Washington State Magazine

Winter 2009 cover

Winter 2009

In This Issue...


How We Eat Is What We Are :: In the 1960s, 24.3 percent of Americans were overweight. Now, over 60 percent of us are. Even though other countries are hot on our heels, we are still the plumpest folk in the world. Does it matter? by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Vintage food advertisements }

Paper Cuts :: Not that many years ago Washington's legislature was covered by more than 30 journalists from around the state. Now that number is eight. The Seattle Times no longer has a bureau on the east side of Lake Washington, and a print Post-Intelligencer no longer exists. Who will give us information and investigation when the papers have all gone? by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Map: Changes in Washington state newspapers: An interactive map of layoffs, closures, and re-invention of news sources in Washington state. }

Old News :: Just as several of Washington's newspapers have vanished from the landscape, librarians and volunteers are bringing our state's near-forgotten newspapers to light.

Talking Turkey :: As you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, you might like to know that turkey farming in North America has been around a lot longer than you thought. New genetic tools applied to a common turkey byproduct have given turkey afficionados a lot more to think about. by Cherie Winner

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Galleries: Heritage turkeys and Turkey Feathers }


Life After Newspapers :: It's a whole new cyberworld out there, and I'm the dinosaur dude who's trying to figure out where to go from here. by Jim Moore '78


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Photographs of Olympia Avenue, WSU's new sustainable residence hall }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Stormwater project by Spokane County Extension }


:: FIRST WORDS: Cultivated thought


:: SHORT SUBJECT: Track to the future

:: SPORTS: Doubling back

:: IN SEASON: Clams

:: LAST WORDS: Grover Krantz (1931-2002) and Clyde

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Video: Acres of Clams }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE: Design presentations from the “Powering the Palouse” symposium }


Cover photo: Railroad tracks through the basalt cliffs at Palouse Falls State Park. Photo by David Hogan.

Pervious pavement in Seattle.


Example of pervious pavement (left in photo)and a street-side swale in Seattle's High Point neighborhood. Courtesy Green Infrastructure

Stormwater central

by | © Washington State University

There’s nothing mundane about the new parking lot at the WSU research and extension center in Puyallup. It is a state-of-the-art polluted water collection system. The 70-some parking spots are specially designed to drain the water from each space into separate collection cells.

The project, which broke ground last summer, is an early step in the station’s efforts to become a leader in Low Impact Development techniques, providing guidance for the rapidly developing community along the Puyallup River Valley. In this case, the station will look at how to capture and clean stormwater runoff so that it doesn’t contaminate waterways, damaging salmon runs and polluting Puget Sound.

The station, jointly with the City of Puyallup, received a $1 million research grant from the state Department of Ecology to start the project. The organizers are hoping the scope and quality of the effort will bring in more funding to keep it running. “It’s like we have purchased the Porsche, and one gallon of gas,” says Curtis Hinman, a water resource specialist with WSU Pierce County Extension. “Now we need more to drive it.”

Besides the pervious pavement and collection cells, the project includes several 20x20-foot rain gardens, depressions in the earth where the water will be deposited to see how different plants absorb and handle pollutants. Finally, large containment tanks will hold different mixes of soils to see how the pollutants filter through or are retained. This test site is one of the first of its type and scale in the world.

Though the WSU research station in Puyallup was built more than a century ago to serve the farmers in western Washington, this new project fits the role of the facility, says director John Stark. It’s an experiment station, where the university can “experiment” with new ideas and technology for the benefit of the general public.

“In this area our farming is declining,” he says. And the population is on the rise, so the station is focusing on more urban issues. Storm water runoff from streets and parking lots is a major concern for the local streams and rivers as well as for the Puget Sound. That is why projects like these will focus on environmental toxicology as well as reducing the flow of runoff water. Hopefully someday, he says, more developers and businesses will start using this technology.

Categories: WSU Extension, Environmental studies | Tags: Sustainability, Ecology, Water quality, Stormwater

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