Margaret Pageler - Leadership in water and environmental sustainability
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... Salmon Recovery and Water Resource Management

Water Conservation. As chair of the City Council Utilities Committee in 1996, Margaret commissioned a Water Conservation Potential Assessment which identified 30 mgd of cost-effective water conservation in Seattle’s water service area. This analysis served as the basis for the 1% program – a commitment to conserve 1% per person per year for ten years – which Margaret worked to have adopted by most of the water utilities in the metropolitan region. In the Seattle system alone, we’ve had 20% population growth but are using less water than we did in the 1960’s!

Planting near the water
Planting near the water

Salmon Friendly Gardening.” Engaging home gardeners in salmon-friendly lawn care, pesticide reduction, soil replenishment, and appropriate water-side plantings has multiple environmental benefits. It was Margaret’s idea and leadership that produced a design charette, followed by model gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, colorful brochures in nurseries and garden stores, and a shift in regional standards.

Creek Restoration. Seattle’s stream and estuary restoration projects combine flood control, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, citizen volunteerism, public art and education. Margaret Pageler has worked as a volunteer, an advocate, a funder, and a policy-maker. In creeks and waterways all over the city her leadership has made a difference – Meadowbrook Pond, Fauntleroy Fish Passage, Deadhorse Canyon, Longfellow Creek, the Seaboard Lumber site and more.

Margaret at the watershed
At the Cedar River Watershed

Cedar River Watershed. The Cedar River Watershed is a precious heritage that merits thoughtful, balanced, science-based management. As Utilities Committee chair, Margaret Pageler sponsored development of a comprehensive watershed plan to protect both the bull trout in Chester Morse Lake and anadramous fish below Landsburg, while providing ample, reliable stream flows for both people and fish. So far the plan has succeeded spectacularly. She championed construction of the Watershed Education Center. She fought the snafus that delayed construction of Chinook fish passage at Landsburg Dam. Seventeen miles of new Chinook habitat will open this September when she cuts the ribbon on the Landsburg fish ladder.

Margaret releasing salmon
Margaret releasing salmon

Salmon Recovery. In the Seattle metropolitan area, multiple local governments that have not traditionally worked together are now focused on producing integrated and strategic watershed action plans to recover salmon runs. In the first months after the announced ESA listing of Chinook salmon, it became apparent that neither the state nor federal agencies would provide leadership or funding for salmon restoration. Margaret believed we could develop interlocal agreements to fund salmon recovery plans and projects in the Seattle area. She worked long hours in strategic meetings developing consensus among the various constituencies and jurisdictions touching on our watersheds. In 2001, the Municipal League awarded Margaret its James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award in recognition of her success in securing 100% participation of cities and counties in the watershed planning agreements for our region. At the International Water Association in Berlin that year, Margaret presented a paper comparing the integrated water resource management we are achieving in the Seattle area with the scheme envisioned in the European framework directive.

Water for People and Fish. Margaret Pageler envisioned and helped launch integrated regional water supply planning for the Central Puget Sound metropolitan area four years ago. She convened the first meetings of water supply utilities from Tacoma to Everett that are now linked in a strategic web that will evolve to provide efficient, reliable water service while promoting conservation and protecting fish.


Margaret Pageler.

Margaret Pageler