Nora Carlson and Lora Hein were honored by the Snohomish County Conservation District in a gala Thursday evening reception for their exemplary efforts in turning their Westgate area home into a showcase of sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship. The couple were one of a select group of ten others from across the district who were recognized.
Most notably, Carlson and Hein worked with the conservation district to replace their traditional lawn area with a rain garden with help from the Veterans Conservation Corp program, where military veterans provided labor and expertise. In addition, the couple has installed solar panels, sheet-mulched their entire yard and implemented a number of other low-impact landscape features.
“It feels so good to be doing something positive for the environment and creating a beautiful outdoor space at the same time,” said Carlson. “We’re hoping others will see what we’ve done and be moved to take similar actions.”
Rain gardens help control and cleanse runoff from the impervious surfaces that are increasingly replacing natural surfaces in our built environment. Native soils naturally absorb, filter and slowly release water into rivers and streams, but as these are replaced with roads, rooftops and other impervious surfaces water runs off faster and carries contaminants like oil, pesticides and other pollutants into our streams and waterways. Studies have shown this to be a major cause of juvenile salmon deaths and riparian habitat degradation. According to the conservation district, rain gardens are an easy, low-impact way to manage runoff.
In the past the conservation district has partnered with the City of Edmonds to work with homeowners wishing to help the environment and control runoff by adding rain gardens on their property (see My Edmonds Newsc overage of a 2015 multi-household rain garden project here.
Happily, the partnership has now been renewed.
“I’m very pleased that our partnership with the City of Edmonds and WSU Master Gardeners will again be offering funding for a cluster of four to eight rain gardens in a lucky neighborhood in Edmonds,” said the conservation district’s Kate Riley, who oversees the rain garden program. “If you are interested in this opportunity to beautify your yard, engage your community, and protect Puget Sound at the same time, please call or email me at 425-377-7004, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Snohomish Conservation District is a political subdivision of state government that has been working with farmers, city residents, rural and suburban landowners since 1941 with a diverse staff ranging from engineers, resource planners, community conservation staff, restoration specialists, a field crew, outreach specialists and administrative staff. As one of more than 3000 conservation districts across the United States and 45 in Washington state, it offers free help to residents on a one-to-one basis to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and related natural resources.
— By Larry Vogel