Reader view: Help needed for Edmonds Marsh restoration work

I’m writing this because I discovered the hard way last Saturday morning that this effort is all I can really do to help Mr. Joe Scordino and the cause for fixing our city, county and even statewide treasure — the Edmonds Marsh, fed by Shellabarger Creek.

The marsh is now choked to death by invasive nightshade.  Shell Creek, a part of Yost Park and public trail system, is threatened by climate change-caused soil erosion and undesirable sedimentation that has destroyed what little salmon runs we have left in that delicate system.

In my attempt to help Joe and his more able-bodied devoted crew of regular volunteers, I discovered in about 10 minutes that I was not up to the difficult task of pulling out the invasive nightshade due to advanced age and a minor heart condition.

I had to beat a hasty retreat to recover my strength and breath and decided the only thing I can really do is give these people some publicity they richly deserve and ask more able-bodied people to step up to the plate and help them. The marsh rescue process involves literally hand digging out interlaced nightshade root systems that are choking out desirable cattails and stopping the flow of the creek that could and should be a nurturing ground for juvenile salmon. This would include migrating chinook (king) juveniles that will stop in the marsh to feed but won’t return to spawn in this system that is too small for them. Some coho (silver) and chum salmon would rediscover — or can be stocked back into — this system and return to spawn if we can get the conditions right.

These good folks need more able-bodied help and now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their marsh (asset to city, county state and country).  You can contact Joe at to register as a volunteer.

Thanks for reading and considering helping out.

– By Clint Wright
Clint Wright lives in Edmonds

  1. Reading this again, I see I need to clarify a bit. Shellebarger Creek and Shell Creek are two separate parts of our neglected and seriously in trouble total city watershed that Mr. Scordino and his volunteers are working on separately. Shellebarger Creek feeds the Marsh and is the project that needs more able bodied people to help fix. Climate change, some thoughtless public and private development, and neglect have conspired to severely harm and end (in some cases, like Shell Creek) our local native salmon runs. Joe and volunteers are desperately trying to rehab. these systems and the other ones in our city. Apologies for not being a great writer and needing to comment on my own prior reader view comment.

  2. A city budget priority includes “waterfront restoration” so some funds should be allocated for this work by City staff (parks or public works). The city has a responsibility to protect the portion of the Marsh it owns (holds in trust for all of us into the future) and this is not being done.

  3. Thank you for your honest letter. As a Marsh Volunteer I can back up your statement of needing more hands. The secret is three people pulling the nightshade back to roll it up and get it out. Every family can help! The marsh needs to return to a working estuary. It will only happen with our efforts.

  4. Greetings Fellow Edmonds Citizens
    We need help! We need a lot more help, please! Our Marsh really needs our help and we only are allowed a short time window to do this work (July 15th – Sept 15th). It’s effectively like hand weeding 22 to 24 acres, which, I know doesn’t sound too fun or glamorous. But it is much needed, very gratifying conservation work. It’s helping to save this habitat that is vital to fish and birds, and really to people. We were 16 people on the first day. We accomplished much, and Joe Scordino indicated he was pleased. But think what we could accomplish if we all showed up! And Youth 15 and over can help too. This type of community service and conservation work looks real good on a college or job application. We really need more people to be able to turn the tide on the Bittersweet Nightshade and other invasive species that are choking off The Marsh. We really need to get the creeks properly flowing through The Marsh. Won’t you come out and help us? Even for just one day. It will really make a difference.
    Thank You!

  5. Is there some place/way to donate to the restoration project? I’d love to be able volunteer, but age and mobility issues prevent me – but I’d be very happy to donate. What options are there?

  6. Thank you very much for the offer of a donation. We’ve received donations from the Rotary Club and Olympic Fly Fishers and they were very helpful in purchasing gloves, chest waders, and tools for the volunteers. We’ve also had donations of wood pallets that volunteers use to transverse the wetland. So, I think we’re covered for this year’s work.
    WSDOT has committed to deliver wood chips as they have them so volunteers can use the wood chips to cover some accessible areas to prevent nightshade re-growth. We’ve not had any deliveries yet, so I am starting to look for additional sources of free wood chips with free delivery. If anyone has connections with entities having wood chips that can be provided for free (including free delivery), I’d appreciate asking them to contact

  7. Mr. Joe Scordino should contact a local Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group. The group in Snohomish County is Sound Salmon Solutions and the group in King County is Mid-Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group These volunteer based, non-profit organizations have existed within the state’s Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group Program for over thirty years. I believe Edmonds is in Snohomish County. Therefore, I recommend to first contact Sound Salmon Solutions to determine whether this organization has an interest in helping by providing volunteers.

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