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Help us protect recovering landscapes

By October 30, 2019August 26th, 2020No Comments

Some colorful new signs may catch your eye at former King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) construction sites. WTD’s Mitigation and Monitoring (M/M) Program is installing new signs to alert people and help them protect recovering landscapes.

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WTD’s project teams strive to reduce impacts to people and the environment as they design critical infrastructure projects. Sometimes impacts are unavoidable. When sewer construction impacts sensitive areas and landscapes, WTD’s contractor restores them before the project is complete.


A replanted landscape (left) thrives after years of care by WTD’s M/M team.

Then the M/M team steps in. For several years after construction is over, they assess health, control weeds, and help these landscapes become self-sustaining.  Many landscapes come back better than we found them, with improved value for habitat and water quality.

Restored landscapes play important roles. They clean water, reduce flooding, and support our local wildlife. But human activities can impact restoration sites that are still setting roots and sending up shoots.

“Our restoration sites get impacted by a range of things people do,” says Pam Erstad, Program Manager. “People trample young plants when they create informal trails. They dump garbage. These impacts can affect recovery and drive up maintenance costs.”

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King County crews had to dispose of sod and plastic mesh improperly dumped at a restoration site.

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Off-trail users built a fire pit in a bank restoration site.

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People created informal trails to the beach, affecting new plantings at the site.

The M/M Program decided to take action. They started by redesigning signs to make them more noticeable. The new design evokes the serene beauty of the Pacific Northwest. It also helps people recognize actions that can harm restoration sites.

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The Mitigation and Monitoring team provides a phone line 206-205-9178 for community members to update us with any problems they come across at WTD’s restoration sites. To learn more about our Mitigation and Monitoring program’s innovative work and continuous improvement efforts, please visit the program page.  You can also check out where the M/M Program project sites are by clicking here.

Helping restored landscapes reach their full potential protects our waters and our wildlife. These landscapes are a vital element of King County’s Clean Water Healthy Habitat Initiative. Join us in protecting the natural places we all cherish!