City Water

Watersheds Alliance bears new name and focus on urban landscapes

The Vancouver Watersheds Alliance, always a repository of Clark County’s most passionate and educated environmentalists, has gained even more visibility in the past years with a series of documentary screenings on green and urban issues. Monthly movies such as “Dirt!” “Dive!” and “Queen of the Sun,” which played at the Vancouver Community Library, take an in-depth look at humans’ impact on the environment, both urban and rural. The film series runs through June 26, and will end on that date with “Good Food.”

A free film and dinner series may seem like a strange fit for a Watersheds Alliance (formerly Vancouver Watersheds Council), but it’s in keeping with the VWA’s evolving mission – to educate and mobilize Vancouver residents around sustainability.

Bob Adams says the organization is setting its sights on the urban landscape and the impacts it has on watersheds.

“We want to educate people on what they do and how it impacts water,” said the new board chair, who is a contractor and landscape designer. Targeting issues like leaky cars and dog waste makes a large impact on the water that we all drink and use, he said. Even beautifying an “asphalt jungle” like Highway 99 in Hazel Dell can have an impact on the way people think about their surroundings and what goes into the water, said Adams. He said in new suburban developments, stormwater drainage infrastructure keeps rivers and creeks cleaner, but in older areas of the city, keeping waste out of water is much trickier.

Adams, who has worked on more than 25,000 square feet of green roof projects in the region, would like to help businesses step up to more innovative projects, such as using plants to cool buildings and keep excess water out of the storm drains.

Adams said the organization, whose strong focus is on community partnerships, is making an effort to expand its grant program to more neighborhoods this year. The Alliance makes small grants to neighborhood organizations for projects such as the recent rubberized sidewalk over tree roots in the Hough Neighborhood, and the new community bulletin board project in the Lincoln Neighborhood, as well as subsidizing street tree plantings and much more. Adams said they would like to reach some neighborhoods they have not previously made grants to, and help neighborhoods without strong organization coalesce over a funded sustainability project.







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Vancouver Watersheds Alliance

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