Volunteer Empowered to Restore the Sammamish River

One volunteer’s work on the Sammamish River highlights our work to empower community to restore salmon habitat.

Dana Kemmerling was a participant in the Community Action Training School, a joint program of Mid Sound and Sound Salmon Solutions in which 23 students participated in a 10-session training on the important issues around watershed restoration. Students learned the science behind the most important watershed threats as well as the policies and solutions aimed at overcoming them. In exchange, these participants agreed to volunteer 50 hours of time implementing restoration project.

Dana chose to partner with Mid Sound Fisheries on an existing project on the Sammamish River. The project seeks to restore riparian vegetation along the banks of the river – to address current temperature challenges and promote climate resiliency. Dana helped lead outreach efforts – putting together quarterly volunteer events, reaching out to local businesses and her own co-workers at Tom Douglas Rub with Love.

“I’ve always cared about salmon. But by participating in the CATS program, I better understood where I could best fit my talents into the road to salmon restoration. I was able to use my enthusiasm—and my marketing experience—to help co-workers and friends become inspired to help rip out blackberries and plant native plants along the Sammamish River,” says Dana. “It was great to work with the Mid Sound Fisheries and King County staff, who ensured we had the permits, the right plants, and the tools to get it all done”

Last year, Dana helped Mid Sound conduct 5 volunteer events, engaging 115 people who donated 402 hours of labor — removing invasive weeds, installing mulch, and planting 564 native plants on 375 lineal feet of stream bank.