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First urban site to achieve sustainability endorsement
Friday, Sept. 17, 2010
By Brenda Alling, WSU Vancouver
VANCOUVER - Continuing its leadership in sustainability, the WSU Vancouver campus has become the first urban campus in southwest Washington to earn Salmon-Safe certification, a designation that means the university is proactively and significantly improving the environmental health of its 351-acre property that borders Salmon Creek.
“WSU Vancouver is joining Nike, Oregon Convention Center, Portland’s South Waterfront and other environmentally pioneering Northwest landowners to create healthier landscapes so salmon can spawn and thrive,” said Dan Kent, Salmon-Safe executive director.
“We think Salmon-Safe certification is a powerful way to ensure that best facilities management practices are used in our landscaping maintenance and storm water management programs,” said James Martin, director of Facilities Operations at WSU Vancouver. "We welcomed the independent review of our environmental efforts ranging from campus design to day-to-day management.”
Founded by Pacific Rivers Council, Salmon-Safe is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Portland. Its mission is to transform land management practices so Pacific salmon can thrive in West Coast watersheds.
To qualify for Salmon-Safe certification, WSU Vancouver met rigorous conservation requirements. These included committing to further streamside restoration along Mill Creek to provide bank stability, shade and cover. Other measures included phasing out landscape chemicals harmful to the watershed, additional water conservation, further reducing storm water runoff from parking lots and buildings, and incorporating salmon-friendly design in future campus development.
“By adopting Salmon-Safe practices on its campus, WSU Vancouver is leading the way to a healthier Columbia River,” said Kent. “WSU Vancouver is an environmental innovator with initiatives ranging from LEED buildings to rain gardens and constructed wetlands to restoration of forests on the property. Salmon-Safe certification represented a powerful next step because aptly named Salmon Creek, in their own backyard, is home to coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout.”
University campus certification is a recent offering from Salmon-Safe, an organization that has been certifying agricultural and urban land since 1996 as a powerful means to encourage management practices that protect and restore salmon habitat. Since 1996, more than 65,000 acres of farmland have become Salmon-Safe certified, including 200 vineyards that represent a third of Oregon’s total vineyard acreage.
Salmon-Safe urban sites around Puget Sound range from the Washington State Department of Ecology’s headquarters campus to Port of Seattle’s park system and the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park.
To find out more about Salmon-Safe, please visit: http://www.salmonsafe.org.