Join KEEN for Urban Streams & Brews
"A Bar Crawl with Science"
Saturday June 3, 2023
Ellensburg is interlaced with urban streams, many of them running underground. Several groups are working to increase our understanding of these creeks, restore them to daylighted habitat, and re-introduce fish species to their waters.
Join us to learn about their work, discuss the issues, and enjoy good friends and good brews along the way. We'll walk about 2 miles total, stop at 3 local venues, and have a great afternoon!
Event Passes are $45 and include 3 drink tickets. Food purchases at various venues are on your own.
Guests this year:
Jon Morrow & Erin McGowan with the City of Ellensburg Stormwater Program
Aimee Taylor with Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Program
Elizabeth Torrey with WA Department of Fish & Wildlife
Landon Shaffer with Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Program
Jill Scheffer with Kittitas Environmental Education Network
We'll meet at the natural area on the corner of 7th and Walnut (near CWU) and follow the East Branch of Wilson Creek as it winds its way through and under Ellensburg.
We'll chat about freshwater mussels at this stop, and Elizabeth Torrey will share info about our native freshwater mussels. You'll have a chance to look, touch, and ask questions. Landon Shaffer will chat about riparian restoration and water quality and answer any burning questions from the crowd.
We follow the path of Wilson Creek as it pops out a few more times before we get to our first brews stop, Cornerstone Pie. You can use one of your drink tickets here and order lunch on your own, if you like. We'll here from KEEN's President, Jill Scheffer, about the latest updates on the Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center project.
Then we'll head into downtown and stop along the way to talk about Urban Stormwater Management with Jon and Erin, the City of Ellensburg stormwater experts. Yes, we live in a high desert, but we still have stormwater issues! How do land use decisions and piping of streams impact our daily lives? We'll find out!
Our next stop is Julep, for some delicious southern cocktails and more socializing (pool anyone?).
Then we'll head down the alley between 5th and 3rd, finding Wilson Creek popping out again. Aimee Taylor with Mid-Columbia will chat about endangered salmon and associated water quality issues. We'll contemplate why fish don't make it past this point in the Wilson Creek system.
We'll end our day at Hayday Bakery in the outdoor seating area with our 3rd drink ticket and perhaps some yummy dessert and live music!
More about Urban Stream Restoration...
Across the United States and around the world, urban rivers have been the focus of major clean-up and restoration efforts over the last century, going from places to conduct business and dump refuse and pollution, to waterfront parks and residences. More recently, the smaller creeks and streams that function as tributaries to those rivers have been the focus of restoration and even rediscovery, as cities “daylight” streams that have been covered for decades.
While there is no denying that the restored and rediscovered streams have led to more attractive and literally greener urban environments, and possibly increased real estate values, the jury is still out on the ecological value of these often extensive and expensive projects. With much of the work either still quite new or ongoing, and only a few scientific studies conducted, we would be well advised to document the effects of these efforts even as we continue them.
Urban stream restoration has been in practice for approximately three decades, with early efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and in California, and in the last few decades they have spread to cities that include New York City and nearby suburbs, Boston, Los Angeles, Kalamazoo, San Luis Obispo and others. Currently major stream restoration projects are underway or planned for Austin, Atlanta, and many other cities.
There are two major trends in urban stream restoration—one is a more naturalistic restoration of an existing degraded stream, the other is thedaylighting of a stream or small river that has been covered over. Perhaps the best known example of daylighting a “forgotten” stream is in Seoul, South Korea, where the Cheonggyecheon stream—once pristine but by the 20th century an open sewer—was buried under layers of highways and other urban systems for decades. The city peeled away the layers of roadways, exposing and restoring the stream bed and making it the centerpiece of a newly enlivened neighborhood, where children play in the clean waters (fed by a mechanical system) and where plant, insect, bird and fish species proliferate, despite the extensive engineering.