Still Waters run deep | Choices for the Future

“still waters run deep” — proverb: a quiet or placid manner may conceal a more passionate nature.

Very soon, the second phase of the Carpenter Creek Estuary Restoration Project will be under way.

The removal of the existing culvert and the construction of a new bridge will be an inconvenience for a period of time to those of us who routinely use the western stretch of West Kingston Road.

It will also be a major step toward restoring the natural tidal hydrology of the salt marsh and estuary — the still waters between Carpenter Creek and Appletree Cove.

Joleen Palmer, Stillwaters’ co-founder and program director, explains how estuaries are an important part of the aquatic food web.

“The small pocket estuaries that dot the east side of the Kitsap Peninsula, like our estuary, provide critical rearing habitat for juvenile salmon and all aquatic life. They provide an abundance of food and provide protection from predators.

“They are the nurseries of the Sound, helping the small fish to grow strong before they head to the ocean. As our friend, Paul Dorn, says often, ‘If you’re a little fish, you’ve got to grow big fast!’ ”

The work of Stillwaters Environmental Center reflects our passion for natural life-supporting ecological systems. We strive to reveal the importance of our region’s numerous small and still waterways — specifically lowland streams and estuaries.

In addition to driving the Carpenter Creek Estuary Restoration Project since 2000, resulting in two culvert replacements in 2012 and 2017, we train citizen scientists and manage the data gathered by monitors, we inspire future generations of scientists through camps and internships, and we offer a variety of community educational opportunities for neighbors, shoreline landowners, and schools.

When you think of the Stillwaters Environmental Center, think of the critical functions served by our wetlands, marshes, and other still waters of our region. Think also of the passionate and dedicated staff, volunteers, and partner organizations who have supported our broad-based environmental work since 1999.

Understanding and protecting the health of our water resources and fisheries will continue to be as important, if not more so, into the future.

— Beth Berglund has an MBA in sustainable systems at Pinchot University and is a former Hampton Borough, New Jersey, council member. She lives in Gamblewood and advocates for “the emerging regenerative economy and resilient local communities.”