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Conserving the county’s last, best green spaces

With a goal of protecting 65,000 acres of high conservation value lands within a generation — including farmlands, forest lands, natural areas, trails, river corridors and urban green space — DNRP completed the work to identify, map and price the lands, including conservation lands inside cities, and an advisory group completed work to recommend financial and strategic approaches to the King County Executive.

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Factoria improves recycling, trash disposal options

King County officially dedicated its Factoria Recycling and Transfer Station in Bellevue in October, and customers now have more recycling and disposal options than ever. The new station features compactors that cut transfer trailer truck trips to and from the station by nearly a third, easier-to-use unloading areas, and was constructed using state-of-the-art green building practices.

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Let’s get planting: 1 Million Trees by 2020

A partnership that Executive Constantine created in 2016 made significant progress this year toward planting 1 million trees throughout King County by 2020. DNRP brought together businesses, cities, and community organizations to host volunteer work parties where trees were planted to beautify parks and natural lands, improve habitat and neighborhoods and help combat climate change.

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Adding miles of regional trails

The County’s world-class regional trail system had a growth spurt in 2017, with 5 miles of interim gravel trail nearing completion in the Eastside Rail Corridor; a 1.5-mile stretch completed along the Lake to Sound Trail in the southwest portion of the county; and 1.3 miles of the East Lake Sammamish Trail that was being upgraded from a gravel surface to a completed paved trail at year’s end.

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Responding to an infrastructure crisis

Dedicated wastewater employees worked around the clock to restore normal operations after a major infrastructure failure at the West Point Treatment Plant in February. Even while emergency repairs were underway, King County began plant improvements to increase system reliability, protect employees, and increase the level of service to a rising number of ratepayers in our growing region.

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A new pipe under the Ship Canal

King County replaced a major, century-old sewer pipe running under the Ship Canal between Fremont and Queen Anne in 2017. The new Fremont Siphon, which carries up to 220 million gallons per day as one of the most heavily used pipes in the regional sewer system, will ensure north Seattle and northern King County continue to enjoy safe, reliable sewer service for decades.

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Bringing secure medicine return to the region

With a new Secure Medicine Return Program, King County is making it safer and easier to get unused and expired medication out of medicine cabinets, out of landfills, and out of Puget Sound. By installing 99 drop boxes at participating pharmacies and law enforcement offices, King County aims to decrease the risk of drug abuse, overdose, and preventable poisonings.

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More solar at King County Parks

We installed more than 300 solar panels at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center and Marymoor Park near Redmond in 2017 to further reduce the County’s energy consumption and help DNRP go Beyond Carbon Neutral. The panels will soon generate enough electricity to power the White Center park’s entire community center and light the nearby sports courts.

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A landmark fish, farm, flood agreement

King County worked with Snoqualmie Valley farmers, residents and fish and wildlife advocates to achieve a landmark agreement balancing reduced flood risk to people and property, strengthening salmon populations, and growing a prosperous farming community.

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Clean water investments in West Seattle

A new clean-water facility is protecting public health and water quality by controlling overflows of stormwater and sewage near Lowman Beach Park in West Seattle. King County invested $47 million in its Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control (CSO) Project, which involved building a million-gallon underground tank to hold stormwater and sewage during heavy rains when the treatment system is at capacity.

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Saving the Mukai Barreling Plant and more

Working through its Historic Preservation Program, King County acquired the Mukai Fruit Barreling Plant on Vashon Island in support of community efforts to preserve the structure, which helps tell the story of an entrepreneurial immigrant family and the devastating effects of relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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River safety with Marta the River Otter

King County expanded its river safety program to reach 1,809 students in first and second grade classrooms in schools in close proximity to key river corridors. The river safety mascot, Marta the River Otter, and her ukulele-playing helper, Georgie, teach students about river ecology, dangers they can and cannot see, and how to be safe when recreating on rivers. Marta and Georgie also teach the students how to properly wear a life jacket and try one on.

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Reducing flood risk on the White River

The Countyline Levee Setback Project — one of the most-complex public-safety projects in the 10-year history of the King County Flood Control District — is complete along the White River, where restoring the river’s access to its historic floodplain helps reduce the risk of flooding for hundreds of people living nearby.

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Engaging all communities

DNRP continued to reach out and listen to more of its diverse communities to create equitable opportunities and make sure more people are aware of DNRP services and programs. Successful examples in 2017 included the Cine en el Parque Spanish language outdoor movie event at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center, technical support for grant writing, seeking out diversity in workforce hiring and expanding the regional trail system in South King County.

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A better trailhead experience

A new effort to reduce trail traffic congestion at some of the Cascade foothills’ most-popular trailheads was launched in August by King County Parks and King County Metro. Trailhead Direct is a pilot project transit van service that seeks to ease vehicle congestion, reduce safety hazards and expand access to beloved hiking destinations in the Issaquah Alps and along I-90.

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‘Local never tasted so good’

The Farm Fresh Local program educated and inspired eaters across the region on how to access local food at farmers markets, farm stands, and CSAs in our community. The program, supported by a USDA grant, included a 2017 media campaign to promote farmers markets, creation of a CSA@Work program for King County employees, a Farm Fresh Local Healthy Eating Blog, and a new story map that offers virtual tour of farm fresh food in King County.

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Honoring those who protect the environment

The Green Globe Awards are the County's highest honor for planet-saving efforts at the local level, and in 2017 DNRP and King County Executive Dow Constantine recognized 13 businesses, cities, organizations, and groups for the work they're doing to protect and improve the local environment.

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