Protecting clean water takes a village

Written by Tammy Kennon

The Puget Sound region is a sprawling, productive ecosystem with a burgeoning population. Protecting this wonderland means bringing together an equally sprawling number of interests: counties, cities, engineers, scientists, non-profits, large corporations and the public. Is that even possible?

A pilot project in the Perrinville Creek basin says yes.

The Perrinville Creek basin, located in Snohomish County, is a small watershed that packs a punch. As rainfall runs over the paved surfaces and roof tops its 1200 acres of uplands drain polluted stormwater into the creek and eventually into Puget Sound. The basin, which includes the cities of Edmonds and Lynnwood, is part of the Snohomish Conservation District, which offers free help to residents to conserve natural resources.

Bringing together all concerned parties to address polluted runoff in the basin posed a daunting hurdle, but with grant money from Boeing and The Nature Conservancy, the Snohomish Conservation District met the challenge. Working with the city of Edmonds, Edmonds Community College and a nonprofit sustainability organization, they identified, evaluated and prioritized stormwater reduction opportunities in the creek basin.

Their first step was to gauge the interest of the local community, so they sought help from Dr. Thomas Murphy, Chair of the Anthropology Department at Edmonds Community College. Dr. Murphy and his students canvassed homeowners in the basin to measure their interest in natural solutions.

“We let the results speak for themselves,” said Riley. “It was overwhelming.”

Nine out of ten homeowners expressed willingness to install a rain garden in their neighborhood right-of-ways -- and even on their own property. And the majority of community members were willing to help maintain green infrastructure in public spaces.

To identify optimal locations for green infrastructure, Snohomish Conservation District also enlisted the help of the nonprofit Forterra, a regional sustainability organization, to analyze the basin.

For more information please visit the Community-Based Stormwater Solutions for the Perrinville Basin Report

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