Dear Wapato Creek,

We need to talk. I’ve been keeping something inside and I need to get it off my chest. You’re a ditch. You’ve been on the straight and narrow for far too long. Your 90-degree angles are upsetting. Whatever happened to your sinuosity? I understand how you’ve become this way. You’ve been confined to your constructed channel; you’ve been dumped on; you’ve been dumped in; you’ve been choked with noxious weeds… But this has to stop.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians have worked hard to give you a facelift upstream. Now it’s time to clean up your mouth. There’s an estuary in your heart just waiting to be free. I know you have it in you to change. I know you can turn with the tides. I want our relationship to be healthy, but I can’t do that without your willingness to let go of your restrictions. Let me help you become "The Good Place" you’re meant to be (hat tip: NBC).

The first step is admitting you have a problem. Change can only happen if you’re willing to change. If you want to rebuild and break new ground, you will see new life thrive all around you. You’ll hear birdsong, and fish will jump for joy. I’m ready when you are.

Love, Your Port Biologist

Environmental Connection

Approximately 50 years ago, Wapato Creek was artificially channelized as part of the development of the Tacoma Tideflats. In 2015, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians began restoring 65 acres of the Wapato Creek drainage basin to improve fish and wildlife habitat. The Port of Tacoma wants to build a complementary habitat site toward the mouth of Wapato Creek, where it is tidally influenced. This estuary will support several species of fish and wildlife, as well as remove a partial fish barrier to upstream habitat. The Port is currently working with local stakeholders to make this dream a reality.

To be continued…