas this is a hands-on experience we get to see what is happening right here in our community.”

The students also are involved in community outreach. There are three creeks that provide potential salmon spawning: Shell Creek, Willow Creek and Shellabarger Creek, with only Shell Creek currently supporting some salmon spawning.

The students have been surveying stream property owners about salmon in the creeks. Advisor Joe Scordino noted that creeks that run through private property are difficult to monitor. Scordino was impressed that the students were able to survey all 40 houses along Shell Creek with some property owners welcoming students even on a Saturday morning into their backyard and eager to share their stories of salmon sightings. There is nothing more motivating to protecting the stream in your backyard then actually seeing a salmon in the stream on your property, Scordino noted. It makes you appreciate the need and the honor of protecting their habitat.

Jared Yu, club secretary, found working with property owners challenging but rewarding “It was hard to have to talk to strangers at first but it helped build my confidence and communications skills and overall skills that could be applied to any field.” Going out into the community was also something Taylor Blevins appreciated “Going out to residents’ houses, interacting with residents, and being more involved in community.”

“It was encouraging that a lot of the residents were already taking measures to be safe” Jared Yu said, “and we can help by spreading knowledge of what homeowners can do to prevent contamination and improve stream habitat.” One of the first things the students intend to do with the data they have collected is share it with property owners and get their perspective.

A spike in warm temperatures was noted in March 2016 suggesting the need to closely monitor stream temperature. For salmon a temperature above 64 degree F is too hot for spawning. Encourage stream shading all along the stream can help mitigate spikes in temperatures too warm for salmon.

The students have also collaborated with Sound Salmon Solutions, a non-profit regional enhancement group to obtain a grant that provides funds for water quality tests at an accredited laboratory and for native plants that will be planted along Shell Creek. Students and habitat technicians will offer to work with property owners to plan and plant native vegetation along the streambeds on their properties. Salmon depend on plants for shade and shelter as well as insects as a food source. Many property owners were eager to work with students to monitor the health of the streams running through their property and still other were already taking steps to encourage salmon runs. Some property owners expressed concern about trees or shrubs blocking their view of the stream said “People have to be willing to help, and we have to help inform more people about how to protect the environment” said EWHS Emily McLaughlin Sta. Maria.

Most of the students anticipated moving on to careers that involve environmental studies, medicine, or other paths that help people and the environment. The club gives them the opportunity to explore their future interests. When we asked the students if they were optimistic about their ability to continue to monitor and protect salmon in our streams they enthusiastically agreed. As Hank Landau noted “When young people are optimistic that makes me optimistic.”

It may be difficult to predict the future, but thanks to the Students Saving Salmon Club efforts and the legacy of their database, we will know what happened in the past. Their model of sustainable community action is truly exceptional.

The City of Edmonds continues to identify opportunities for climate protection including actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. The City is also identifying ways to mitigate the effects of climate change through long-range planning that includes the impact of sea level rise and the rise in temperature along our shorelines and fresh water habitats. See www.edmondswa.gov. To find ways you can contribute to climate protection, check your carbon footprint at the EPA website https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/website calculator.

Mayor Appoints Whitney Rivera to Be Next Edmonds Municipal Court Judge

Rivera Whitney(Edmonds,WA) Mayor Mike Nelson today appointed Whitney Rivera to be Edmonds' next Municipal Court Judge. Stated Mayor Nelson, “I am excited to announce my judicial appointment of Whitney Rivera to the Edmonds Municipal Court. She brings forth vast trial court experience and has received multiple awards for taking innovative approaches in complicated cases. She has considerable experience working with underserved populations, working on issues of poverty, mental illness, and substance abuse that underlie so many misdemeanor cases.” read more

Mayor Appoints Dave Turley as City Finance Director

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson today appointed Acting Finance Director Dave Turley to be the City’s next Finance Director. 

“I am pleased to announce that that I am appointing Dave Turley to be our City’s Finance Director. Dave has served our City for four years as Assistant Finance Director and stepped up to be our Acting Director during the pandemic,” said Mayor Nelson. (read more) 

FREE, Non-Invasive COVID Testing on November 23rd

In Partnership with Verdant and Medical Teams International, the City Encourages You to Get a COVID Test

The City is partnering with Verdant Health Commission and Medical Teams International to provide free, non-invasive COVID-19 testing Monday, Nov. 23rd from 10 am – 5 pm at the Edmonds Woodway High School South parking lot(enter off of 76th Ave. W). This is a drive-thru event, but walk-ups will not be turned away.

“The goal is to test as many people in the community as possible,” said Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson. “You may not be showing symptoms, but could still spread the virus. Getting tested protects your loved ones.” The City encourages residents to put the family in the car and get everyone tested.

How it works
Medical Teams International staff will register each person as they drive up. Clients will not touch the registration paper for infection control purposes. Individuals should bring ID and insurance cards if they have insurance. Insurance payments help offset the cost for those who can’t pay.

