Vulcan commits to serve as pilot developer for Salmon-Safes new developer accreditation initiative, the nations first environmental accreditation connecting development practices to water quality protection and recovery of urban watersheds. Vulcan, which is spearheading the revitalization of Seattles South Lake Union (SLU) district, is committed to using Salmon-Safe, a third party environmental certification organization focused on market-based watershed restoration solutions, as its primary tool to ensure that Vulcan development projects have a net zero watershed impact by contributing no runoff to Puget Sound, and that those projects in fact help filter runoff from neighboring streets and buildings. Additional efforts to ensure clean runoff and infiltration include below-grade removal of contaminated soils from the SLU historical manufacturing and mill industries.
Vulcan will back this commitment through ongoing work towards Salmon-Safe certification across its development portfolio, including the retrofitting of existing sites. This will include onsite infiltration through green stormwater infrastructure like rain gardens, enhancement of site ecological function through green roofs and pollinator meadows, elimination of harmful chemicals and pesticides, and restoration of shoreline or other sensitive aquatic habitats.
As a Salmon-Safe accreditation pilot partner, Vulcan will go beyond site-by-site certification by incorporating Salmon-Safe principles throughout a projects life-cycle, from site design and development through construction-phase, to occupancy and ongoing operations. Vulcan intends to be the nations first Salmon-Safe-certified developer, with a broader goal of helping to move the entire development industry toward these environmentally innovative development practices.
In partnership with Salmon-Safe, Vulcan will also develop best practices to serve as a template for other developers. Together Vulcan and Salmon-Safe will share approaches and results with other developers through direct contact and presentations. Salmon-Safe commits to engaging three additional developers that will also undertake Salmon-Safe developer accreditation.
Vulcans Salmon-Safe accreditation action plan has three primary components: 1) site specific certifications of properties; 2) accreditation of developer operations and land management; and 3) a public awareness campaign that elevates the issue of stormwater management and marine habitat protection in the built environment.
First, Vulcan will seek Salmon-Safe certification for individual Vulcan development projects in South Lake Union and across Seattle with the goal of demonstrating net zero watershed impact across its development portfolio. The timeline for certification will be ongoing across multiple sites with Salmon-Safe involved from design and construction to project completion and operations. Salmon-Safe assessments of individual projects will begin in June 2015 with ongoing verification and evaluation throughout the commitment period.
Secondly, Vulcan will seek to achieve Salmon-Safe Developer Accreditation as a company with the goal of institutionalizing innovative stormwater design and other best practices company-wide and in partnership with its property management firms. The Salmon-Safe accreditation evaluation will be completed by July 2015 with ongoing annual compliance verification and quarterly meetings through June 2018.
Finally, Vulcan will join with Salmon-Safe to inform and inspire other developers and corporate landowners as well as urban citizens to engage in Puget Sound recovery efforts. This includes education workshops and events, strategic advertising placement, and meetings with public officials and policy-makers that will occur for the duration of the 3-year Salmon-Safe accreditation pilot.
Recent studies by the Washington State Department of Ecology indicate that 80% of all pollution entering Puget Sound is generated by human-caused pollutants carried by stormwater, including petroleum products, heavy metals, and sediments from highways, lawns, construction sites, and urban neighborhoods. Urban stormwater runoff has been identified as the Puget Sound regions biggest source of water pollution. These pollutants have an adverse impact on the watershed and severely compromise marine health.
In recent interviews conducted by Salmon-Safe, commercial fishermen stationed in Puget Sound stated that their livelihoods have been impacted by a decline of salmon populations and the increased costs of traveling further to find viable fishing grounds as more people compete for stocks diminished by stormwater pollutants. The regional oyster industry faces equal threats, losing millions in revenue annually. Moreover, Puget Sounds orca whales are among those marine mammals most adversely affected by contaminants, suffering the effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); elements from industrial and chemical production that contaminate sediments washed into waterways through stormwater and other flushing occurrences.
According to the American Fisheries Society, more than 40% of Pacific Northwest urban lands will be developed or redeveloped in the next 20 years. Without intervention and thoughtful, environmentally-minded approaches to development, the delicate Puget Sound ecosystem and watershed will be at risk of irreparable damage.