Commissioner Goldmark, Director Alvarado-Ramos and Congressman Smith join partners to celebrate progress in restoring Swan Creek watershed
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Commissioner Goldmark, Director Alvarado-Ramos and Congressman Smith join partners to celebrate progress in restoring Swan Creek watershed 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                    
August 21, 2013

Commissioner Goldmark, Director Alvarado-Ramos and Congressman Smith join partners to celebrate progress in restoring Swan Creek watershed
Puget SoundCorps team instrumental in success of project

OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, Director of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Lourdes Alvarado-Ramos, and U.S. Congressman Adam Smith joined state, local, and private partners on August 20 to celebrate the work being done to restore the Swan Creek watershed in Pierce County. In particular, the day’s event was to acknowledge the contributions of the six-member Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) Puget SoundCorps team that has spent most of August working to improve the health of the watershed’s urban forest, which in turn improves water quality in Swan Creek, a tributary of the Puyallup River.

The Puget SoundCorps crew on the Swan Creek restoration project consists of one crew supervisor and five crew members. The crew supervisor and one of the crewmembers are returning veterans. The other four members are youths between age 18 and 25 working with the federal AmeriCorps program. Puget SoundCorps is a program of the Washington State Conservation Corps and partners with the Washington State Veterans Conservation Corps.

In addressing the event participants, Commissioner Goldmark commended the many benefits of the program. “Puget SoundCorps not only provides vital restoration to Puget Sound, it also affords invaluable experience to both young adults and returning veterans,” Goldmark said. “As we heard crewmembers express today, they have learned new skills that they can build a career on, found fulfillment in their work, and gained a newfound appreciation for the importance of our urban forests and their key role in the vitality of the Puget Sound.”

“For veterans, this type of conservation work is extremely therapeutic and personally fulfilling,” said WDVA Director Lourdes Alvarado-Ramos. “It helps many veterans reconnect with a new team, something that they often feel is missing after separating from the military. The fact that it also provides valuable job skills and helps Washington’s environment simply makes this a win for everyone.”

Added Rep. Smith (9th District), “After touring Puget SoundCorps’ Swan Creek site, it is clear this project has been a tremendous success. Through this innovative project, the team has not only removed invasive species to allow local species to grow and restore the Puget Sound habitat, but they have created rewarding jobs for returning veterans and youth. I hope that this project becomes a model for our region and our country, as a way to improve the environment and to create jobs.”

Junior Fuimaono, U.S. Army veteran and Sound Corps crew supervisor, led a tour of the restoration site and praised the collaborative nature of the partnership and the hard work of his dedicated crew.

Many partners are involved in the Swan Creek watershed restoration project. Represented at the event were DNR, the Washington state departments of Ecology and Veterans Affairs, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities’ Surface Water Management Division, Pierce County Parks, Metro Parks Tacoma, Puyallup River Watershed Council, and private landowners.

The Swan Creek restoration work is part of the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, administered by DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. The Puget SoundCorps crew assigned to the Swan Creek restoration has worked on projects that impact the health of urban trees throughout South Puget Sound, including restoration work on Chambers Bay in University Place and the Duwamish River in Tukwila and street tree and park tree maintenance in DuPont and Fife.

Media: You may download a photo from the event: www.flickr.com/photos/wastatednr/9565789476/in/set-72157635170711169.
Caption: U.S. Congressman Adam Smith (9th District WA) and Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark listen as Puget SoundCorps crew leader and U.S. Army veteran Junior Fuimaono explains SoundCorps restoration work at Swan Creek in Pierce County. (Please credit Washington State Department of Natural Resources.)

About the Puget SoundCorps
Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) administered by the Washington Department of Ecology. The SoundCorps, which includes youth and military veterans, creates jobs while cleaning up state lands across the 12-county area that makes up the Puget Sound basin. Working in partnership with Ecology and other agencies, DNR is helping to carry out the Puget Sound Action Agenda to restore the Sound to health by 2020.

Puget SoundCorps was established by the state legislature in 2011 as a partnership among the departments of Ecology, Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife, Veterans Affairs, and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

Most Puget SoundCorps crews are made up of young adults from 18 to 25 years old, and some crews include military veterans who work on DNR urban forestry projects in King and Pierce counties. Age restrictions for military veterans may be waived.

Puget SoundCorps and Washington Conservation Corps are supported through the 2011 Jobs Now Act, grant funding and Education Awards provided by AmeriCorps.

About DNR’s Urban Forestry Restoration Project
DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program administers the Urban Forestry Restoration Project. The goal of the program is to enhance the capacity of urban forests to manage stormwater and improve air and water quality by improving the health and functionality of trees and forested sites in urban settings.

For more information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, visit the Project online or contact Micki McNaughton, 360-902-1637 or micki.mcnaughton@dnr.wa.gov. DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service.

Media Contact: Peter Lavallee, DNR Communications and Outreach Director, 360-902-1023, peter.lavallee@dnr.wa.gov.

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