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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pretty February Snow in Shoreline

A Pretty Sight on a Late February Morning. 

Big Snowflakes! Will it last? 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Trees Are Fundamental to Shoreline's Character

Trees are front and center again in Shoreline. 

"To Tree or not to Tree, that is the question!" 
(apologies to William Shakespear!)

Trees that are now gone
 from Bear Reserve, part of Innis Arden
7/11 - ph credit Janet Way

At Monday's City Council meeting the Trees and Tree Board topic will be on the agenda. Council will take up Ordinances #617 and #627 which address respectively:  creating a Tree Board and Tree Cutting Permits for the Right of Way. 

The agenda link is here. Councilmeetings begin at 7pm, and public comment on this item will be at the beginning, but the discussion and potential vote will begin after about 7:45pm. You can contact the Council directly at:
or City Manager's office: 801-2213

Citizens who care about protecting our trees have been contacting the Council for years about these concerns and recently have taken other actions.

The Shoreline Preservation Society, a local non-profit organization is raising many concerns about these proposals and the potential impacts to our environment, health and character of the community. 
SPS (Shoreline Preservation Society) is now sponsoring an online petition, through The Petition Site/Care2, asking the community to support the protection of our trees through and independent, stand-alone tree board, not just creating a board ordinance that facilitates cutting more trees and benefits one neighborhood's "views".  

The petition has garnered over 230 signatures in just 5 days. You're invited to sign at:

In Shoreline, tree preservation has been a continuing controversy for many years, and is fundamental to the community's image, quality of life and central to the political identity of different neighborhoods and factions.
Some magnificent London Plane Trees grace
Meridian Ave N, and provide shade and a beautiful
"tunnel of green"
ph credit, Janet Way

Some of the major concerns about these ordinances are:
• Need for SEPA Review to assess the actual environmental impacts of this ordinance 
• Tree Board needs to be an "independent, stand-alone" body, not just the Parks Board 
• Accompanying "Street Tree List" to the ordinance does not contain conifers, native trees or most of the existing street trees, when our current streetsides now are made up of over 40% conifers. 
• Permit process is designed to benefit one neighborhood, Innis Arden to facilitate cutting for views
Major Concern:
So, if all the trees that are now in the "Right-of-Way" (existing Street Trees) are not on the "approved list" in the proposed ordinance, they are all vulnerable to cutting, with just a simple permit.

Many of us are still asking are we Shoreline, Innis Arden or Shorelinnisarden? 

Thousands of beautiful trees are at stake in Shoreline and the Council has a responsibility to consider the legacy we leave for the future in our City.
Conifer in Right of Way in Innis Arden

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Douglass Squirrels Sighted in Briarcrest

Wildlife enthusiast, Chris Southwick sighted native Douglass Squirrels (Tamiasciurus douglasii) in her backyard habitat last week.
Douglass Squirrel - Tamiasciurus douglasii
photo credit - Chris Southwick

Douglass Squirrels are one of the "Native" species of squirrels in WA State, but they are increasingly rare since their habitat has been overrun by the common Eastern Gray Squirrels shown in the photo.

They have also been sighted at Hamlin Park and in Boeing Creek Park areas.
ph credit - Chris Southwick

WDFW has information on most of our native wildlife species.  They recommend building nesting boxes to attract the Douglass Squirrel. Plans for constructing a nesting box can be found at the WDFW site at this link

ph credit - WDFW

Douglas' squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii)
Body: 7" Tail: 5" 
Douglas' squirrels are small native tree squirrels. They are dark chestnut on the back fading to a reddish- or brownish-gray on the sides; their underparts are orange to gray and are offset by a short black stripe. The eye ring is pale orange. Their tails are somewhat bushy, slightly flattened and have a black tip. Douglas' squirrels vocalize often and have a range of calls from a low "chirr" to a sharp staccato "cough".

Chris Southwick serves on the board of the Puget Sound Bird Observatory and conducts permitted "bird banding" actions at her Briarcrest home. She lives near the Grace Cole Nature Park, which is located in Lake Forest Park, but is adjacent to Shoreline.

Rep Ryu's Special-Needs Transportation Bill Clears House

“Thousands of our neighbors with disabilities depend on public transportation to get to jobs and everywhere else they need to be. We owe it to them and to our communities to make special-needs transportation as accessible and efficient as possible." Rep Cindy Ryu, D-32

Shoreline, home base for Rep Cindy Ryu has a high proportion of "special needs" residents, including school age children.  Special-needs children and residents are disproportionately affected by budget cuts to public transit and school transportation. 

