Virtual Salish See and Tox-Ick at Patagonia Seattle!

The past few months have been wildly exciting with the release of the new book We Are Puget Sound from Braided River and Mountaineers books. DiverLaura and Tox-Ick were featured in a short vignette and therefore have been invited to join in the campaign which means more opportunities to reach a broader audience with our Stormwater education and messaging.

Our Patagonia event was a brilliant success, standing room only and attendees got a chance not only to learn about stormwater and issues surrounding it, but actually be immersed in a scuba dive in virtual reality where they experience a stormwater outfall in person via Virtual Reality. Thanks to this emerging technology you the viewer are now able to see the ‘whole’ scene, there is not editorialization, no picking the worst shots for the most impact. YOU can see the storm drains the I dive with (without even getting wet!) and hopefully it will help communicate the urgency of the issue more clearly.

Stay tuned for more upcoming events, there will be local Tox-Ick/Virtual Salish See events at Alki Community Center AND #wearepugetsound events around the region.

Thank you!

DiverLaura, Team Fight the Tox-ick Monster and the whole Crew from Sustainable West Seattle would like to take a moment to thank everyone who participated via their generous donations in DiverLaura’s birthday fundraiser which will help us continue the ongoing fight against polluted urban runoff. These funds will allows us to offer more local community outreach in Schools, libraries, Senior centers and community meeting venues.

Stay tuned for information about upcoming events and presentations.

In 2018 we will be kicking off Virtual Puget Sound (utilizing 360 videos so you can virtually dive in Puget Sound) and Stormwater Surveys with an OpenROV Trident (underwater Robot) also thanks to generous grants and donations. Learn more here:

If you would like to host a Stormwater education meet-up or Virtual Puget Sound VR event (learn what we are fighting so hard to protect and go for a virtual dive in Puget Sound) please email us at

SPU Alert!


Sept. 4, 2013

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Seattle Public UtilitiesAndy Ryan, (206) 684-7688Pager: (206) 997-5972
OR Department of Planning and DevelopmentBryan Stevens, (206)


Big storm coming; contractors asked to inspect storm drain socks

Public urged to help clear clogged drains where it is safe and practical to do so

 SEATTLE — With a big, late-summer storm expected to bring occasional downpours and localized flooding tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday, builders are being asked to inspect and maintain storm drain “socks.”

“The predicted weather system will not be huge by winter storm season standards, but for a time of the year that is normally dry it will be powerful,” Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) meteorologist James Rufo-Hill said.

Related to the same weather pattern that brought strong thunderstorms to the area last week and record humidity last month, the storm comes at the height of Seattle’s construction season. Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is reminding builders working in the city to inspect and maintain any temporary storm drain inserts they have installed as part of construction projects.

The inserts, also known as storm drain socks, are used on many construction projects to catch sediment not captured upstream by other construction-related erosion control devices. Regulations for the use of the socks include the following:

  • Inspections should be made on a regular basis, especially after large storm events. Inlet protection devices shall be cleaned or removed and replaced when sediment has filled one-third of the available storage (unless a different standard is specified by the product manufacturer).
  • Do not wash sediment into storm drains while cleaning. Spread all excavated material evenly over the surrounding land area or stockpile and stabilize as appropriate.
  • This Best Management Practice (BMP) shall be removed within 5 business days after final site stabilization is achieved, or after it is no longer needed, whichever is longer (BMP E3.65*).If inserts are removed during times of flooding, the builder is responsible for re-installing them per regulations.

Rules for the use of the socks are available at DPD’s website at:  (see Construction Stormwater Control and Soil Amendment Standard Plan).

