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Now that the legislative session is over, where do the Orca Task Force recommendations stand? Has progress been made? The BOLD team has the answers in this easy-to-read scorecard.

Now that the legislative session is over, where do the Orca Task Force recommendations stand? Has progress been made? The BOLD team has the answers in this easy-to-read scorecard.

Thank you to everyone who’s been following and engaging with their legislators to help critical bills get passed! There is still more work to be done in a lot of areas as you will find out in this report particularly in funding salmon habitat projects.

Former Wayne Golf Course Riparian Restoration

February 2024

As 2024 rolled around, we continued our goal of planting as many shrubs and trees as possible before the end of the season! We continue towards this goal with already having planted over 1,000 plants thanks to the help of hundreds of volunteers and staff! Additionally, we have the help from four UW Bothell students who are working to complete their senior capstone projects through field research. Their work has provided us with knowledge about the parks soil composition, better planting practices, GIS mapping, and how native wildflowers can contribute to biodiversity.

Even more exciting news, we started planting on the riverbank! The goal of finally planting on the banks of the river has been a long-awaited dream and now we starting to see it unfold. Trees such as Sitka Spruce have now been planted along the bank along with Elderberry and Black Twinberry.

What are these?

You might have noticed a bunch of weird sticks that have been placed in the ground along the bank of the river. These are willow stakes! Willow stakes are simply branches of a willow tree that have been cultivated, propagated in water and can be used to plant. Placing them along the river help to deter beavers from taking our precious, newly planted coniferous trees. As time goes on these willow stakes will root and start to grow into individual willow trees (if the beavers don’t get to them first).

October 2023

Current Planting Area!

Begings of 2023 was the start of our new future riparian forest. Unlike the first location, this one was covered in nearly 10 foot tall Himalayan Blackberry bushes. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers and a wonderful group of spring/summer interns they were cleared. In the course of one year, we had 825 volunteers with a total of over 3,000 hours!

The prevent the blackberries from returning, we covered the ground with cardboard and placed inches of mulch. We also discovered a small stream of water which appears to be leading to the Sammamish River. Work is currently being done to test and measure the streams water quality.

Now that most of this patch of land is cleared of blackberry bushes it is time to plant! Starting in the fall of 2023, we have made progress planting this area and continuously removing invasive weeds upwards the Burke-Gilman trail. We look forward to getting the remaining sections planted so they are established by the spring of next year!

Would you like to help us achieve our goal?

The VOLUNTEER webpage details the roles, programs and benefits of volunteering with whale scout. For groups of five or more please email Whitney directly at Director@whalescout.org.

Community events will be announced on the Whale scout main page.

The Bothell volunteer webpage illuminates other volunteer opportunities and information. You can also contribute by Donating.

Why Riparian Restoration?  

 The goal of this project is to mimic the historic riparian forest buffer that was once growing along the Sammamish River of the past.  

Native trees and shrubs protect areas along the riverbanks by reducing erosion while improving soil structure with their root systems. They also help water quality by infiltrating the soil and replenishing groundwater sources. These sources cool the river in the summer to the benefit of salmon and all the rivers’ inhabitants.

 Trees and shrubs also create shade and thus reduce the temperature of the river. Salmon are very sensitive to temperature spikes and need cool water to stay healthy while moving upstream. Salmon also need our rivers and streams for spawning and rearing, as they eventually make their way into the Puget Sound.

Our Southern Resident orcas are endangered, and their main food source is Chinook salmon. 80% of their diet is Chinook salmon. Yet even salmon populations are diminishing. Populations have decreased tremendously starting back in the 1800s due to logging, farming, dams etc. Salmon numbers aren’t the only things that have decreased; they can grow up to 130lbs, they now average about 30lbs. To help their orca populations, increasing their access to food is essential. The whales and salmon need our help to reduce the impacts of human development that are endangering them.

Planting area:

 This first restoration site was planted in the fall of 2022 and winter of 2023 with the funding contributions from the Trammell Crow Company and support from Bothell Parks and Recreation.

 Several groups including students from the Sky Valley Education Center, Heartwood Nature Programs, and Pack 594 assisted with restoring the site. Public volunteers helped at the site for Arbor Day, Orca Recovery Day, and MLK day. Fencing around conifers is utilized to protect the trees from our wonderfully persistent beaver and deer populations.

