South of the Marysville city limits lies one of our community’s natural assets, the Qwuloolt Estuary. (Qwuloolt means “marsh” in Lushootseed, a language spoken by Puget Sound Salish tribes including Tulalip.) It’s the place where the Snohomish River meets the Puget Sound. This transition zone is a special ecosystem for plant life and many species of fish, birds and other animals.
Historically, the area was tidal marsh and forest shrub habitat interlaced by tidal channels, mudflats and streams. For more than 100 years, however, a man-made levee and ditches there created grazing and crop land but also disconnected upstream spawning areas from marine waters. That changed In August 2015 when a years-long project led by the Tulalip Tribes in partnership with several federal, state and local agencies breached the levee to return the area to its natural ecosystem. Less than four years later, today the area is again home to native salmon, wildlife and plant communities. You can get an up-close view on foot or by bike from the Ebey Waterfront Trail.
As we celebrate Earth Day and get outside more often starting in April, here are events and information about our community’s commitment and connection to our natural surroundings.
City of Marysville
On Saturday, April 27, you can support your community and the environment at Earth Day in Marysville from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jennings Park. You can plant trees to help restore Allen Creek; learn about watersheds, the salmon life cycle and earth-friendly actions you can take; and decorate a free reusable tote bag. All ages welcome, rain or shine. Wear sturdy boots and work clothes. Event co-sponsors are the City of Marysville and Adopt A Stream Foundation in partnership with the Tulalip Tribes, Marysville School District, Snohomish Conservation District, City of Arlington and the state Department of Ecology.
That same day, City of Marysville residents can do spring cleaning and bring items for free disposal, recycling or donation to Clean Sweep from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Marysville Public Works, 80 Columbia Ave. Find details including which items are being accepted and tips for a smooth drop-off at www.marysvillewa.gov/900/Clean-Sweep.
A recent collaboration between the Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Department’s Timber, Fish and Wildlife Program along with their Restoration Ecologist planted over 2,000 conifer trees (Douglas fir, spruce and shore pine) throughout approximately 4 acres of the Estuary. The hope is to displace non-native invasive plant species with native conifer tree species by shading them out over time. The hope is to expand the planting effort next winter and call for a wide range of volunteers to help plant native trees in areas adjacent to the Qwuloolt Estuary. For information on upcoming Qwuloolt Restoration projects, visit https://nr.tulaliptribes.com/Topics/Restoration/QwulooltRestoration
Marysville School District
Marysville School District teaches our students about the role they play as stewards of the environment spanning from elementary to high school. Beginning in fifth-grade all classes get to work in partnership with the team of environmental educators at Sound Salmon Solutions. During fifth-grade our students study the role they take in protecting water quality and prevention of contaminants into our water run-off and drains. The educators at Sound Salmon Solutions (SSS) and the Marysville School District offer field trips to the Jones Creek for hands-on Outdoor Learning. Students become “Stream Detectives" during a two-hour field experience where they measure water quality, identify stream macro-invertebrates, and use their results to determine the health of Jones Creek. As our students move from elementary to middle and high school they continue to learn about how they can protect our local waterways, through experiential learning at Kayak Point and during Environmental Science classes and clubs. This spring Marysville School District will partner with the City Of Marysville to offer our community Earth Day event. This year the focus of the event will be restoration of the wetlands in Jennings Park with a goal to plant over 1,500 local species. Students will share their learning with community members about our local environment and we will continue to work together to protect our water systems and environment.
This monthly column is jointly prepared by the Tulalip Tribes, City of Marysville and Marysville School District about topics of interest to the Marysville Tulalip community.