The Tox-Ick Program Wins 2012 Sustainable Hero Award

Yesterday Sustainable West Seattle announced their 2012 Sustainable Hero Award at their Annual Picnic.  I was very honored to be selected as the hero for our work educating our community about how to reduce polluted runoff with our Don’t Feed the Tox-Ick Monster campaign.

In winning the award, I reflected on all the amazing volunteers who have helped advance our outreach efforts.  Among them, Steve Richmond, Kimberly Leeper, Laura James, Norma Tompkins, Liz Dunigan, James Day, Bryan Fiedorczyk, and Katie Humphries all helped craft our message and get the word out before hundreds of audience members.  To date, we’ve given our presentation at 8 venues before more than 300 audience members.  In addition to that, we’ve had 6,700 page views on our website, more than a third of which have been unique visitors.  Furthermore, the generous press coverage we’ve had through local news sources like the West Seattle Blog, the West Seattle Herald , and CBS Radio has amplified our message to thousands more.

If you know of a venue at a church, synagogue, school, Rotary Club, or other place of gathering and would like to schedule a presentation, send us a note at  We’ve got a Spanish version of the presentation too.  Working together we can transform the region’s awareness so that all citizens of Puget Sound are empowered to make choices that protect our valued waters, and the amazing wildlife that call her home.

Thanks for caring!
Cate White

Wed. Aug. 15: Tox-Ick Visits Umpqua Bank in Magnolia

Learn how you can help reduce polluted runoff and help restore Puget Sound.  A free education event will take place tonight, August 15 from 6 – 7:30 PM at Umpqua Bank located in central Magnolia at 2236 32nd Ave. W.   The presentation will be given by speaker Liz Dunigan who has experience in soil microbiology, mycology, Whole Systems Design, and is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional.  The even is co-hosted by Sustainable Magnolia and Queen Anne.

To Learn More, Visit: Supports King County’s Barton CSO Control Project

The program recently submitted the following letter to King County Executive, Dow Constantine.

Dear Mr. Executive,

The undersigned Board Members of Sustainable West Seattle, a local 501(c)(3) with over 1,000 participants, write to you today in support of King County’s Barton CSO Control Project.

Sustainable West Seattle has made it a priority to educate community members about solutions to polluted runoff with its program. We have been very excited to see King County take progressive action to reduce the roadside runoff that overwhelms our sewage infrastructure and causes combined sewer overflows. As you are well aware, these overflows threaten Puget Sound and the health of the people and wildlife that depend on clean water.

We believe that the proposed green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) project is the right approach to resolve the complex problem of CSO pollution in the region. In addition to slowing the flow and reducing the volume of water entering our storm drains, bioretention swales have the added benefits of attenuating pollution through microbial action, calming traffic, and beautifying our communities. As urban density continues to increase, the benefit of well-designed green spaces will become evermore important. Furthermore, studies suggest that green spaces in urban settings increase the likelihood of people walking and biking in their neighborhoods. In sum, we believe GSI is the best solution for our community because of the multiple benefits it offers to the health of our waterways and our communities.

We are concerned by some information coming out of the West Seattle Community, specifically through the West Seattle Raingardens website.  A very thoughtful rebuttal to the concerns raised on this website can be found here:

We understand that change can be scary and that unfortunate mistakes were made recently in Ballard that have caused some of the alarm to the GSI project in the Barton Basin. But we sincerely hope that these issues won’t derail plans for GSI in our community. Bioretention swales are a well tested and proven technology that have the potential for long-term cost-savings. They’ve been successful reducing runoff in neighborhoods across Puget Sound, including the SEA Streets project in North Seattle and the High Point Neighborhood here in West Seattle. GSI is so effective that it is becoming a solution of choice in cities across the nation, including Portland, New York, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. In light of the vast success of this technology regionally and nationally, we believe GSI is the right choice for our neighborhood to improve the health of Puget Sound and our local communities.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,
Cate White, Director and Former SWS Board Member
Chas Redmond, SWS Board Member
Patrick Dunn, SWS Board Member
Melissa Metcalfe, SWS Board Member
Wolf Lichtenstein, Former SWS Board Member
Gene Homicki, Former SWS Board Member