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Qwuloolt bringing us together to celebrate our environment

 


Marysville boasts a diverse array of recreation opportunities for residents and visitors alike. One area that we’re most excited about is the Qwuloolt estuary project — a natural treasure that provides so much for our residents, from education to recreation.

Thanks to a tremendous amount of work from the Tulalip Tribes, this remarkable natural estuary will return to its native state later this month. At the end of August, the Army Corps of Engineers will breach the dikes around the Qwuloolt and allow tidal seawater to once again ebb and flow through the estuary. This project has been recognized as the state’s second-largest estuary restoration project behind the Nisqually Basin Restoration Project near Olympia.

While we look forward to watching this area return to its natural state, we’re also looking forward to partnering with both the Tulalip Tribes and Marysville School District to develop an environmental education curriculum that allows students to learn about this remarkable ecosystem.

The work at the Qwuloolt estuary also presents us with a great opportunity to expand recreation options along our waterfront. The Ebey Waterfront Trail has been awarded funding support from two different state programs this year because it’s a regional priority for our community. The recent legislative Capital Budget funded the trail at a level of $500,000, and the Aquatic Land Enhancement Account (ALEA) funded an additional $343,000. With additional funding from the city, we plan to complete the project in 2016.

The new Ebey Waterfront Trail project will include 1.8 miles of new trail that will connect two city-owned parks and trailhead facilities. What’s more, it will give the community access to the 340-acre Qwuloolt restoration project, which is east of the city’s Waste Water Treatment Plant and borders Ebey Slough.

As part of the trail project, crews will develop existing infrastructure into an improved and accessible pedestrian trail system on each side of the restoration project. Project funding will support paving and related improvements for more than 9,000 linear feet of trail system. The main trailhead will be located at Ebey Waterfront Park.

The new 12-foot-wide trail will include two interpretive areas on each side of the breached levee that will provide information about historic uses and environmental insight into the area. The environmental and scientific communities will also have access to the site as they monitor both tidal influence impacts and habitat management.

When complete, Marysville residents will have new access to Ebey Slough, and will find opportunities to enjoy new recreational activities — including hiking, bird-watching, interpretive education, shoreline fishing and wildlife viewing. The restored Qwuloolt estuary will also provide new non-motorized boating and paddling opportunities, and access to a natural oasis and wildlife area that hasn’t been accessible for more than 100 years.

Jon Nehring is the Mayor of Marysville.

 

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