Mountaineers Foundation: Natural Places, Sustainable Practices

Natural Places, Sustainable Practices

#GIVEBIG to Grow the Preserve

It’s GiveBIG time again on May 9th and we are thrilled to be participating. This year, a generous sponsor has provided a $86,000 match donation for land acquisition. This rare opportunity will allow us to grow the Rhododendron Preserve by 40 acres. We’re so excited to have this match – let’s make this GiveBIG the biggest!

Please help grow the Preserve by 40 acres by visiting our GiveBIG page.

Doing Business as Keta Legacy Foundation

We are celebrating our 50th anniversary this year! We are using this milestone to revise our organization’s name to better reflect our core values. Moving forward, we will be doing business as Keta Legacy Foundation.

Keta is the Latin name for chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta). Every year these salmon hatch in the gravels of Lost and Wildcat Creeks, within the Rhododendron Preserve. These streams connect the Preserve with Puget Sound, the greater Salish Sea, and the Pacific Ocean, where the salmon migrate to as young smolts. After several years, the adult salmon migrate back into the Salish Sea and eventually to Dyes Inlet and the Preserve’s watershed to spawn the next generation of salmon.

One of the Foundation’s long-term goals is to fully restore the habitat that these salmon need to survive. Therefore, we support the ecological and human communities of the Salish Sea region now and for generations into the future.

Ueland Tree Farm’s Plant Salvage

The 8th annual plant salvage will be open to the public.

Open March 3rd and 4th, 9:00am – 3:00pm

Plants available for salvage include Douglas Fir, Western White Pine, Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, Rhododendron, Salal, Huckleberry, Oregon Grape, and Sword Fern.

For more information please visit Ueland Tree Farm blog or contact Mark Mauren at (253) 307-5900


Celebrating Cascade Crossroads Film

A new film, Cascade Crossroads, released by I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition, chronicles the decade-long corroborative effort between Washington State Department of Transportation, the Washington legislature, and environmental groups to bring this exciting highway project to fruition. We have been enthusiastic supporters of the project! Our president and community grants chair were invited to the film’s screening.

I-90 Cascade Crossroads Film Celebration

Mindy Roberts, Mountaineers Foundation President; Nancy Neyenhouse, Mountaineers Foundation Community Grants Chair; Charlie Raines, Director I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition

I-90 Cascade Crossroads Film Celebration

I-90 Cascade Crossroads Film Celebration

Conservation Northwest and I-90 Bridges Coalition have made the project happen. And the Mountaineers Foundation is proud to have been a fiscal supporter of both organizations.

The 30-minute film is well worth the watch and is available for viewing on Facebook and YouTube.

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You’ve been there, right? Heading east on Snoqualmie Pass, traffic slows to a halt – highway construction and rock blasting! It can make traveling I-90 very frustrating, but it’s all for a good reason. The 15-mile I-90 road construction project is a win-win for both people and animals.

The area under construction is a major transportation corridor for the Northwest, but also a crucial wildlife migration corridor. Animals on either side of I-90 have been unable to migrate north or south without significant danger to both them and the people and cars traveling the highway.

The first 7 of the total 15 miles is now under construction and should be completed by 2019. This phase includes 2 wildlife underpasses at Gold Creek, and 1 at Rocky Run, which benefits not only the 4-legged creatures but the resident bull trout as well. Fish and wildlife, which you can view at I-90 Wildlife Watch, are already using the underpasses. The first wildlife overpass of the project, near Price and Noble Creeks, is completed to the point that vehicles can travel under it.

Charlie Raines, Director of the I-90 Bridges Coalition, feels “The story behind the project is as important as the benefits this project will have for fish, wildlife, and people” in the State of Washington.

Congratulations to RE Sources for Sustainable Communities – Bellingham, WA

The 2017 Paul Wiseman Conservation Education Grant (PWCEG) was awarded to RE Sources for Sustainable Communities.

Young Water Stewards conducting water tests

A water quality crisis in the Puget Sound brought the Community Grants Committee to conclude that the RE Sources for Sustainable Communities was the most timely and important project presented during the 2017 PWCEG process.

“Stormwater pollution killing coho before they can spawn.” The Seattle Times 19 Oct. 2017. According to this front page article, depending on how populated an area of the Sound is, anywhere from 10% to 100% of migrating coho are killed before spawning. The greater the human population, the higher the percentage of coho death. The leading suspect seems to be tire dust from vehicles. The Bellingham coho are especially hard hit with areas of 40% or greater death statistics.

Young Water Stewards marking drains to salmon streams

Not only is Whatcom County hit with the possibility of vehicles severely polluting the local rivers and streams, Whatcom’s waters are also severely polluted by agriculture and dairy farming. At the end of 2016, only 16% of routine monitoring sites in the Nooksack River/Portage Bay watershed met the state water quality bacteria standard. Impacts of this pollution are dwindling salmon runs, increasing algae blooms, and eliminating riparian zones.  All of this pollution is making its way downstream and into the Salish Sea. Even Lummi Nation oyster beds were closed!

The RE Sources Young Water Stewards program is in its 2nd year. It is a field survey and classroom-based instructional program that teaches 500 high school students about the important functions of, impacts to, and ways in which they can protect watersheds, rivers, streams and water quality. Students collect water samples at sites such as agricultural, construction, and harbors. As data is studied, Best Management Practices are discussed and practical stewardship actions are employed. Both training and tools are provided to teachers. The grant award of $12,908 will support this program and help develop the next generation of community leadership.

As an environmental grant maker, we, as an organization, are proud and excited to partner with RE Sources for Sustainable Communities! Together, we will have a positive impact on the health of the Salish Sea.