Ongoing research projects by undergraduate research students from the University of Washington Bothell are also featured at the site.

Approximately 800 plants will be installed in the 14,500 square foot area. Future plantings are slated for other areas throughout the park.

Current Research:

During the summer months, measurements were being done one the trees and shrubs in the planted area to capture how well they are doing and how well they are growing. Measurements include the height and width of the plants to establish tree canopy along with their estimated health. Data is collected throughout the months and once collected they are processed through data analysis. This data will help us understand why these plants are doing well and inform us what plants to plant in future locations.

The seasons last planting event!

Sign up here!

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Come plant trees and shrubs near the Sammamish River! Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of riverbanks and host insects’ young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell Park.

No experience is necessary, and all ages are welcome! Bring your friends and family for a fun and educational day in the great outdoors. We’ll provide all the necessary planting materials and yummy snacks! Our activity will consist of planting native trees and shrubs.

Join us for one of our last planting events of the year!

Sign up here!

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Come plant trees and shrubs near the Sammamish River! Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of riverbanks and host insects’ young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell Park.

No experience is necessary, and all ages are welcome! Bring your friends and family for a fun and educational day in the great outdoors. We’ll provide all the necessary planting materials and yummy snacks! Our activity will consist of planting native trees and shrubs.

Improve Bear Creek salmon habitat!

Sign here!

Help place willow stakes along the creek and remove invasive plants! Chinook salmon in Bear Creek are doing relatively well compared to nearby streams so let’s keep it that way. Endangered orcas need these fish to recover. Removing invasive plants will make room for our growing juvenile native trees and shrubs. Native trees and shrubs protect water quality by shading the stream keeping it cool, providing cover, and stabilizing stream banks from erosion. Please sign up today to participate!

The site is located on private property, with extremely limited parking. We will meet at the Redmond PCC and walk over to the site together, offer information about orcas and salmon, the history of the site, and dig in! If you have mobility concerns, please email us to make accommodations.

Rescheduled Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Planting Event

Sign up Here!

In 1979, a public campaign in support of officially recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday was launched. This community-based effort resulted in six million signatures for a petition to Congress. In 1983, Congress passed legislation officially declaring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day a federal holiday. In 1994, Congress designated the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service.

Dr. King recognized the power of service. He famously said, “Everyone can be great because everybody can serve.” Every year, on the third Monday in January, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is observed as a “day on, not a day off.” Observing the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday through service is a way to begin each year with a commitment to making your community a better place. Your service honors Dr. King’s life and teachings and helps meet community challenges.

Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Come plant trees and shrubs near the Sammamish River! Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of riverbanks and host insects’ young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell Park.

No experience is necessary, and all ages are welcome! Bring your friends and family for a fun and educational day in the great outdoors. We’ll provide all the necessary planting materials and yummy snacks! Our activity will consist of planting trees and clearing out any invasive plant species.

Annual Holiday Fundraiser

From now till December 31st, we are putting on a Holiday Fundraiser event!

Every year we put on a yearly fundraiser event where anyone can buy our stickers, mugs, apparel and more and all the proceeds go to supporting our work in the upcoming year! You can also rock your Whale Scout gear at our next volunteer event!

Click this link for more information! Restore More in 2024: Join us in planting trees for orcas, salmon by Whale Scout (fundrazr.com)

Restore More in 2024: Join us in planting trees for orcas, salmon

Find the campaign platform here.

Whale Scout engages the community in restoring salmon habitat addressing a critical problem for orcas: lack of food. Improving riparian areas alongside Chinook-bearing rivers and streams, we’re directly saving the whales we all love to observe in the wild.

Killer whales act as a powerful lead-in to participation in river restoration and water quality actions. Every year we try to be even more impactful than the last. Next year we’re prioritizing equity in our programs restoring habitat along Bear Creek and the Sammamish River at the former Wayne Golf Course, where the community is rebuilding connections to salmon and the Sammamish River. Now a City of Bothell Park with nearly a mile of shoreline habitat preserved, the majority of land is set aside for conservation and passive recreation. This public park is the last remaining large property with the potential to return the heavily modified Sammamish river to a more natural state.