Here’s what Seattle residents can do to prepare for heavy rainstorms:

  • Keep storm drains free of debris: Check your neighborhood storm drains and remove any debris that has accumulated. Silt socks protecting the drainage system near construction projects can be a hazard at this time of year. If you know they are a concern in your neighborhood, be sure they are removed before the rain begins.
  • Have sandbags on hand: If you live in an area that you know is prone to flooding, consider keeping some sandbags nearby for your own use. Sandbags don’t seal out water, but can help redirect the flow of water and protect property from debris.  Sandbags must be used with caution because it is illegal to divert water to your neighboring properties.
  • Stay out of the way of flood waters: Play it safe and stay out of low-lying areas during times of heavy rains. If your basement is prone to flooding, stay out of it and other low points until the risk of flooding has passed.
  • Stay safe when driving: Don’t try to drive through large puddles where you can’t judge the water depth.
  • Contact SPU to report flooding: Call Seattle Public Utilities 24/7 Operations Response Center at (206) 386-1800 to report ponding or flooding problems or a sewage back-up in your home.

One tool that can be used to track locally intense rainfall is Seattle RainWatch. Designed by the University of Washington’s Atmospheric Sciences Department for Seattle Public Utilities, the innovative web-based system provides neighborhood-level views of radar imagery, rainfall accumulation and short-term rainfall forecasts.

Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities, at:

Follow SPU on Twitter:

In addition to providing a reliable water supply to more than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area, SPU provides essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the city’s infrastructure and protect, conserve and enhance the region’s environmental resources.


SPU news release 090413

DiverLaura and Village Green team up against Tox-Ick


DATE 07/19/2013

Contact: Laura James

Phone: (206) 297-7002 X 109

Village Green and DiverLaura team up to Fight Tox-Ick

PHOTO/MEDIA OP: RAIN GARDEN tour of WHITE CENTER followed by UNDERWATER VIDEO FOOTAGE of POLLUTED RUNOFF and a presentation “Don’t Feed the Monster – 7 Simple Actions to PROTECT and help RESTORE Puget Sound”

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:  Puget Sound needs YOU!  Come learn what you can do to PROTECT and RESTORE our local waterways.  Become a Ambassador and help us spread the word.

WHEN: July 20, 2013 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.  Rain Garden tours will be held from 10am to 4pm.

WHERE: Village Green Perennial Nursery –  10223 26th Ave SW Seattle WA, 98146    206-767-7735

WHAT: Tox-Ick Presentation following the Village Green Tour of Rain Gardens in White Center.

WHY: Rain Gardens are a very important tool in the fight against polluted runoff.  This tour will give people a chance to learn more about how you can beautify your surroundings while also doing great things to protect and preserve Puget Sound.  By teaming up with together we can communicate more clearly the problem of POLLUTED RUNOFF, by not only showing what we are doing to protect Puget Sound, what we are protecting (Video of Underwater Marine life) but also what we are protecting it from (Video of Storm Drains flowing into Puget Sound). is a program of Sustainable West Seattle.  Partners in this event include Village Green Perennials, Rainwise Program from King County, Sustainable Seattle, Stewardship Partners.

For a complete list of sponsors and event flier:



Depave the Duwamish!

June 10, 2013

Contact: Cari Simson

Urban Systems Design


–South Park – Seattle

Roadside Rain Gardens improve roadway safety AND water quality

South Park neighbors and project partners will host a ribbon cutting and rain garden festival on Saturday June 15th from 10am to 12pm, to celebrate the completion of the South Southern Greenstreet, which improves a neighborhood intersection for pedestrians and cyclists – and the Duwamish River.

The streets were narrowed by 8 feet, and four beautifully planted roadside natural drainage swales were installed to capture ~185,000 gallons of annual roadway runoff before reaching the stormdrains, which flow untreated directly to the Duwamish River.

The ceremony will include an action-packed ribbon-cutting at 11am, with the help of residents of all ages and abilities who will walk, bike, stroll, scoot, roll, or skate through the intersection to officially open the street to people.  After the ribbon-cutting, the public will be able to take a rain garden tour and learn more about King County’s new RainWise rain garden rebates and grants available in many neighborhoods across Seattle, including South Park.


Polluted runoff, which contains oil, grease, heavy metals, and other chemicals, is the #1 source of toxins reaching Puget Sound. “The South Park “Greenstreet” roadside rain gardens are a beautiful solution, and will prevent an estimated 185,000 gallons of polluted runoff from reaching the Duwamish River and Puget Sound each year,” said project coordinator, Cari Simson.


