Miller/Walker Creek Basin Steward Dennis Clark Resigns, Taking New Gig

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Miller/Walker Creek Basin Steward Dennis Clark Resigns, Taking New Gig
April 7, 2011 5:00 pm
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April 1, 2011
Elliott Bay Brewery
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255 S.W. 152nd, Burien, WA, 98166, United States

Dennis Clark at the January 23, 2010 salmon planting. Photo by Michael Brunk.

After serving four years as King County’s Miller/Walker Creek Basin Steward, Dennis Clark is resigning and moving on to greener pastures in a new gig with the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Clark will now work as the Assistant Division Manager in charge of the Orca Straits District of the Aquatic Resources Division, which includes Jefferson, Clallam, San Juan, Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and Snohomish Counties (see map).

As many of our Readers may recall, Clark has had a high profile in the Burien area, often organizing work parties, cleanup parties, salmon plantings and much more (read some of our previous coverage of his environmental exploits here).

To celebrate his new position, there will be a gathering at Elliott Bay Brewing (255 S.W. 152nd), at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 7th, so mark your calendars to drop by and say hi/goodbye.

We’re sorry to see Dennis go, as he provided a lot of great information to us here at The B-Town Blog, but we want to wish him the best in his new venture!

Here’s his resignation letter, sent out via email on Friday, April 1st (wait…could this be a joke Dennis? Sadly, we don’t think it is…):

To my friends and other interested citizens in Highline,

After four great years of working together with you to care for the land and waters of the Miller and Walker Creeks basin, I am sorry to say goodbye.  Since 2007, we’ve:

  • Controlled invasive weeds on several acres
  • Planted many hundreds of native trees and shrubs throughout Burien and Normandy Park
  • Counted adult salmon and been thrilled by the sight of these wonderful creatures
  • Marked storm drains by the dozen
  • Educated many children and adults about our stream resources and how to protect them
  • And had fun while doing it all!

But my involvement in these activities with you must conclude.

I have accepted a job with the Washington Department of Natural Resources. My new position is as the Assistant Division Manager in charge of the Orca Straits District of the Aquatic Resources Division.  The Orca Straits District includes Jefferson, Clallam, San Juan, Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and Snohomish Counties (see map).  State aquatic lands include the bedlands of rivers and Puget Sound and some shorelines and tidelands.  Unlike state forest lands, for which the state has a “fiduciary trust” to generate revenue from, aquatic lands are a “public trust” and revenue generation is a secondary objective after environmental value, water-dependent uses, public access, and navigation.   One of the reasons I am taking this job is that DNR is taking a robust approach to environmental stewardship of aquatic resources under Commissioner Goldmark – see the 2010 – 2014 Strategic Plan.  In my new job, I will work with a 12-person team to manage aquatic resources sustainably, make decisions based on good science, and make decisions in the public interest and in a transparent manner.

This job is not just an exciting opportunity for me to advance professionally.  My wife Lynne and I have been long wanting to move to a smaller community in north Sound.  The DNR office is in Sedro-Woolley; we will initially live in Anacortes.

While the new job and lifestyle are exciting draws, it is with a mix of sadness and pride that I leave my 10 year job at King County and my more recent four year partnership with the Highline community.  We’ve done a lot of good work together and  I will always value:

  • You tireless volunteers who came out year after year – mostly in sunny weather because that’s how I schedule my projects! – to whack weeds, plant trees, and count salmon.  I would like to list all of you my name but it would double the length of this e-mail (and I wouldn’t want to risk forgetting anyone!).
  • Property owners who have stepped up to be good stewards of their land, including the Normandy Park Community Club, Normandy Park Swim Club, Village at Miller’s Creek Homeowners Association, Three Tree Community Church, and many single-family homeowners.
  • Those dedicated to the vital task of educating young people, especially the Environmental Science Center and the Waskowitz Environmental Leadership Semester program at Highline School District.  Your success will ensure the long-term value of our stewardship.
  • The dedicated city/agency staff in all five partner governments.  One of the reasons I was (almost!) always able to answer questions or respond to requests from the public was because I had great support.
  • The elected leadership of the Cities of Burien, Normandy Park, and SeaTac and the Port of Seattle.  It is only because of financial contributions decided on by your elected officials that King County was able to partner with the community.  I expect that their commitment will continue to match yours.

For those of you with whom I have active projects, I will contact you soon about transition issues if I haven’t done so already.  My last day in the office will be Friday, April 15.

My supervisor Doug Osterman is dedicated to finding a replacement to continue working with you and our partner governments.  We are working to identify the highest priority activities that the new person should focus on when he or she begins.  I’ve kept good records of what we’ve done and how we’ve done it, which also will help the new person.  You can contact Doug directly at [email protected] or 206-296-8069.

Because working with you has been more than just a job, I’d like the chance to say goodbye personally to the many of you I consider my friends.  I’ll be meeting with some of you at Elliott Bay Brewing, across from the Burien Library/City Hall, at 255 S.W. 152nd, at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 7.  I’d welcome anyone else to drop by to say goodbye between 5 and 7 p.m. If you’re sure you’ll stop by, please RSVP by Wednesday, 5 p.m., so I can let the restaurant know what minimum number of people to expect.

I’ve enjoyed working with you and take heart in knowing you will continue our important work after I’ve moved north.

Dennis Clark

206-296-1909   additional contact information
Miller/Walker Creek Basin Steward
Miller/Walker Creeks Basin Stewardship