The Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods (SPUN, like spoon) Committee held its first meeting on Tuesday, January 14th. Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Councilmember Kshama Sawant and I were at the table for two Directors’ reports, from the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), and two presentations, a Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Program Update and the Urban Forest Stewardship Plan (UFSP). Check out the agenda here.
DON Director’s Report
I’ve worked with DON for the past two years on the Parks and Neighborhoods Committee and I’m excited to continue that work on its core projects. The Historic Preservation program is new to me, however. The program designates and protects historic structures, sites, objects, vessels, and eight historic districts. Read more about DON’s core projects by following the links below.
- Historic Preservation
- Neighborhood District Coordinators
- Neighborhood Matching Fund
- P-Patch Community Gardening Program
- Public Outreach and Engagement
SPU Director’s Report
SPU has four lines of business: Water, Drainage and Wastewater, Solid Waste (including garbage and organics collection), and customer service and internal management. We discussed several issues that reflect SPU’s broad responsibilities. Use the links below to read about some of the issues that may come before SPUN in 2014.
- Strategic Business Plan
- North Transfer Station
- North Henderson CSO
- Thornton Creek Water Quality
- Duwamish Clean-up
- One Less Truck
GSI Program Update
GSI projects clean, slow, and/or reduce the volume of runoff rainwater into Seattle’s drainage systems. A high volume of rainwater can result in flooding and sewer back-ups or overflows; and polluted runoff water damages creeks, lakes, and Puget Sound. Bio-retention (like rain gardens); the use of permeable/porous pavement; green roofs; and rainwater cisterns are examples of GSI.
Last July the City Council passed Resolution 31459 adopting the use of GSI to manage storm water wherever possible and requesting that city departments collaborate with the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) to create implementation strategies for meeting new storm water targets. The GSI team is developing manuals that discuss capital improvement project (CIP) procedural expectations, for both technical design and community engagement. Here’s a partial list of current GSI projects:
- Ballard Natural Drainage System
- Delridge Natural Drainage
- Swale on Yale
- Venema Creek Natural Drainage System
One more example of GSI: a healthy urban tree canopy! The 2013 USFP goals are to create an ethic of stewardship; expand canopy cover to 30% by 2037; and increase the health and longevity of urban forests through the removal of invasive species and the increase of species diversity. Lofty goals to be sure!
In 2014 OSE will focus on updating regulations that protect both private and street trees; expanding outreach through the Tree Ambassador Program; and continuing its management of public trees through the restoration of forested parklands and an evaluation of the effectiveness of tree planting policies. Read up on Seattle trees here.
I learned a lot during the first SPUN! I’m excited to learn more on January 28th at 2:00 p.m. Please join us!