“Salmon in the City” Explores Urban-Design Approaches to Clean Water

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SEATTLE — How water flows in cities affects salmon swimming far away. An event this week is exploring how urban centers can better treat their water to protect these iconic Northwest species.

Salmon in the City is an online presentation that will look at approaches to architecture that keeps water clean for aquatic species.

Anna Huttel, certification director for Salmon-Safe, the organization promoting best conservation practices hosting the event, said one of the options cities can use to treat stormwater is planters.

“Bio-retention offers that above-ground visibility to inspire folks,” Huttel pointed out. “As well as the opportunity to use plants to help to treat pollutants in the stormwater, provide habitat through the vegetation and really just provide something that’s beautiful to look at as well. ”

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with presenters including Huttel and Brook Muller, Dean of the College of Arts and Architecture at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. She will speak about sustainable architectures and climate-adaptive urban landscapes.

Huttel stressed her organization focuses on salmon because they are like canaries in the coal mine for habitat health, but Salmon-Safe could just as easily be called “water safe” because practices that are good for salmon are good for other species as well.

“Thinking about how these principles can help downstream, even if you can’t see a water body from a site that you are influencing, everything has a trickle-down effect, reaches a larger water body and touches another part of the ecosystem,” Huttel outlined.

Huttel also noted salmon are imperiled, affecting another iconic species of the Northwest: orcas. The whales, which live off the West Coast, rely on salmon for their diet and have increasingly struggled to find the food they need to survive.

Featured photo: Ensuring that stormwater is recycled quickly is key to preventing polluted water from reaching salmon. (PNPImages/Adobe Stock)

Eric Tegethoff

Eric Tegethoff is a journalist covering the Northwest. Eric has worked as a reporter for KBOO, XRAY FM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, as well as other print and digital news media. In 2012, Eric traveled to North Dakota to write about the Bakken region oil boom. He's also worked at a movie theater, as a campaign canvasser and quality assurance at a milk packaging factory. Eric is originally from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2010.

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