Northwest Olympia Watersheds
City of Olympia core, and The Evergreen State College at the base of the Cooper Point Peninsula which sits between Budd Inlet and Eld Inlet in the South Puget Sound basin. It includes five ecosystem sites each of which is a distinct landform. These include West Bay Watersheds, Schneider Creek Watershed, Crestline Coastal Watershed, Butler Cove Watershed, and Green Cove Watershed. As is common in the Salish Sea lowlands, these catchments share a flat area of groundwater recharge on the glacial plateau, between Division Street and Cooper Point road that I like to call "the swales". Because of culture, location, transportation network and hydrology, I think of these as one complex social-ecological system on the NW urbanizing edge of Olympia.
This landscape is the home of the first chapter of the Ecosystem Guild, an experimental effort to weave together stewards and custodians of the land into a coherent network of action.
Locally Active Workgroups
The following Workgroups are in some way active in this landscape
- City of Olympia - has a large park at Grass Lakes Nature Reserve at the headwaters of Green Cove Creek. Their storm and surface water utility has a staff involved in restoration there.
- Thurston County has jurisdiction over parts of Green Cove and Butler Cove watersheds, and has shared responsibility for public trust resources such as groundwater and fisheries.
- Thurston Conservation District is a special district with a county-wide assessment that supports a staff that works of natural resource management.
- Ancestors of the Squaxin Island Tribe have fished, hunted and gathered in these watersheds since time before memory. Their natural resources department has an interest in restoration and protection, however these are not focus areas for their active work.
- Thurston County Stream Team has done various educational and stewardship events.
- Capital Land Trust has acquired title or easements on eight wetland parcels in the Kaiser Road wetlands of Green Cove Watershed.
- Olympia Coalition for Ecosystem Preservation is focused on restoration of open space in the West Bay Watersheds but recently acquired a parcel next to Grass Lakes Nature Reserve.
- Native Plant Salvage Foundation has a nursery just south of the watersheds in the Percival Creek Watershed and is active in these areas.
- Citizen Science Institute on the Marshall-Hansen Campus is developing the Plants for the People Nursery as a mechanism to accelerate restoration of watershed sites and develop a platform for bioregional education.
- The Evergreen State College is perched on the West edge of Green Cove Creek, and has graduate and undergraduate programs focused on the social and ecological aspects of restoration.
- Wild Fish Conservancy has staff that live in the watershed who pay attention to the creeks, and have completed spawner surveys on Green Cove Creek, supported WDFW in surveys of Olympic Mudminnow
- US Fish and Wildlife Service is involved in monitoring the Olympic Mudminnow
- Thurston County League of Women Voters has been involved in contesting residential development on the old Sundberg Gravel Mine located on the ridge between Butler Cove, Green Cove, and Schneider Creek.
- GRuB is a local food advocacy group with a youth operated CSA, a low-income gardening program, and a native foods and cultural landscape effort aligned with regional tribes, all located on the North Fork of Schneider Creek.
- A group of community volunteers are involved in development of a pedestrian and bicycle trail through west olympia and grass lakes out to the Capitol Forest (managed by DNR).