Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Puget Sound Ecosystem

You are invited to participate in a series of topic forums to help inform the development of the Action Agenda. The forums will help synthesize the region’s knowledge on key aspects of the Puget Sound ecosystem. All information gathered during these forums and from comments and input from interested parties will be synthesized and discussed at a broad, ecosystem-wide forum May 28.

During these all-day work sessions, science and policy experts will:

§ Review Sound-wide status and threats analyses;

§ Discuss the technical understanding of the problem; and

§ Identify policy strategies needed to help achieve a healthy Puget Sound.

Each of the following topic forums will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:

Species/Biodiversity – May 1

TOC Conference Center, 5799 – 23rd Drive W., Everett

Water Quantity – May 5

Edmonds Conference Center, 201 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds

Synthesis Forum – May 28th

Location TBD

Detailed materials developed for each topic forum will be posted on the Partnership’s Web site on or before April 14.

Attendees should be able to share their scientific and policy expertise on each of the topic areas. The meetings are open to the public. If you cannot attend a forum but would like to participate, you can submit comments electronically by May 6.

For more information about the topic forums process, visit http://www.psp.wa.gov/aa_topic_forums.php.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Linda Lyshall

Regional Liaison | Puget Sound Partnership

State of Washington

Office: 425-640-3557

Cell: 425-457-1157


Public Forum: Unified Development Code Update Project

Public Forum: Unified Development Code Update Project

Please join us for a discussion of two topics that will lead to amendments to the Snohomish County Unified Development Code (UDC):

1. Urban Centers: Creating welcoming places for pedestrians

2. Forest Practices: County permits for cutting trees

When: Thursday, May 1, 2008*

Morning Session: 9:00 a.m.Noon

Evening Session: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

*The same agenda is repeated at both sessions.

Where: Snohomish County Campus, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Everett

Administration Building East, Meeting Room 1

We welcome and invite public feedback and questions. Come share your concerns and make suggestions in the early stages of these important regulatory updates.

1. Urban Centers: Creating welcoming places for pedestrians.

This will be a continuation of discussions begun in UDC Update Public Forums last May and December. Regulations governing the development of Urban Centers most directly affect residents within or near areas designated as Urban Center, Urban Village and Transit/Pedestrian Village in the comprehensive plan. These regulations are of importance to anyone planning to design or build a mixed use/multiple family residential project in an unincorporated urban growth area; cities considering annexing the unincorporated area and public service providers. Currently the County has designated the areas around the following intersections for such development: 164th & I-5; 128th & I-5; State Route 527 and 196th St; State Route 99 and State Route 525; State Route 99 and 152nd St; I-5 and 44th Ave W; and scattered smaller sites throughout the unincorporated Southwest UGA.

Snohomish County planners will lead a group discussion of policy issues and are looking for feedback to help answer key questions captured under several broad themes. Themes to date include public realm, neighborhood compatibility, development character, circulation (roads and sidewalks), and the review process. Additional themes to be explored include density, master plans and allowable uses.

2. Forest Practices: County permits for cutting trees.

The forest practices regulations in RCW 76.09 were changed last year to require a transfer of authority from State of Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to local jurisdictions for the review and permitting of certain types for forest practice activities.

These regulations affect individuals planning to remove trees within the urban growth area or for the purpose of converting the land use from a natural forested condition. The County will be taking over the review and permit issuance responsibilities for all forest practice activities within the unincorporated urban growth areas and for all forest practices related to land conversion countywide.

Snohomish County planners will present an overview of the scope of the forest practice responsibilities shifting from DNR to the County. The presentation will focus on the statutory basis for the shift in jurisdictional responsibility, what types of forest practice activities the County will be responsible for and how the forest practices regulations will be meshed with other regulatory requirements.

UDC Update Project Public Forums are held the first Thursday of each month (unless otherwise noted). Forums are offered in the morning and evening to ensure as much public participation as possible.

For more information or to sign up for monthly or quarterly email notices and news about specific issues pertaining to the UDC Update Project, visit the UDC Update Project web page at www.snoco.org, or call UDC Planning and Development reception at 425-388-3311 ext. 2203 to be directed to a project team member.

For more information or to sign up for monthly or quarterly e-mail notices and news about specific issues pertaining to the Update Project, visit the UDC Update web page or call the UDC Planning and Development reception at 425-388-3311 ext. 2203 to be directed to a project team member.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rescue Plan for Sound Falls Short

Scientists: Rescue plan for Sound falls short

New blueprint neglects stormwater, critics say


For a quarter-century, government agencies have been birthing plans to rescue ecologically ailing Puget Sound. They didn't work.

And neither will the latest blueprint, a brand-new stab at the task unveiled by a brand-new agency that fails to deal with the biggest source of pollutants entering the Sound, leading scientists charged on Friday.

That pollution source is stormwater, the fetid mixture flowing off streets and parking lots and other hard surfaces, carrying oil, pesticides, antifreeze, pet waste and so much more into the Sound and its tributaries.

The Puget Sound Partnership's 43-page "internal discussion draft" on how to start cleaning up the waters of Puget Sound devotes just one tentative paragraph to what scientists advising the agency identified as the best solution: "low-impact development."

That involves steps such as "green roofs" that soak up rainwater, "rain gardens" that intercept water before it flows onto hard surfaces, cisterns and porous pavement that allows rainwater to soak into the ground.

None is mentioned in the draft paper, surprising even the group of scientists whose expertise the Partnership supposedly tapped to produce the report. They leveled their critique Friday at a meeting of about 180 scientists, regulators and activists at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center

"It's as disappointing to some of you as it is to us not to see those (concepts) pop up as action items," said Derek Booth, a stormwater expert with Stillwater Sciences. "The time is past to be scratching our heads about every step."