Grants can’t fill all the financial gaps needed to effectively function. Your support is absolutely critical for our organization to operate in 2024. Bonus: a generous donor offered to match the first donations up to $1,000! Donate today at our campaign website.

Special Perks for your donations!

Did you know that our “Protect the Earth, Save the Orcas” logo gear is only available online once a year? Now is the time to pick up these items that make great gifts while supporting a cause.

With just over 70 endangered Southern Resident killer whales remaining in this population, we’re serious about getting work done. Here’s what we plan to do in 2024 your support from this campaign:

Powerful Orca Educational Experiences

– Introduce Mike the life-sized orca to hundreds of kids including families at free-meal sites throughout King County.

– Keep our team of 60 volunteer naturalists up to speed on the latest science

– Assist 2,000 members of the public in watching whales from shore.

– Offer naturalist chats at the San Juan County campground in partnership with other local orgs.

Plant Trees for Orcas

– Maintain the thousands of plants already in the ground along Bear Creek and the Sammamish River shading and cooling rivers and streams for salmon though regular weeding and watering until established

– Begin clearing new riverbank sections in preparation to plant next year at the former Wayne Golf Course

– Plant over a thousand more plants helping Chinook salmon populations 

Invest in long-term stewardship

– Long-term success will depend on the next generation of stewards. In 2024, we will continue to foster relationships with local schools from preschool to college age students. 

– Building partnerships with UW Bothell capstone students, we’re already set to host 4 students in 2024, working together on research and restoration. 

– Host over 1,000 community volunteers to help steward local salmon habitat projects 

Develop the Next Generation of Leaders

– Host 3-6 students in our Diverse Student Internship Program during the spring/summer of 2024

– Pay a living wage to these students helping to address disparities young people face when pursuing careers in conservation 

– Offer career skills in water quality monitoring, vegetation monitoring, riparian restoration and maintenance, and leadership opportunities sharing their knowledge

Leave a Lasting Legacy with Strong Policies and Government Funding

– Get toxic chemicals like salmon-killing 6PPD Quinone out of tires and stormwater

– Advocate for funding for large-scale salmon habitat restoration projects

– Fight for barrier removal protecting salmon 

Find the campaign fundraiser here.

Opt Outside for Black Friday

Skip the shopping madness the day after Thanksgiving and #OptOutside instead! The trend started by outdoor gear company, REI, has taken hold in the community and we’re offering opportunities to connect with naturalists at public beaches. Look for whales from shore with our volunteers who will share their local knowledge and enthusiasm for all wildlife and ways people can protect the planet.

Date: November 24th

Time: 10am – 12pm

Locations:

Edmonds Marina Beach Park (470 Admiral Way, Edmonds, WA 98020)

Fay Bainbridge Park (15446 Sunrise Drive NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110)

Alki Lighthouse (3201 Alki Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116)

Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance (5361 Yacht Club Rd, Tacoma, WA 98407)

Bear Creek Volunteer Event

Sign up Here!

Come help us remove invasive plants! Chinook salmon in Bear Creek are doing relatively well compared to nearby streams so let’s keep it that way. Endangered orcas need these fish to recover. Native trees and shrubs protect water quality by shading the stream keeping it cool, providing cover, and stabilizing stream banks from erosion. Please sign up today to participate!

The site is located on private property, with extremely limited parking. We will meet at the Redmond PCC and walk over to the site together, offer information about orcas and salmon, the history of the site, and dig in! If you have mobility concerns, please email us to make accommodations.

Gift the Earth this Holiday Season – Join Our Tree-Planting Team!

Sign up Here!

Tis the Season for Planting Trees! Endangered Southern Resident killer whales depend on salmon as a critical prey resource from watersheds in Puget Sound and beyond. Salmon use the Sammamish River as a migratory corridor. Improving the water quality in the river will help both struggling salmon populations and orcas. Come plant trees and shrubs near the Sammamish River! Vegetation will help shade and cool and clean a small stream emptying into the Sammamish River. Healthy riparian forests control erosion of riverbanks and host insects’ young salmon need early in life. The former Wayne Golf Course features nearly a mile of shoreline and is the largest City of Bothell Park.

No experience is necessary, and all ages are welcome! Bring your friends and family for a fun and educational day in the great outdoors. We’ll provide all the necessary planting materials and yummy snacks! Our activity will consist of planting trees and clearing out any invasive plant species.