Rolling up their sleeves to commemorate Earth Day: NOAA staff work to restore Seattle campus shoreline

Spring 2014

Every day is Earth Day at NOAA, but staff at our Western Regional Center (WRC) in Seattle, Washington, will be commemorating this year’s Earth Day by rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty. Staff will be stepping away from their computers and offices to remove non-native vegetation along two sections of the campus’s 3,600-foot Lake Washington shoreline.

 

NOAA's Sand Point campus shoreline on Lake Washington. NOAA photo by Polly Hicks.

The WRC is the largest NOAA facility outside of our headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, and includes five of NOAA’s six line offices. By coming together to restore our own shoreline, NOAA staff is leading by example, fostering a sense of stewardship, and making a hands-on contribution to one element of NOAA’s mission: to protect and conserve the nation’s living marine resources. The shoreline restoration project will enhance habitat for one of NOAA’s most iconic trust species – threatened Chinook salmon. During the week of April 21, we hope to have over 100 NOAA staff volunteers removing non-native plants and mulching the cleared areas. Later in the year we will plant native vegetation to stabilize the shoreline and provide shade for the salmon that call Lake Washington home.

NOAA’s Restoration Center is leading this shoreline restoration effort. With funding from NOAA’s Preserve America Initiative Internal Funding Program, the Restoration Center has inspired NOAA staff to participate in this project to enhance the historic WRC and its benefits to NOAA employees, the public, and NOAA trust resources. In addition to leveraging the Restoration Center’s knowledge and expertise, our long-standing partner, EarthCorps, will help to train and lead staff volunteers during the events.

Restoring the WRC shoreline will provide for healthy, ecologically functioning habitat and enhance the enjoyment that NOAA staff and the public receive from this campus. Although participation in this Earth Day event is limited to NOAA staff, the campus’s sculptures and open space are open to the public. As part of this restoration project we will be installing interpretive signs along the existing shoreline path to explain the benefits of the project to staff and members of the public who visit our campus for NOAA Science Camp, open houses, tours, and other events. Our shoreline will be a place where landowners can learn how they can restore their own shorelines and where the public can learn about the connection between healthy habitats, salmon, and human communities.

To learn more about salmon recovery efforts in this watershed, please visit:

http://www.govlink.org/watersheds/8/

To learn about salmon recovery efforts in Puget Sound, please visit:

http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected_species/salmon_steelhead/recovery_planning_and_implementation/puget_sound/puget_sound_salmon_recovery_domain.html

Are you interested in greening your shoreline? Get your free copy of the Green Shorelines Guidebook by visiting:

http://www.govlink.org/watersheds/8/action/GreenShorelines/default.aspx

Check out photos of this first event on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NOAAFisheriesWestCoast

Additional Earth Day Events on Lake Washington and around Seattle:

April 19th - Earth Day Service Project at Seward Park Environmental & Audubon Center

April 19th - Duwamish Alive!

April 26th - Juanita Bay Park: Green Kirkland Partnership Earth Day Event!

Photo credits: home page; Joe Mabel, this page; Polly Hicks. NOAA