October is peak planting season in the Pacific Northwest, which means our Water Quality team is busy working with community partners on green stormwater projects. This year, we celebrated both Green Tacoma Day (on Oct 8th) and Orca Recovery Day (on Oct 9th) with volunteers and neighbors in Central Tacoma.
After removing 3,000 square feet of pavement from a parking lot at Peck Fields, the Central Neighborhood Council, Metro Parks Tacoma, and PCD finished transforming this space from gray to green as part of Green Tacoma Day. With 50 volunteers, we planted more than 400 plants, including urban trees, native pollinator plants, and a new rain garden, which will capture and clean polluted runoff. Volunteers also cleared out tons of invasive blackberries to give our new plants plenty of room to grow.
One weekend later, we partnered up with 35 volunteers in the Hilltop at the Oasis of Hope. Over the last year, PCD has worked with the Center and volunteers to remove blackberries that were taking over their rain garden. This year, the rain garden was ready for new plants, and we added over 300 native and pollinator-friendly plants that will fill the rain garden with a diverse and healthy plant community.
Both events were not just great because of the new plants in the ground; they were also celebrations of how individuals and communities can make a tangible difference. Both projects were put forward by community members who wanted to create more green spaces in their neighborhoods. Both rain gardens also collect stormwater runoff from parking lots. These gardens clean this polluted runoff and keep it out of Puget Sound and away from orcas. By working together, neighbors were able to take small steps that add up to a big difference.
PCD regularly has volunteer events all over the county. You can always find upcoming events and opportunities here on our volunteer page.