BOTHELL – Sometimes you need a little muscle to get the job done.
Walt Rung, Max Press and Tucker Jackson have been helping the Everett-based Adopt-a-Stream Foundation pile a jumble of logs into an eroding bend on North Creek.
Earlier this month, the volunteers helped drag and lock the logs into place near where the creek wends under I-405.
“These guys are great,” said Tom Hardy, a senior ecologist for the foundation, which focuses on stream restoration.
The foundation relies heavily on volunteers to restore habitat for salmon and other fish in Snohomish County waterways.
As with the Bothell project, the work is often hard on the back but good for the soul, Hardy said. The logs will both protect the bank from eroding property owner Greg Ellis’ back yard, while creating habitat for fish.
“It’s demanding, but it’s worth it,” said Rung, 28, a college student who lives in Everett. “It’s a lot better than sitting at home doing homework.”
Rung said volunteering for the foundation is helping prepare him for studies in fisheries biology at the University of Washington. He’s now a student at Edmonds Community College.
Press, 19, also is a college student who hopes to get an ecology-related degree.
“I didn’t know I would be out here using a 20-pound sledgehammer,” said Press, a Seattle resident who attends Reed College in Portland, Ore. “I don’t know about pounding rebar for the rest of my known days, but it’s the kind of work that needs to be done.”
Jackson already has a degree in biology and already has a job. He herds goats in Idaho – special goats that eat nonnative plants. It’s a seasonal job, so he’s been spending some time in the Puget Sound region, where his parents live.
“It’s really nice to get outside,” he said. “Swinging a hammer makes you feel like you’re actually working.”
The 40 logs the three volunteers help put into place will create habitat for struggling populations of salmon and trout, said Tom Murdoch, the Adopt-a-Stream Foundation’s executive director.
North Creek, which parallels I-5 up to south Everett, particularly is affected by new homes being built along its banks, Murdoch said. The restoration projects give the stream its best chance to support viable fish runs while the human population continues to grow.
Lukas Velush is a writer for The Herald in Everett.