What’s New in the Snoqualmie Watershed

Hike with a purpose – become a weed watcher!

If it drives you crazy to see invasive weeds while you are out hiking, then weed watching is for you! Invasive plants can do serious harm to forests and alpine plant communities. Public land managers such as the US Forest Service, Washington DNR and Washington State Parks are all incredibly short-staffed, especially when it comes to tracking down and controlling invasive plants in remote wilderness areas. They need your help to find new infestations so they can stop them while they are still manageable.

There are two training classes for trail weed watchers being offered in 2018 in King County:

May 7, 6:00-8:30 pm, Mountaineers, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA 98115

June 3, 12:30-4:30 pm, Snoqualmie District Ranger Station, Conference Hall (behind Ranger Station), 902 SE North Bend Way, North Bend, WA 98045

You can learn more and sign up online or email Sasha Shaw for more information.

The workshops are a joint effort of King County Noxious Weeds and the Pacific Northwest Invasive Plant Council (PNW-IPC), through their Citizen Science EDRR Program.


UW Forestry students help King County Parks

King County Parks and the University of Washington’s School of the Environment and Forest Science (SEFS) have just begun the 5th year of a highly successful partnership in which students prepare forest stewardship plans for King County Parks’ sites. Students receive extensive experience with field inventory work, forest data collection and analysis, forest management plan writing, client interactions, and professional presentation skills. This spring, students will develop forest stewardship plans for the 574-acre Tolt MacDonald Park and 372-acre Moss Lake Natural Area, and complete a forest assessment of the 276-acre Tolt River Natural Area. The work helps King County Parks meet forest stewardship goals identified in the county’s Strategic Climate Action Plan. This year’s class of students will continue to develop the use of LiDAR metrics — a remote sensing method which generates precise, three-dimensional information about land surface characteristics — to classify forest structure, determine forest biomass and carbon storage and other forest metrics over large landscapes within King County.

For information, please contact David Kimmett.


Freshwater mussel best management practices

Freshwater mussels are among the most imperiled species in North America. Xerces Society has compiled a guide for freshwater mussel best management practices. Please email to obtain a printed version. A companion handbook is coming soon in 2018 to provide a condensed, field-ready summary of the guidelines.

There are three species of freshwater mussels in western Washington, and all can be found living in the gravels of clean streams. In the Snoqualmie Valley, Stossel Creek is known to have freshwater mussels.


Benefits of natural hazard mitigation

The National Institute of Building Sciences analyzed 23 years of federal grants and found an overall national benefit of $6 for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation for a variety of hazards, including riverine floods, earthquakes, forest fires, and wind. Read the full report and factsheets.


Elizabeth Wing’s 3rd grade class and the Snoqualmie Stewardship team after rain garden install. Photo: Carol Ladwig, Snoqualmie Valley Record

Local organizations work with Carnation Elementary School 3rd graders to design and install rain garden

In partnership with the Snoqualmie Tribe and Aspect Consulting, Stewardship Partners and Carnation Elementary School 3rd graders designed and installed a rain garden at their school earlier this year. The project was funded by a King County Flood Control District’s Flood Reduction grant. After installing the rain garden, the students joined Stewardship Partners and Nature Vision at Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center to learn about water quality, riparian habitat and plant native trees along the Snoqualmie River. 3rd Grade Teacher Elizabeth Wing said the “students see themselves as citizen scientists with powerful voices.” Learn more about volunteer opportunities with Stewardship Partners.


Climate-Adapted reforestation along Stossel Creek

The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, in partnership with Seattle City Light and the Northwest Natural Resource Group, will undertake a climate-adapted restoration project on a 154-acre parcel of land northeast of Carnation in the Tolt Watershed that was purchased by the City of Seattle in 2015 through City Light’s Endangered Species Act Early Action Plan. This effort is made possible by a $140,000 grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) through its Climate Adaptation Fund, a program that is supported and established by a grant to WCS from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. See a blog on the project and a press release.

For more information, please contact Denise Krownbell at Seattle City Light, or Lisa Nelson at Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.