No clients will be turned away. The testing is free, no exceptions. Grant funding covers the cost of the tests, though most insurance companies cover the cost of the test with no expense to the client. When insurance is billed, there are more grant-funded tests for those without insurance.

Tests are sent to the University of Washington and results can easily be accessed online with a code that is provided at the Edmonds testing site. Test results are available 2-5 days after the test, however results may be available in as soon as 24-48 hours.

The testing method used is anterior nasal swabbing, resulting in less discomfort than other methods. About 1 cm of the swab is inserted into one nostril at a time and rotated for about 10 seconds. The test is safe for both children and adults.

To learn more about this event, please contact Jennifer Piplic, Director of Marketing and Communication at Verdant Health Commission: jennifer.piplic@verdanthealth.org or 425-582-8600.

Mayor Responds to Offensive Disruption of Police Chief Public Forum Monday Evening

(Edmonds) Mayor Mike Nelson offers the following statement in response to the lewd and racist disruptions that occurred Monday evening during the Police Chief public forum on Zoom.

Last night a pathetic, hate-filled coward disrupted our Police Chief public forum on Zoom.

As we do with City Council meetings, I supported the open Zoom meeting format in order to remove as many barriers as possible for public participation. Other formats, such as watching a Zoom Webinar, require logging in with an email address, which some members of the public may not see as fully accessible. This public forum had the same security features as our regular City Council meetings because, as a government agency, we must be accessible and transparent.   Of course, in any public setting, by its very nature, there is the risk of a few bad actors taking advantage of the open forum. Unfortunately, that happened last night when individual(s) with racist beliefs and unsavory conduct briefly interrupted the proceedings. read more

Applications being accepted for City Tree Board

The Edmonds Citizens’ Tree Board has at least one member position that will be vacant by the end of 2020. The City is seeking applications for that position and any other Tree Board positions that become available in the near future. The application form is available on the City’s website or by e-mailing jana.spellman@edmondswa.gov. Applications are due by December 4, 2020.

Mayor Offers Statement on Edmonds Child Wounded by Gun Shot

(Edmonds) After the Edmonds Police Department’s media release today regarding a domestic gun discharge this past weekend that left a young girl injured, Mayor Mike Nelson offers the following additional remarks:

I am very saddened to hear of a five-year-old girl shot by her father while he was unholstering his firearm at their Edmonds home. 

This incident follows just a few short weeks after the tragic, armed, domestic violence case on Highway 99 that ended in a woman’s death.

I do not accept that accidents just happen, nor that domestic violence homicides are not preventable.  Gun violence and harm are preventable and pose a clear and present danger to every community.  

I will be working with our Chief of Police on prevention strategies that we as a city can take to prevent gun violence.  This will include community-based gun safety programs, disarming domestic violence abusers with such tools as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and lobbying our State Legislature to mandate gun-safety training, as well as to enact legislation that would give local governments the authority to put stronger laws into place that better protect our communities.

Police Chief Candidates' Public Forum

The November 9, 2020 Public Forum with Edmonds' Police Chief Candidates Sherman Pruitt and Jim Lawless can be viewed here.

Sherman PruittJim Lawless

                 Sherman Pruitt                                      Jim Lawless

City Webpage Explains Tree Code Update

A new webpage, http://treecode.edmondswa.gov, has been posted for the public to learn about and provide comments on the tree code update that the City has undertaken.

Edmonds Police Issues New Order on Driving While License Suspended Third Degree

(Edmonds, WA) - Acting Chief Jim Lawless yesterday issued a General Order to all Edmonds Police Department personnel stating that, as standard practice, the Department will no longer file a criminal case for the sole offense of Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree. 

Typically, this offense results from a driver failing to pay the ticket or appear in court for a prior moving violation, like speeding or rolling through a stop sign. 

Instead, officers will cite and release the offender with the civil infraction of No Valid Operator’s License with ID (if in possession of a valid form of identification as outlined in RCW 46.20.015). 

“Criminalizing the stand-alone offense of Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree can lead an individual down a spiral of debt, inability to drive, loss of job, and worse,” stated Mayor Nelson. “That downward spiral hits particularly hard among lower-income individuals and people of color. In Washington State, Black people are three times more likely to be charged, and Native Americans are twice as likely to be charged, with this offense.” read more

Planning Board Public Hearing on CIP/CFP

The Edmonds Planning Board is holding a public hearing on the Capital Improvement Program / Capital Facilities Plan on Thursday, November 12th. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and is a virtual/remote meeting being held via Zoom. Information on the details of the CIP and CFP, and how to join the meeting, can be found on the Planning Board agenda page.

City of Edmonds Requests Input on Waterfront Center Programming

What programs, recreation and community classes would you like to see?

The City of Edmonds seeks input from the community for recreation program recommendations at the new Edmonds Waterfront Center. City Recreation staff are developing programs for all ages to be held at this new state-of-the-art building. Sharing the building with the Edmonds Senior Center, City recreation will be running classes Monday through Thursday between the hours of 4:00pm-10:00pm. (Read more)