Community volunteers complete Edmonds Marsh restoration project

Many of the volunteers who assisted with the marsh restoration effort. (Photo by Chris Walton)

Community volunteers, some repeatedly covered in mud and sweat, successfully reopened freshwater circulation into the Edmonds Marsh. According to project coordinator Joe Scordino, 47 volunteers participated in one or more of the 11 work parties this summer to remove invasive plants and chain-link fencing in the wetland under Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Adopt-A-Highway program.

Multi-year studies by Edmonds-Woodway’s Students Saving Salmon and the Edmonds Stream Team demonstrated that freshwater flow from Shellabarger Creek into the Edmonds Marsh was being blocked by an invasive plant called bittersweet nightshade that grew into thickets on the fences on each side of Highway 104. Scordino, a retired fishery biologist who coordinated the volunteer effort, used the students’ data to obtain WSDOT approval to remove the fencing in the wetland along both sides of Highway 104, as well as the invasive plants on state property.

Water flow into the marsh along removed fence and nightshade.

While some volunteers in chest waders worked in muck and mud removing fencing and nightshade vines and roots, others stayed high and dry — clipping and bagging blackberry brambles that had to be removed to open access to the wetland, Scordino said. All in all, 46 sections of fence were removed and freshwater flow was reinstated.  “Most volunteers found this to be a very rewarding experience as they could directly see the fruits of their labor as creek water began to flow through the work areas each week,” Scordino added.

The creek channel opened by nightshade removal. (Photo by Chris Walton)

Volunteer work parties will reconvene next June to ensure water flows aren’t impaired by any new growth of invasive plants.

    1. What an incredible accomplishment with significant environmental impact! The term “completed project” made me visualize a future photo of the volunteers who pull the copious amounts of ivy and other invasive from the Southwest County Park (SWCP) on Olympic view Drive. I think that completion will be a bit further into the future. All are welcome every Saturday morning 9-12 noon. Contact info:

  1. I’ve loved driving by and seeing the volunteers, wanted to honk to say thanks but didn’t want to scare them, Great Job!!!

  2. Great job everyone! Special thanks to Joe and Nancy Scordino for organizing this very important community project to assist in Marsh restoration. I saw a number of WSDOT folks yesterday (9/14) looking at the results. I’m sure they will clean out those culverts to allow more circulation. It was definitely hard work and kudos to all those teens from Students Saving Salmon and Youth Commission, members of Save Our Marsh group snd just volunteers who saw the notices in the media!

  3. Kudos to all the volunteers who worked hard to improve the health of our Marsh and especially to Joe Scordino for not only planning and organizing the endeavor, but working as hard or harder than anyone, too.

    If you follow city council meetings, you no doubt know that Mr. Scordino is a dedicated and knowledgeable supporter of the Edmonds marsh. His impassioned advocacy for a wholistic approach to Marsh restoration and the use of “best practices” (based on the most credible available science) sometimes puts him at odds with city staff. This latest project Mr. Scordino organized, along with his multi-year mentoring of the Students Saving Salmon and the Stream Team, show that he walks his talk. No one in Edmonds knows the Edmonds Marsh better than Joe Scordino. As our city proceeds with restoration efforts, I hope our staff and elected representatives will not be put off by the stridency of his delivery but will recognize and the value of his expertise.

  4. Great work Mr. Scardino and all! So great to see a community come together to make things better in their home and for the environment!

  5. Way to rally the troops Joe. Thanks to Students Saving Salmon and all the Citizens along with Council members that choose to get involved. It makes such a difference. Our native wildlife is grateful.

  6. Thanks Joe! You are an Organic Organizer:) Looking forward to getting my hands dirty with you next year as you continue this important work.
    Thanks All

  7. Great work by Joe Scordino, Students Saving Salmon, and all the volunteers who participated! It’s a relief to know that freshwater is now flowing as expected into the marsh. I had no idea that Bittersweet Nightshade could grow so dense that it blocks water flow!

    For anyone who is interested in additional restoration opportunities going on in Edmonds parks and green spaces, please feel free to volunteer with the Edmonds Stewards and help us in our ongoing efforts to remove invasives and plant natives. We’re working in the following areas:

    – Yost Park
    – Hutt Park
    – Edmonds Marsh buffer (located along the north end of the marsh).

    Visit to learn more and to sign up for upcoming events. Thanks!

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