Funding opportunities:

King County Flood Control District – Flood Reduction Grant deadline May 25, 2018

The King County Flood Control District is accepting applications for Flood Reduction Grants through May 25, 2018. Proposals should target medium and small local flood reduction projects, including projects where the control of stormwater will have a direct benefit in reducing flooding. Projects can address either existing or potential flooding, and proposals should show that the flooding has current or potential economic impacts. For more information about eligibility and the application process, please see the Flood Control District’s website.


Summer traffic advisories:

Tolt Pipeline Protection Project / Winkelman Revetment Reconstruction Project – King County is rebuilding 1,200 feet of failed rock armoring along the Snoqualmie River that protects the Tolt River pipeline, which provides Seattle and surrounding communities with water. A failed culvert at Deer Creek will also be replaced and the stream channel will be rerouted to improve flood protection, drainage for nearby farms, aquatic habitat, and fish passage. Project construction will begin in mid-June 2018 and extend through early October 2018. Expect construction traffic on NE 124th St between SR 203 (Carnation-Duvall Road) and West Snoqualmie Valley Road NE. Postcards will be mailed out to nearby residents with more information.


In the news:

Puget Sound salmon do drugs, which may hurt their survival: Researchers have found Puget Sound Chinook are picking up our drugs as they swim through effluent of wastewater-treatment plants, and it may be hurting their survival. Studies show the exposure to contaminants can stunt growth rates and disrupt metabolism of juvenile Chinook.

Fish council okays sharp cut in sport Chinook harvest off Washington: The Pacific Fishery Management Council approved a measure to cap Chinook harvest for recreational fishermen off Washington’s coasts at 27,500 fish, nearly 40% less than last year. Warmer ocean temperatures in 2015 and 2016 reduced survival rates for juvenile Chinook.

This Is Why You Don’t See People-Sized Salmon Anymore: NPR reports that Chinook salmon have been shrinking in number and size over the last century as a result of dams, overfishing, habitat loss, impacts of hatcheries, and predators. More fish are coming back from the ocean earlier, and fewer fish are making it to old age as Orcas tend to prey on the older and larger fish. While the Puget Sound Orca population is struggling, the Alaskan population is increasing quickly, and they’re eating Chinook from all over the NE Pacific Ocean.

Connelly: Snohomish PUD withdraws proposed Skykomish River hydro project: Snohomish County Public Utility District commissioners agreed to cancel the Sunset Falls Hydropower project on the South Fork Skykomish River. The project would have rerouted a 1.1 mile stretch of the river through an underground tunnel, and it was opposed by environmental and fisheries groups, as the river currently supports Chinook, Steelhead, and other salmonid runs.

Global temperature analyses show 2017 was one of the warmest years on record, behind 2016:

Seattle area is seeing more intense and frequent rain events:

Environmental impact of salmon decline: This isn’t just about fish: More than 135 other fish and wildlife populations benefit from the presence of salmon and steelhead, as nutrients get recycled during the spawning process.

Tim Eyman withdraws referendums seeking vote on Atlantic salmon net-pen ban: Eyman withdrew the two referendum petitions that would have put HB 2957 to a public vote. Governor Jay Inslee signed HB 2957 into law on March 22, phasing out open-water Atlantic salmon net pens in Washington by 2025.

Supreme Court hearing on fish passage barriers

Supreme Court showdown: Washington’s attorney general vs. tribes over salmon habitat: The Supreme Court heard arguments from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and tribes on Wednesday, April 18 on the issue of road culverts that block salmon passage.

On salmon, the tribes should beat Washington at the Supreme Court: Dow Constantine, King County Executive, urges the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the tribes in the case on fish passage barriers.


And, as always, remember that the beautiful "From Mt. Si to Wild Sky" watershed posters — featuring the photography of talented Valley residents — are available FREE from Maureen Dahlstrom or by calling (206) 477-4777.


The Snoqualmie Watershed Forum works to protect and restore the health of the SF Skykomish and Snoqualmie Watersheds in harmony with the cultural and community needs of the Valley. For more information visit our Web site at: http://www.govlink.org/watersheds/7/.

If you would like to be added or removed from the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum mailing list, or if you would like to submit an item for inclusion in the next Snoqualmie Watershed Forum e-newsletter, please contact Laura West.

Funding for this publication is provided by King County Flood Control District.