For the sake of salmon

Boeing grant and volunteer day help restore critical salmon habitat at Lake Sammamish State Park

August 30, 2023 in Our-Community

A group of volunteers at Lake Samammish Stat Park in Washington State.

Nearly 100 volunteers from the Boeing Marketing & Sales team grabbed shovels and shears with their sights set on removing invasive blackberry bushes. They were working alongside representatives of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust on an Issaquah Creek restoration project to benefit salmon, including Chinook, which are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Volunteers were also there to celebrate Boeing’s latest $250,000 investment in the project to restore more than 60 acres of streamside habitat within Lake Sammamish State Park.

Volunteer working at the volunteer event at Lake Sammamish Park in Washington State.
Smiling volunteer at the volunteer event at Lake Sammamish Park in Washington State.
Kevin Owino, based in Dubai, removes blackberry bushes at Lake Sammamish State Park. Boeing Marketing & Sales teammates from across the globe work to remove blackberry bushes

BACK STORY: Many of the native plants and tall trees that used to line the banks of Issaquah Creek were removed decades ago to make way for farmland. In their absence, Issaquah Creek warmed, blackberries thrived, and salmon suffered. Since 2005, the Greenway Trust has worked to clear blackberries and other invasive species while replanting the area with native trees and shrubs.

“Blackberries are not native to this area, they are an invasive species,” said Tor Bell with the Greenway Trust. “They take over, and they don’t allow the native plants to come up from underneath.”

A 2015 grant from Boeing helped fund the initial design and site assessment for the upcoming in-stream restoration project.

“We couldn’t have gotten this far without the Boeing gifts, starter money,” said Bell with the Greenway Trust.

BOEING VOLUNTEERS: During the volunteer event, Boeing employees focused on removing invasive blackberry.

We’re digging, we’re helping and we’re really making a difference,” said Brad McMullen, Boeing’s senior vice president of Sales. “We’re fortunate to live in a beautiful community and work for a great company, and this is a great way for us to give back to that community.”

“I love it, it’s so Puget Sound, right? Salmon are very important to us,” added Boeing employee Rishabh Madaan. “Improving salmon habitat is such an important goal to have, and I’m so happy to be contributing toward that.”

Kevin Owino came all the way from Dubai for the Boeing Marketing & Sales all-team meeting and volunteer event. He worked alongside teammates from across the globe and quickly learned that blackberries are tough. “I only just learned about the plant. I never heard about it before,” said Owino. “I think they are very small but very tough, so we can all learn from blackberries for sure.”

Volunteers at the Lake Sammamish State Park event gather to talk. Boeing employees learn about stream restoration at Lake Sammamish State Park.

WHAT’S NEXT: Boeing’s new grant will support placing more than 400 large logs in Issaquah Creek to create a mix of pools and riffles that will make it more suitable for salmon who need clean, cool streams to survive. The Greenway Trust is also planting thousands more native trees and shrubs to restore the area closer to its natural state.

GO DEEPER: Members of the public who would like to get involved with habitat restoration in the Greenway NHA can find upcoming volunteer opportunities at