Another panel member, Bill Derry of CH2MHill, a consulting firm, said the techniques need to be put into effect not just in newly developing areas but also in already-built cities such as Seattle.

"Retrofit has to be a major focus," Derry said. "Focusing on new development ... just slows the decline."

State Department of Ecology regulator Bill Moore stunned some participants with his straight-ahead admission that his agency has failed to fix the problem, calling the regulatory system for stormwater "fractured and incomplete and frankly not very effective as a consequence."

Moore, head of Ecology's stormwater unit, said solving the problem "probably means behavioral changes" by citizens, "which the regulatory system is not very well suited to."

A prime culprit in polluting stormwater is cars, which shed pollutants even when they are functioning perfectly -- not to mention leaking oil, antifreeze, steering fluid and numerous other pollutants as they age.

Development patterns also will have to change, said scientists on the panel. And, said panel member Anne Fairbrother, a toxicologist, businesses must minimize wastes.

"Many businesses have found that not only is that better for the environment, but it's also better for business," she said.

David Dicks, director of the partnership, said he was not dismayed to hear complaints -- the whole point of the meeting was critiquing the document.

"This is what we want to happen," Dicks said.

In fact, the document discussed on Friday isn't in itself a plan, Dicks said, but rather an attempt to get people talking about the issue.

The Partnership, which was created by the Legislature last year and got rolling in late 2007, has only until later this year to produce an "action agenda" to save the Sound, complete with surefire methods to check on progress and hold accountable people, businesses and agencies getting in the way.

"We're still figuring this out at the same time we are engaging the public," Dicks said.

The draft document pilloried Friday is one of six coming out to tell people how the agency is thinking about a series of topics. Meetings to discuss these early drafts continue Monday in Bremerton, with an all-day session on land use and habitat preservation at the Kitsap Conference Center, 251 First St.

P-I reporter Robert McClure can be reached at 206-448-8092 or robertmcclure@seattlepi.com.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Green Drinks in Snohomish County

MAY 13, 2008 from 5:30 to 7:30


Let’s raise a toast to the planet while we figure out ways not to toast the planet. Never heard of Greendrinks? It began in Europe and now sustainability people in over 342 cities all over the globe meet monthly for libations.

It is a lively mixture of people from non-profits, academia, government and business and is a great way of catching up with folks you know and for making new contacts. Greendrinks is simple, unstructured and rather organic. People have found jobs, developed new ideas, done deals and had epiphanies at Greendrinks.

Check out all the ways to have Greendrinks at http://www.greendrinks.org/. Greening Properties http://www.greeningproperties.com/, is hosting the debut for Snohomish County at their downtown Everett office - 2817 Rucker Avenue.

Greening Properties is a small, locally owned independent real estate company that is committed to building communities that honor the past, protect the future and support healthy living for the present. Historic Everett http://www.historiceverett.org/ is our featured non-profit. Historic Preservation and sustainability are natural partners – it has been said that the greenest building is one that already exists.

To make the first Greendrinks a very special event, the extremely talented local artist, Mary Coss will be showing some of her latest work.

Visit http://www.marycoss.com/ to see how art builds community. If you’ve got questions, call Valerie or Mary at 425-252-7601. This is going to be over the top, so bring a friend.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Environmental Superhero: Snohomish County

Elizabeth Armstrong /The Herald/ Deanna Carveth, a hazardous waste chemist for the county, talks a little "trash" with Deanna Clark Willingham (left) and Tom Stowe at a meeting of the International Right of Way Association.

Employee spreads Green Know-How

Before long, Deanna Carveth will have to be fitted with a cape. It would be one woven using renewable materials, of course.

"I've packaged a lot of household hazardous waste, rendering people's garages safer from the toxic goo that lived within," Carveth said in her best superhero voice. "I get a cape."

Carveth is a hazardous waste chemist working for Snohomish County's public works department -- in other words, a chemical geek.

After years of tackling pesticides and paints elsewhere, she's been helping Snohomish County's environmental effort.

Her work earned her a big award. She was recently anointed a "Built Green Pioneer" by the Master Builders of King and Snohomish Counties, which represents the region's home building industry.

read more

Reporter Jeff Switzer: 425-339-3452 or jswitzer@heraldnet.com.

Building industry info at builtgreen.net.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Green Conference


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Low Impact Development Workshop Series

Puget Sound Low Impact Development Technical Workshop Series

This series is developed by Curtis Hinman with WSU (the author of the LID Technical Guidance Manual) and sponsored by the Puget Sound Partnership. The cost to you is only $50 for each 2-day workshop. These two-day workshops, with instruction by regional and national experts, will provide the current state of knowledge on the following topics:

May 6-7 Permeable paving specifications for permeable asphalt, concrete, interlocking concrete pavers, and other paving systems, as well as subgrade preparation, base material specifications, modeling, and maintenance.

May 28-29 Bioretention siting, sizing and modeling techniques, designing surface and subsurface drainage components, and soil mixes.

June 4-5 Vegetated roof modeling (aka green roofs), cistern design, rainwater collection, and low impact PIN foundations design.

June 25-26 Site planning, clearing and grading, LID construction sequencing, and inspection.

This series will be held in Sequim at the Jamestown Tribal Center. The same series of workshops will be also be provided in Bellingham (September and October 2008) and Seattle (February and March 2009)

For more information and registration see: http://capps.wsu.edu/conferences/lidworkshops/