Imagine a world if…all the water was clean enough for salmon to thrive, orcas to live long lives and all humans were safe from pollution; a place where children can swim without fear of toxins in water that is so clean and clear it’s the color of turquoise ice.
This was the guiding statement for the Aurora Bridge Project, recognized at today’s Green Globes Awards for water quality leadership in our region. The organizations behind the effort, SalmonSafe and Clean Lake Union, were the official award recipients for their work on the Aurora Bridge project which includes the landscape design of DATA 1 and the Watershed Building. When complete, the series of projects will clean over two million gallons of toxic stormwater runoff annually.
King County, which administers the awards program, noted:
Together with its partners, SalmonSafe is creating a blueprint for managing the 2 million gallons of stormwater that flow directly from the Aurora Bridge into the ship canal between Lake Union and Puget Sound every year and, at the same time, supporting a pioneering model for public-private partnerships addressing contaminated stormwater and creating green infrastructure for public benefit.
Funded in part by Boeing, the Aurora Bridge project is led by non-profits SalmonSafe and Clean Lake Union that are committed to improving water quality in Puget Sound. Technical partners and design services are provided by KPFF and Weber Thompson, with outreach support from The Nature Conservancy of Washington.
“It’s a great feeling, to be recognized for this work which is so critical for the health of our region’s ecosystem,” said Weber Thompson’s Landscape Architecture Principal Rachael Meyer, who has designed several phases of the project. “It’s especially bittersweet, knowing that our friend Patti Southard was instrumental in orchestrating this recognition,” she said.
Patti Southard, the Program Manager for King County GreenTools, was a passionate advocate for the earth, and a great friend of Weber Thompson and the Aurora Bridge Project. She passed away on April 15th. At the Green Globes Awards, Dow Constantine recognized Patti for her significant contributions to advancing sustainability in our region and beyond. Her sister, Ellen Southard, is the Puget Sound SalmonSafe program manager. She accepted the award with the rest of the team at the awards ceremony on Monday. Despite overwhelming emotions, Ellen made a point of being at the event because she knew “it’s what Patti would have wanted.”
Our heartfelt congratulations go out to the entire Salmon-Safe and Clean Lake Union teams on this prestigious award. May this be the first of many creative bridge runoff landscape designs in our region.