Commentary: Citizens can help fund Edmonds Marsh restoration, preservation

Councilmember Diane Buckshnis

Note: The Edmonds City Council on March 6 passed an ordinance that establishes the marsh restoration and preservation fund.

A number of citizens over the past years have asked me about donating funds to restore the Edmonds Marsh beyond their volunteering efforts and environmental support. I am proud to announce that in 2017 the City Council approved establishing a designated fund for the Restoration and Preservation of the Edmonds Marsh for donations.

The recent marsh restoration began in 2010, when I was placed on the Water Resource Area Inventory 8 (WRIA8) Salmon Recovery Commission. In 2011, the WRIA8 Commission voted to place the Edmonds Marsh on their eligible funding list. Since then, the city has applied for and received over $500,000 in federal and state grant funds. The funds were first for a feasibility study for the return of salmon should Willow Creek be daylighted; it was determined that when this near-shore estuary is restored, we would see baby salmon migrating up the channel. Then the design phase began and a final design was approved in 2016 by funding agency WRIA8 (Water Resource Area Inventory 8). About 60 percent of the design is complete, with the remainder pending the transfer of property from Unocal to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The date of the final clean-up sign-off has yet to be determined

The primary reason for this near-shore estuary work is to replace the pipe that limits the rate and volume of tidal exchange as well as, salmon migration with an open channel. The pipe was installed eliminating the open channel when the Marina was constructed. Additionally, during winter months, the tidal gate is closed to reduce potential flooding which further limits the exchange of saltwater to the Marsh. The limited tidal exchange and gate closure, allows pollutants, rain and stormwater and sediment to accumulate in the marsh.

In 2012, the City Council voted to set aside $200,000 showing a dedication to grant funders of our commitment to this unique environmental asset, also referred to as a wildlife sanctuary. Last year, the City Council set aside another $100,000 and voted to create a separate fund to allow citizens, community organizations, and other stakeholders to financially help with Edmonds Marsh restoration. All donations are tax-deductible.

We all know how fortunate we are to have this wonderful ecologically unique, accessible wildlife sanctuary in our city. Actually, it is one of the few remaining salt marsh habitats on Puget Sound. The restoration of the Edmonds Marsh will provide key benefits to our city, including educational and scientific resource for present and future generations, stormwater management, and mitigating the impacts of sea level rise. This year, the city council has engaged consultants to provide us with a detailed scientific study about the wildlife, vegetation and the ecological functions of the Edmonds Marsh in its current state and potential outcomes from the Willow Creek daylighting.

We all know there are many projects needing funding in Edmonds such as Civic Field renovation and necessary city services. The preservation and restoration of the Edmonds Marsh is a once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance this natural space, allowing the return of an ancient salmon run. This fund will assist the city in gaining grants from other sources. Given that the estimate for this complex project is well over $11 million (including the Marina Beach upgrade), the city will have to rely heavily on grant funds, as well as support from citizens and other entities that may put themselves on record endorsing the effort. While some may think this monetary goal can never be achieved, I have seen project well over $11 million completed during my eight-year (so far) tenure at WRIA8. So, let’s show everyone that we are we are serious about our Edmonds Marsh restoration. After all, the preservation of the Edmonds Marsh wildlife sanctuary is our responsibility. Your tax-deductible contribution may be made to the City of Edmonds – Marsh Restoration.

— By Diane Buckshnis, Edmonds City Council

  1. Kudos to you, Diane, for getting this started and seeing some results. The marsh truly is a unique habitat within our city, one that many people probably aren’t very aware of. I’m thankful you’re paying attention, and providing a means for all of us to help out.

  2. I go to the marsh several times a week to take photos and am amazed at how many people I meet who are first time visitors. Readers can take a cyber visit through my photos:

    The Edmonds Parks, Recreational, and Cultural Services has many events at the marsh each year including the Water Festival and Bird Fest. See their website for a map and directions:

  3. It is an enormous relief to have allies in city government who respect and value our natural resources. The City of Edmonds is fortunate to have some outstanding City Council members and employees who are also working to protect our resources. Our local economy benefits from the beauty and nurturing qualities of our parks and the Edmonds Marsh. We are moving in some good directions as we improve the Highway 99 parts of Edmonds and protect our downtown and parks. I am thrilled with the prospect that the Marsh is being considered as a Wildlife Sanctuary and look forward to working with Carrie Hite (Director of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services) for the City of Edmonds and others to bring this effort to fruition.

  4. This is wonderful news.
    Until now, those wanting to contribute to protecting the Edmonds
    Marsh had no way to do so. A fund that makes donations tax deductible was much needed. Councilmember Buckshnis has done a great service to the cause of restoring and preserving the Edmonds Marsh.

  5. Thank you Marjie – it has been a long time coming and continued requests. When I first came on Council – I remember our former state lobbyist telling me he didn’t even know we had a Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary in Edmonds and he lived in Shoreline! The last contract WRIA8 had was Duane Bowman (retired long before my arrival)?!? So all you interested citizens who have helped (and continue to) bring the Edmonds Marsh into focus should be thanked as well. Thank you!

    The Finance Committee will be looking at methods of donating on line because not all of us still carry around checks (Thank you Joshua for the reminder).

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