Reader view: Finding inspiration at our Edmonds Marsh

Members of the watercolor class hold their sketches at the Edmonds Marsh earlier this year.

Your recent article about the winners of the Edmonds Marsh painting contest sponsored by the Edmonds March Estuary Advocates reminded me of my own “creative” experience at Edmonds Marsh.

On a chilly spring day my watercolor class set up on the marsh’s boardwalk to sketch and paint the surroundings. Winter browns were giving way to neon greens in the trees and grasses. Spider veins of water were reflecting intense blue midday sky. Songbirds atop cattails swayed in the wind. The more time I spent observing the marshland and waters, the more I saw and the more I understood the diversity and complexity of this natural area — very tricky to capture in a single sketch! We all agreed our marsh was truly inspiring. I have returned at different times of the day to see it in a different light each time, with changing water levels, plants and birds. I want to thank Kathleen Moore with Cole Art Studio for introducing me to the marsh; it makes me even happier that I relocated to Edmonds this past year. 

Edmonds Marsh watercolor sketches.

Inspired by this outing, I researched information about the marsh and learned about the Willow Creek Salmon and Watershed Education Center. This facility, adjacent to the marsh, includes a micro-hatchery which is managed by volunteers including school children. I was anticipating the release of this year’s batch of salmon when I learned the salmon fry could not be put into Willow Creek or our marsh but had to be trucked to the Sound! Why? Although the Edmonds Marsh is an estuary, with brackish water going back and forth to Puget Sound each tide, the waters are connected to the Sound via a 1,600-foot pipe. Salmon cannot swim through this length of pipe.  

Our marsh in Edmonds provides an important and needed stopover for a variety of birds migrating along the Pacific Coast. Although birds can enter the estuary and take advantage of its protection to rest and feed, the migrating salmon cannot. Can this be fixed? In recent months I have visited Meadowdale Beach Park, just north of Edmonds, which has recently been renovated to allow for salmon to pass under the railroad line and enter Lund’s Gulch Creek to spawn. This was accomplished through cooperation and funding by local, county and tribal entities.  

Although restoring our Edmonds Marsh to a functioning estuary would be a complicated long-term project, there is a group that is working on the analysis, evaluation and planning for just this. Through the poster advertising the Marsh Painting Contest I discovered the Edmonds Marsh Estuary Advocates. This volunteer group includes scientists, city planners, writers, teachers, media specialists, birders, photographers (and more) who want to understand the possibilities and advocate for restoration of our marsh. To find out more about this group and the Edmonds Marsh, check out the website at 

That spring watercolor class put me on the path to becoming a “Marshian” as we like to call ourselves. We need volunteers to educate and engage  with the public. If interested, you can become a “Marshian” too! But definitely visit our marsh to be inspired.

–By Jane Monahan

Jane Monahan lives in Edmonds


  1. The sketches – and the sketchers — are truly inspiring! And what a great subject the Edmonds Marsh is. Thanks, Jane.

  2. Thank you, Jane, for so eloquently describing the importance of our marsh-estuary to Puget Sound and to our city. Your paintings beautifully capture the lushness and serenity that make the marsh an oasis in the middle of suburbia that must be protected and enhanced. Everyone benefits from experiencing nature, and we are extremely fortunate to have this remnant of tidal marsh in our city.

  3. Thank you for your interesting article highlighting the Edmonds Marsh Estuary, our local treasure!

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