What to Do When Your Office Moves: Plant 900 Trees

Taking advantage of a day out of the office during our Seattle office move, the Aspect Community Team (ACT) partnered with Stewardship Partners and Carnation Farms to help with their ongoing riparian restoration efforts along the Snoqualmie River. It was a sunny, beautiful October day, and the fall colors were rich throughout the valley. Eleven employees make the trek to Carnation and spent a few hours planting shrubs and trees including western red cedar, snowberry, salmonberry, and cottonwoods. We had help from four stewardship partner field crew who also placed cottonwood stakes among the trees and shrubs.

Aspect’s volunteer staff donated their day to plant over 900 trees along the Snoqualmie River to help Stewardship Partners and Carnation Farms.

Why Carnation Farms? A brief history:

In 1908, the first 360 acres of farmland were purchased, and Carnation Farms was created. Now the farm totals 818 acres and includes an 8-acre organic garden, educational programs, event space, hiking trails, and is bordered by a stretch of the Snoqualmie River. A byproduct of the agricultural growth in the region was the destruction of the natural riparian ecosystems along the river throughout the valley. Stewardship Partners has been working with Carnation Farms to restore the habitat along the Snoqualmie River as a component to their adopt-a-buffer program.

Why is riparian habitat restoration important?

Planting native trees and shrubs is the primary component of restoration and maintenance of healthy riparian ecosystems. As Stewardship Partners explains, the strips of native trees and shrubs provide cooling shade, control erosion and provide habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife species. Trees and shrubs actively absorb air pollution throughout their lifetime, storing carbon and fighting climate change.

What is the impact of a half-day of service?

In about 3-4 hours of diligent work we planted 960 shrubs, trees, and stakes across approximately 0.5 acres of riparian habitat along the Snoqualmie River. This effort would have taken at least a week without the ACT volunteers. Stewardship Partners will do some maintenance the area and in about a year we should be able to see if our efforts truly take root.

Previous and ongoing ACTivities and service projects:

Aspect has partnered with Stewardship Partners previously for the design and installation of the Carnation Elementary School raingarden. The raingarden installation is part of a greater 12,000 Rain Gardens effort, and Aspect is also in coordination for another volunteer raingarden project! Stewardship Partners has been a great organization to work with and Aspect is a proud supporter-- pro-bono technical design, education and consulting services, volunteer labor, and funding.

Aspect Staff vs. Brambles at MLK Day of Service Event

On Martin Luther King Day this week, Aspect staff took some time to participate in a Day of Service event. We joined Nature Consortium and many dozens of other volunteers in a restoration effort at Pigeon Point Park in West Seattle. We were tasked with removing invasive blackberries! The weather was great, we didn’t get scratched too badly—we did get muddy, and we made a little dent in the blackberry problem. 

Action shots from the day. Volunteers: 1 - Blackberry Brambles: 0! 
 

Aspect Staff Volunteers Design and Muscle for new Rain Gardens at Carnation Elementary School

Over this past summer, Aspect’s Owen Reese was invited by Stewardship Partners to provide pro bono design for a pair of rain gardens at Carnation Elementary School. The project is part of a long-standing partnership between the Snoqualmie Tribe and Stewardship Partners to plant and promote native species and educate communities on water quality protection. The goal of this demonstration project is to improve infiltration, replace non-native vegetation, and create wildlife habitat. The rain gardens will infiltrate runoff from approximately 6,500 square feet of the school’s roof.  

This fall, several Aspect staff, along with volunteers from Stewardship Partners and Carnation Elementary School, gave a Saturday to prepare the rain gardens for planting by shoveling dirt to create the final shape of the rain gardens and place 4 tons of river rock to line the conveyance channels. It was great fun and a good workout!

The school kids will be planting the rain gardens in a few weeks, incorporating native plants selected by the Snoqualmie Tribe as culturally significant.

Aspect’s Owen Reese and Tom Atkins presenting at NEBC’s Stormwater Conference on March 9th

On March 9th in Tacoma, the Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) will host the 9th annual Managing Stormwater Conference in Washington. This focused one-day conference is Washington's leading stormwater event, convening regulated companies, governments, solution providers, and regulators to share solutions to the challenges of stormwater management. The conference’s educational sessions will cover both basics and advanced topics in the areas of industrial stormwater management, construction stormwater management, municipal stormwater management, and cross-cutting issues. Aspect is proud to be a premier sponsor of the conference. Aspect’s stormwater engineers Tom Atkins and Owen Reese will also be contributing to two of the educational sessions. 

Tom will present a case study in the Industrial Treatment Project Showcase Session; his presentation will highlight deployment of a customized treatment system that successfully met tight time constraints, overcame challenging site conditions, and achieved NPDES permit requirements.

Owen will moderate the cross-cutting issues session on the “Impact of Third-Party Lawsuits”. This session will discuss Clean Water Act lawsuits by outside parties as a de facto enforcement tool for stormwater permit compliance, walk through the process of a typical citizen suit,  and share what can be learned from the outcome of these cases. 

Learn more about the conference HERE.