Patrick Robinson
Mark Powell came ashore after completing the last leg of his swim of the Duwamish River, greeted by his son Carson who waded in to give his dad a high five. Powell, who is Washington Environmental Council’s Puget Sound Program Director made the swim to highlight the need to protect and restore the environment .

'The Duwamish is Alive' proclaims Mark Powell after swimming 55 miles of the river

Mark Powell, Washington Environmental Council’s Puget Sound Program Director, came ashore at Seacrest Park on Harbor Ave SW Sept. 30 concluding a multi part swim of the entire 85 miles of the Green-Duwamish River – from its headwaters at the crest of the Cascade Range, down to the tidewater in West Seattle. He skipped a few spots but still completed more than 55 miles of swimming and made some observations along the way.

"I set out with the idea that i would hope I would find the heart of the Duwamish River and I think I succeeded. I saw thousands of wild Pink Salmon swimming up the river." He said the fish were so thick and so close, "I reached out and touched a salmon with my hand....I have never seen so many salmon except in videos taken in Alaska."

He did see some troubling sights along the way, noting the well known pollution problems and some places where polluted water still pours into the river. "But the surprising thing to me is that healthy wild salmon run and that to me is the heart of the river."

The goal of his effort has been helping people understand the connection between the health of the Duwamish and the health of Puget Sound – and that neither the Duwamish nor Puget Sound will be cleaned up until we halt the flow of polluted stormwater runoff.

Powell was accompanied on his final leg of the journey by a canoe, the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance boat, and kayakers.

More information available at:
Follow Powell’s swim on social media at and

Many of Powell’s stops during his journey were to locations where King County and Seattle are working to clean up the river, control new pollution sources and restore fish and wildlife habitat as part of the Green Duwamish Watershed Strategy to improve conditions throughout the 500-square-mile watershed.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.