Rep Ryu is concerned about these impacts and is sponsoring House Bill 2725 . 

Contact Rep Ryu's office with questions or comments at:
Olympia Office:
324 John L. O'Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7880

OLYMPIA—The statewide council responsible for coordinating special-needs transportation may live beyond June, if the state Senate follows the lead of Rep. Cindy Ryu and the House of Representatives.

The House voted 56-41 on Friday for Ryu’s proposal to expand, reform and permanently reauthorize the Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation (ACCT), which would otherwise expire on June 30.

Opponents of the bill argued that the Legislature should allow agencies with sunset provisions to die. Ryu countered that the Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation is the only statewide organization that brings together all the major players who play a role in providing transportation to people with special needs.

“Thousands of our neighbors with disabilities depend on public transportation to get to jobs and everywhere else they need to be,” said Ryu (D-Shoreline).  “We owe it to them and to our communities to make special-needs transportation as accessible and efficient as possible.”

In addition to permanently reauthorizing ACCT, Ryu’s House Bill 2725 directs the council to place a high priority on projects that deliver measurable performance benefits, promote cost- and ride-sharing, match transportation with human services, and address the needs of underserved populations.

Witnesses lined up in support of Ryu’s bill during a Feb. 1 public hearing.

“There is not one area in this state where transportation is not a problem and where people don’t have big issues about getting to health care clinics or mental health clinics or even a grocery store,” said Jim Morris, who spent 15 years on the Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment.

“This coordinated transportation approach is the best conceivable way of trying to match scarce resources with a variety of users,” Morris said.

A number of witnesses agreed that coordinating transportation is the best way to ensure continued service while saving public funds.

Ryu’s bill and coordinated transportation are about “sharing trips, sharing costs, avoiding duplication, and saving money,” said Marge Tully on behalf of the Pierce County Coordinated Transportation Coalition. “We’ve come a long way in the effort of coordinating transportation. This is not the time to lose heart and to stop that effort.”

Ryu said she expects her bill to pass during the current legislative session, while there is still time to save the council.

“Transportation is a necessity for people with special needs, and finding ways to make public dollars go further is a necessity for our state and local governments, especially now,” said Ryu. “Passing this bill serves both of these important needs.”

ph credit 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mountains to Sound/Carter Subaru Partnership Helps Southwoods

Southwoods Park next to Shorecrest HS has been adopted by the Mountains to Sound and local dealership, Carter Subaru. 
Southwoods Park located next to Shorecrest
HS provides respite for Briacrest
Carters' "Carbon Neutral Project" is providing stewardship opportunities in Shoreline.

Southwoods Park was created in a grassroots effort by South Woods Preservation Group, and succeeded when the City of Shoreline purchased the nearly 16 acre parcel in 2007. This was after a multi-year effort by the organization and the successful 2006 Shoreline Parks and Recreation Bond passage. The property had previously been owned jointly by Shoreline School District and Shoreline Water District. 

The park is one of the largest coniferous open spaces in Shoreline or Seattle. The property had been previously owned by the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) and before that had housed officers for the Navy hospital at what is now Fircrest School.

Now Mountains to Sound Greenway organization has held two work parties to plant native conifers in the park. Mountains to Sound is hosting a number of work parties this winter all throughout its territory, which stretches across the Cascades and 1.5 million acres and 800,000 acres of public lands. 
Mountains to Sound and is celebrating its 20th year and its mission is:
The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust leads and inspires action to conserve and enhance the landscape from Seattle across the Cascade Mountains to Central Washington, ensuring a long-term balance between people and nature.
Another goal of Mountains to Sound is to ask Congress to designate the "Greenway" as a National Heritage Area. 

This past weekend, about 30 volunteers helped plant about 168 Western Red Cedar and Grand Fir trees. The trees and the program are supported in part by locally based Carter Subaru in its "carbon neutral project" campaign. 

Western Red Cedar trees ready for planting
Carter Subaru has a dealership on Aurora Ave N and has contributed funds to support the planting of thousands of trees. The program offers automotive shoppers a way to help the environment
Planting a Forest….. One Test Drive at a Time. 

