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Polar Bear Plunge coming to Lighthouse Park

Salmon restoration group opens office in Mukilteo


January 16, 2020

Hey, Edmonds residents. Haven’t gotten your fill of the cold water yet?

Head to neighborly Mukilteo, where the city’s first-ever Polar Bear Plunge is at the waterfront Jan. 25. The plunge will take place at Lighthouse Park at 11 a.m., followed by a “Warm Up! After Party” at the new office of Sound Salmon Solutions, which moved into its new location in Mukilteo Oct. 1.

Interested polar bears can register at bit.ly/2uSMuYd.

Sound Salmon is leading efforts to restore habitats and recover salmon, including in Edmonds.

The staff-driven, nonprofit organization moved to Third Street in Old Town after about eight years in Lake Stevens. The new office overlooks the waterfront from the basement of Edward Jones.

“Mukilteo is a community we haven’t worked with in the past,” said Executive Director Rodney Pond. Pond has been an instructor at Edmonds Community College for nearly a decade. He teaches ecological restoration and horticulture.

He also taught landscaping and gardening at Monroe Correctional Facility for three years.

Sound Salmon Solutions focuses on salmon restoration through interactive education and hands-on stewardship. Pond said there are plenty of opportunities for adults and kids to volunteer in the community.

Last year alone, the organization restored 18 acres of land, taught 3,188 students, planted 12,600 native plants, and released 76,000 coho salmon. Pond said about 900 volunteers come out each year.

The independent nonprofit hosts stewardship programs, which focus on habitat restoration. Volunteers and students help to kill weeds and plant trees along rivers and streams. The organization also removes debris, log jams, and culverts to create safe pathways for salmon.

“We’re not big picture,” said Pond. “We want to go into the community and get people engaged. We are not going to get to salmon recovery without being involved.”

Pond said his staff is excited to dive into Mukilteo and get to know the community. The organization wants to support the city and work with councilmembers to preserve salmon habitat, he added.

The nonprofit also works with local tribes on restoration sites and collaborates with educational programs.

Interactive education is a key priority for the restoration group. Staff held 159 classes and taught 5,272 hours of science last year. Pond said they go into schools and educate students on salmon recovery and water quality, among other topics.

Funding for the organization comes from various sources, which pays for programs and projects. The Department of Fish and Wildlife also contributes to the nonprofit.

Pond said the group started in 1990 and will be celebrating a 30-year anniversary in April. The organization works as far north as Oso and as far south as Carnation and Duvall.


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