The four adjacent homeowners supported the project from the beginning and worked tirelessly alongside the project partners to complete the project. The project is funded through a grant from King County Wastewater / WRIA-9, and the McNeill family Plumb Level and Square Fund. Project partners include South Park Area Redevelopment Committee, LDP Engineering, Green Tech Excavation, Go Natives! Nursery, Brian Gerich / UW Masters of Landscape Architecture Design Lab, and Urban Systems Design.

Event address: 1057 South Southern Street  Seattle, WA 98108

Date: Saturday June 15th from 10am-12pm

Free and open to the public

VISUAL OPPORTUNITIES:  The ribbon-cutting ceremony (11am) will include local neighbors moving through the intersection in various modes of non-motorized transportation to break the ribbon.  Spokespeople from the neighborhood and the above organizations will be available throughout the event

More information including photos of the construction process is on the project’s Facebook page:

Cari Simson


Don’t Feed the Tox-Ick Monster Seven simple actions that can help reduce the flow of polluted storm water into Puget Sound



Please join Laura James Co-Director

Saturday June 1, 2013 12:00 – 12:45

Highline Community College MaST Center Located near the Redondo Beach Park

For directions and more information on the MaST Center please visit

Polluted runoff from our streets, driveways and yards is the #1 source of toxics entering Puget Sound each year. Many people think that runoff gets treated, but that isn’t true. Each year about 14 million pounds of pollutants flow into Puget Sound, threatening the future of our precious waterway and the creatures that call it home. Don’t Feed the Tox-Ick Monster empowers ALL of us to be a part of the solution by teaching Seven Simple Actions which can help protect and restore Puget Sound and the surrounding waterways.

Underwater Theater

It is imperative to know how to protect Puget Sound from stormwater pollution, but it is also necessary to know what we are protecting.  Stormwater Theater will feature local underwater videos that show both what we are protecting AND what we are protecting it from.

Healthy watershed = healthy water

From one of our friends… Go Friends of the Monstorous Root Ball Team!!  (we are partial to the name)

Hello friends and neighbors!

Seattle Works Day is just 10 days away – if you’re looking to get outside and help your community, we still have 40+ open spots on our project along Longfellow Creek.  Please feel free to invite friends or family – there is plenty of work to do!  I am kind of biased regarding the project area, as I’ve led a few community walks along the Longfellow Creek trail the past year (and planning another one in June).  The creek is a tributary to the Duwamish and serves as an important ecosystem resource for West Seattle – particularly the Delridge/Youngstown neighborhood – unfortunately 100+ years of development has taken its toll and the creek conditions are highly degraded.  That’s where we come in!  We’ll be continuing much needed restoration work at the Brandon Street Natural Area site (a few blocks west of the Delridge Library, kiddie-corner from Camp Long).
Click here to register (select Friends of the Monstorous Root Ball team):
More details about the project below.  Hope you can join us!
DATE: Saturday, May 18, 2013
TIME: Noon – 3.30pm
WHERE: King Conservation District – 29th Ave SW & SW Brandon St Seattle 98106 | Neighborhood: Delridge/West Seattle
# of volunteers: 60 | Minimum age: 7
Volunteers will be helping improve salmon and wildlife habitat in the Brandon Street Natural Area. This work will include: removing invasive species, spreading mulch to increase soil fertility, and maintaining the thousands of plants that have previously been installed by volunteers.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community. Longfellow Creek and the Brandon Street Natural Area are important to the urban ecology of Seattle. Longfellow Creek is one of the last four free-flowing, salmon bearing creeks in Seattle. It is vital to repair and enhance the habitat around this resource for salmon, wildlife, and the residents of this community. This work has been completed solely through volunteers in partnership with the King Conservation District for over seven years.
When the project is done around 3:30, there’s always a rocking party at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion (food, drink [hosted beer], entertainment!)
Support Seattle Works
Your contribution supports Seattle Works’ year-round work to connect local organizations with enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers. They facilitated over 20,000 hours of volunteer service last year alone! Your investment and participation in Seattle Works Day helps them do it.Seattle Works Day provides an easy, effective and fun way to support your community. And hopefully it will be something that inspires YOU to continue connecting!