Our commitment to doing something that off sets the 150+ cars that we sell monthly is our Carbon Neutral Project.
For each car test-driven at Carter Subaru, one tree will be planted in the Mountains to Sound Greenway, funded by Carter Motors. For each car purchased, three additional trees will be planted.  So, if you test drive a car and buy it there will be four trees planted in the Greenway!
Kellogg Middle School student and her dad
planting a young Grand Fir tree at Southwoods

Since 2005, the SWPG has advocated for the Southwoods property, and worked to remove acres of invasive plants such as English Ivy, English Holly, Himilayan Blackberry, and others. The park provides trails and respite for the southeast section of Shoreline, including the Briacrest neighborhood.  It also provides fresh air, water conservation and habitat for wildlife. 

Forest canopy is a valuable resource for Shoreline

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Late Afternoon Light - Greenlake

A beautiful weekend in Seattle begins on Friday afternoon. 

Crew teams practicing in late afternoon

The golden glow of late afternoon light gives Greenlake a magical quality. 
The three mile walk is always a delight, as the ever changing scene unfolds, depending on the time of day or time of year.
Sun reflection between willows
Friday was busy at the path as hundreds of walkers, cyclists, moms and strollers and skaters enjoyed the sunshine.
Kayakers enjoying the afternoon on the lake.
Greenlake is a neighborhood and a destination. Greenlake Park is said to be the most frequently visited park in the State! On a beautiful afternoon, it is easy to see why.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Move Over Groundhogs - It's Also World Wetlands Day

So what's so great about Wetlands? Thank you for asking. 
Paramount Park Upper Pond in Winter Whites
Ph Credit - Janet Way
For me it's about extraordinary beauty and life! 

But at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, they are celebrating because there are FIVE main reasons for
why we should celebrate and protect wetlands. Last year the World Wetlands Day celebrated its 40th anniversary.
 It celebrates the day the Ramsar Wetlands Convention was signed in 1971. The Wetlands Convention promotes the conservation and wise use of wetlands through international cooperation. Today, 1,994 Ramsar sites covering more than 474 million acres have been designated as Wetlands of International Importance.
Paramount Park Natural Area is Shoreline's largest wetland at about 6.5 Acres. But we also have others such as Meridian Park, Ronald Bog, Cromwell Park, Twin Ponds and Echo Lake.
Great Blue Heron at Ronald Bog
ph credit - Janet Way

Beaver Pond Natural Area at Thornton Creek
ph credit - Janet Way

The US. Fish and Wildlife Service "Open Spaces Blog" wants us to know the top FIVE reasons and here they are. So visit your nearest beautiful wetland soon and get to know it and protect it. They are disappearing with alarming regularity due to development and other misguided policies.

5 Things You Need to Know About Wetlands
1. Wetlands give us drinking water!  The groundwater that humans depend on for drinking and other uses is cleaned and purified by wetlands – bogs, marshes, swamps, and other wetland areas actually make our water drinkable.  There are about 33 trillion gallons of groundwater in the U.S. today!
2. Wetlands provide amazing services that affect everyday life for humans and wildlife. They slow down floodwaters, they help stop erosion on beaches and riverbanks, and they make local weather patterns less extreme.  
Wooducks and Hooded Meganzers at
Beaver Pond Natural Area at Thornton Creek
ph Credit - Don MacCall

3. The United States has 30 Wetlands of International Importance!  These sites have received recognition from the international community for their unique biology, incredible diversity, and the important habitat they provide for species that migrate around the world.  Ten of these are on National Wildlife Refuges
4. Wetlands host a variety of habitats and support a diversity of life including some threatened and endangered species. The Chinook salmon, the Northern spotted owls, and the Roswell springsnail all call wetlands home. 

5. Wetlands are vital to fish and the angler community!  Wetlands provide important nutrients and habitat for many different kinds of aquatic animals and help ensure the healthy waterways.  According to the 2006 National Survey (link), fishing contributes $42 billion to the U.S. economy.

Vote Linda Stein's Solar Fest Image on Shoreline Facebook Page

Local artist Linda Stein's image is up for a vote on the City of Shoreline's Facebook Page for the Parks Recreation Guide. 

By voting for this image, you will bring attention to our great Solar Fest sponsored by Shoreline Solar Project.

Hope you'll vote for Linda's beautiful photo!