Fundraisers rush the 38 degree waters of Lake Stevens during the 2nd Annual SSS Polar Bear Plunge at Lundeen Park on Jan. 14. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Plunge into frosty Lake Stevens to raise money for salmon

LAKE STEVENS — A certain type of commitment was on display on the shores of Snohomish County’s largest lake.

At Lundeen Park on a 38-degree day in January, 18 people plunged into waters where ice had formed in places. They did it for Sound Salmon Solutions, a nonprofit focused on improving fish habitat and teaching people about water quality.

“We jokingly say if salmon live in it, then you can dip in it,” said Rodney Pond, the group’s executive director.

The stunt spurred 43 people to donate more than $3,000.

Formed more than a quarter century ago, Sound Salmon Solutions works to improve watersheds of the Snohomish and Stillaguamish rivers, as well as on Camano Island and south Whidbey Island.

The nonprofit coordinates habitat-restoration projects, organizes volunteer work parties and collaborates with local schools on educational projects.

Its largest ongoing restoration involves re-creating an island on Cherry Creek, near Duvall, in the upper reaches of the Snohomish watershed.

The group manages more than 2,000 volunteers per year, most through one-time events, often through work, church or social organizations. Staff are based out of an office on Vernon Road in Lake Stevens.

Come fall, the nonprofit is preparing to work with students at Cascade, Everett and Jackson high schools on an environmental design course. It’s a partnership with Seattle-based Forterra with help from a $25,000 grant from The Mountaineers, a Pacific Northwest nonprofit with a branch in Everett.

Sound Salmon Solutions staff also have taught programs in Marysville and Darrington schools.

“We don’t do advocacy,” Pond said. “We’re a get-stuff-done type of organization.”

The nonprofit was one of several chartered by the Legislature in 1990 to enhance regional fisheries through a close relationship with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Its original name was the Stilly Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force. Most of its more than $600,000 in annual revenue comes from grants.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Get involved

To learn about chances to volunteer with salmon-habitat projects, go to www.soundsalmonsolutions.org/volunteer or www.soundsalmonsolutions.org/events. Or contact Lisa Syravong, membership and volunteer coordinator, at 425-252-6686 or lisa@soundsalmonsolutions.org.

Sound Salmon Solutions is seeking volunteers for these upcoming tree-planting events:

March 11: Stillwater Wildlife Area, Duvall, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

March 25: Stillaguamish River, Arlington, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

April 8: Church Creek, Stanwood, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

April 22: Earth Day Event, Arlington, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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