Swimming with Sheida and Martha, leaders of Puget Sound Partnership

There’s nothing like getting immersed in your work, especially when your work is saving Puget Sound. Getting underwater helps us see things from a fish’s point of view and it’s good fun on a hot day. Just ask Martha and Sheida, our first guest swimmers.


Do they look like they’re having fun? It was great to have Martha and Sheida join Swim Duwamish. Their work leading Puget Sound restoration includes projects on the Green and Duwamish River. We swam by the Reddington levee setback project, completed in 2014, that created new floodplain and fish habitat across the river from Isaac Evans Park in Auburn.

Why restore Puget Sound by working in the Green River in Auburn? Because Puget Sound is much more than saltwater, it’s also the rivers, floodplains, and watersheds upstream. What happens in Auburn and the Green River—along with the entire landscape around Puget Sound—will set the future for Puget Sound. If you love orcas and salmon, then you love the Green and Duwamish River.

What do Martha and Sheida have to say about their swim? “I was just surprised at how beautiful and crystal clear and sublimely peaceful it is with all the damming, rerouting, destroying, and polluting that’s been done to this waterway. It’s still here and it’s still coursing through our cities. I hope more people come out and realize what we have.” -Sheida Sahandy, Puget Sound Partnership Executive Director

“It’s powerful. It’s powerfully strong even at this mid-summer flow. It’s the connector of the snowcaps to the white caps. It’s pretty cool, just coursing behind levies and trailer parks and parks. I hope they know they’ve got this wild outside in their backyard because it’s wild. We saw mergansers, we saw kingfishers, and a mink.” -Martha Kongsgaard, Chair of the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council

Slide1The three of us saw some great things, and also a few signs that there’s more work to be done. But the message of the day was hope. We saw enough good signs in the Green River in Auburn that we have hope for Puget Sound. Here’s a picture of one reason for hope. I wonder how many people in Auburn know that they have mink as neighbors?