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JCWC raising funds for Tacoma MAX Station boardwalk at Johnson Creek

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Johnson Creek Watershed Council Restoration Coordinator Robin Jenkinson helps hold the illustration of the vista board walk, which is also held by - and drawn by - Outreach Associate Marty Urman.From a process begun in 2010, what has now become known as the Johnson Creek Tacoma MAX Station “Salmon Habitat and Boardwalk Project” is now reaching the fundraising stage.

“We cooperated on charrettes with the community,” said Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) Restoration Coordinator Robin Jenkinson.

“More than 100 people came, to contribute their ideas about ways to leverage the fact that this MAX station will be built, making this area even better. A lot of ideas came out of it, including development opportunities near the station.”

Some of these ideas coalesced into an interpretive boardwalk concept, Jenkinson told THE BEE.

The 220-foot-long board walk will lead from the station platform to a viewing space overlooking the new Johnson Creek natural habitat site.

“At this overlook there will be a ‘side channel’ in the creek which we are constructing, as part of the habitat project,” explained Jenkinson. “You’ll be able to see the creek, and natural wood structures that will be put in for salmon habitat.”

Along the interpretive boardwalk will be five informational panels, each one depicting activity at the site at a period of time – beginning with Native Americans and early settlers in the 1850s, through industrialization, modernization, and up through today. A fifth sign will illustrate efforts to maintain the unique ecosystem at this location.

“These panels will show how Johnson Creek changed over time and going from being called “Junk Creek” – to today its being the only free-flowing salmon stream in Portland,” Jenkinson smiled.

But, the project does require substantial fundraising.

“We’re trying to raise about $60,000 for the habitat enhancement, and $170,000 for the interpretive boardwalk,” Jenkinson acknowledged. “We’re writing many grant proposals to different private and public funders. We’re also participating in some crowd-funding projects.”

JCWC Executive Director Matt Clark revealed one new fundraising concept. “Contribute $100 or more to the Johnson Creek MAX station enhancements, and your name or a loved one’s name will be engraved on the Johnson Creek interpretive boardwalk’s handrail.”

The larger the contribution, Clark pointed out, the larger the name will appear!

The details, and a contribution form, are posted at the JCWC Internet website:

HYPERLINK "jcwc.org/support-the-johnson-creek-interpretive-boardwalk-and-habitat/" \t "_blank" www.jcwc.org/support-the-johnson-creek-interpretive-boardwalk-and-habitat/

The in-stream rehabilitation work is to begin this coming summer, and the actual Boardwalk construction should begin in the summer of 2014.