From the Fields: Staying Salmon-Safe
Because our region’s major river systems coincide with our most productive agricultural valleys, farmers and ranchers play a critical role in protecting water quality and restoring the once abundant Northwest salmon populations so integral to our food web. With our proximity to so many rivers, streams and creeks, we at Full Circle have a major responsibility in ensuring that our farming operations support the larger biological environment. Alongside producing good food, restoring and maintaining our fields, hedgerows, drainage channels and riparian areas are a large part of what we do as farmers.
What is Salmon-Safe certification?
Measuring our performance as stewards of the land is important. Salmon-Safe is a third-party certification program and eco-label which utilizes professional inspectors with experience in both salmon habitat and sustainable agriculture, and evaluates management practices based on a thorough set of guidelines developed by biologists, agronomists and farmers. Seattle-based Stewardship Partners collaborates with Salmon-Safe to coordinate local projects and has worked with Full Circle for nearly a decade to improve stream flow and habitat on our Snoqualmie Valley farms. Many of you have manned shovels and planted native species with us since our certification in 2004, and we hope you’ll return again this year for another season of good work.
If you’re an urban home-owner and tearing out blackberries at the farm isn’t your cup of tea, there is another wonderful way to take part in protecting our waterways: the Stewardship Partners’ Rain Garden Project. Hundreds of tons of pollutants enter Puget Sound each year from our streets, driveways, lawns and rooftops. With guidance from WSU and Stewardship Partners, you and your neighbors can enhance your properties with a beautiful landscape feature that catches and filters runoff, prevents flooding and promotes biodiversity by providing habitat for native birds, bees and butterflies.
Start your own rain garden!
Rain gardens are sprouting up individually or in clusters in communities throughout the Puget Sound region, with nearly 500 in King County alone. There are financial benefits, too: interested homeowners may be eligible for various incentive programs, including cost sharing and stormwater facility credits through the Seattle Public Utilities’ Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program. Catch the excitement and learn more about rain gardens by visiting www.12000raingardens.org. If you already have a rain garden, please share your story and pictures with us!