Ring around the Duwamish

The Duwamish Waterway was created when the river was dredged and straightened out beginning in 1913. 100 years later the area is now an industrial land full of barges, shipping containers, and heavy industry including Boeing, cement plants and metal recyclers. This has placed a toll on the once meandering river. The local native population for 100s of years lived along the river and reaped the bounty of the marshes, tideflats and small islands that were in abundance on the untamed delta.

In 2001 the waterway was placed on a National Superfund Cleanup list. It was found to have become so polluted that eating any bottom feeding fish or seafood was not healthy. A lot of progress has been made but what to do with the toxic mud has been a delima. There has been several project completed to bring back some of the old marsh and tide flat type of environments. This is to improve the return of birds and fish to this once dynamic river delta.

In previous articles I had highlighted one of those reclaimed parks – Herring House. http://wp.me/p1d1cX-AC & http://wp.me/p1d1cX-Es

Today I circled the waterway starting on the south end where the navigable part of the river ends. What makes this park special is I used to live on the river here in the 80s. As time went on the houses which were sandwiched between a freeway and river, became neglected. The city bought them up and reclaimed the land to promote wildlife. A small people bridge was erected to connect trails along the river as it moved into the Green River valley.

Where our house stood is now dug out for the tide to fill. I found a couple of old pictures of the river and the little trailer I lived in steps away from the bank.

My Duwamish home in the 80s
My Duwamish home in the 80s

Today I took a few photos showing how much it has changed.   Never would know man lived here less than 20 years ago.

Next I drove past Herring House Park to T105 (T stands for Terminal) a small access park on the waterway. Salmon Fisherman were on the pier so I walked over to small boat launch. From there I took a few photos of this reclamation project. This includes Blue Heron on the water and one in a fir-tree which I found rather fascinating. I also took an industrial type picture with Mt. Rainier in the distance.

Next I drove over the lower West Seattle Bridge to the East side of the waterway. Here I found the teardown of the old Alaskan Way Viaduct. It is around 60 years old and here is a picture of the old wooden supports to its approach. To think we all drove over this for decades.

Alaskan Way Viaduct removal.  Old timbers under a modern road.
Alaskan Way Viaduct removal. Old timbers under a modern road.

At the Diagonal Waterway access I found a few Canadian Geese and an old Apple tree along the banks. Nature thrives despite man’s pollution and lack of care.

Canadian Geese next to old drainage - Diagonal Access on East side River
Canadian Geese next to old drainage – Diagonal Access on East side River
Apple tree has apples despite being broken down
Apple tree has apples despite being broken down

That is my tour of the Duwamish today. Hope you enjoyed how nature can be found in the most unexpected environments. We think time is going too slow.  See how this shows what can happen to a landscape in 100 years.  Leaves one to wonder of what the next century will deliver.

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