August 2019 Newsletter
Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed
Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 8

It's Salmon SEEson Again!

The 13th annual Salmon SEEson program will run from late August through November, promoting salmon viewing opportunities for the public around the watershed and broader region. WRIA 8 coordinates Salmon SEESon, and receives sponsorship from the Saving Water Partnership, as well as King County, Duwamish Alive, the Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed (WRIA 9), and the Snoqualmie/Skykomish Watershed. Check out the Salmon SEEson website for more information on viewing locations! The Salmon SEEson graphics are a finalist in the 3CMA City-County Communications and Marketing Association's 2019 Savvy Awards Competition and up for award in the Graphic Design-Art category.

Washington Representatives Co-Sponsor Puget SOS Bill

Washington State Representatives are co-sponsors on House Bill 2447, the Promoting United Government Efforts to Save our Sound (PUGET SOS) Act. Many partners in Puget Sound recovery, representing local governments, community organizations, business, and private citizens, recently signed onto a Puget Sound Partnership letter of support for the bill, prior to review by the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The bill authorizes Puget Sound to receive up to $50 million per year in federal funds, codifies the Puget Sound Federal Task Force to implement the Puget Sound Action Agenda, and establishes a Program Office in the Environmental Protection Agency. Supporting passage of the PUGET SOS Act is one of WRIA 8's 2020 federal legislative priorities.

King County Study Looking at Effect of Sedimentation on Kokanee Spawning

King County is studying the effect of sedimentation in Kokanee spawning beds in four streams that feed into Lake Sammamish. When fine sediments deposit on and around the gravel where Kokanee eggs incubate, this can suffocate the eggs and possibly trap the young trying to emerge. Studies are lacking on this subject, and King County wants to ensure that kokanee have ample, healthy spawning habitat in Lake Sammamish streams and improve habitat conditions if need be.

Environmental Science Center's STREAM Team Offers Hands-On Learning Opportunities

WRIA 8 Partner, Environmental Science Center, runs STREAM team, an after-school and summer program launched by the City of Renton. STREAM Team brings technology education, environmental science, and Spanish language and culture enrichment under one roof, rounding out the recreation and enrichment activities available from the City of Renton. In this photo, with Larry Reymann, a Volunteer Educator, and King County Executive Dow Constantine's help, the kids were learning about rainwater runoff and how pollutants on land eventually end up in the Puget Sound.

Students Enrolled in Community Action Training School

Twenty students (age range 13-80) are enrolled in the Community Action Training School organized by Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group and Sound Salmon Solutions this summer. The course offers students a chance to learn from expert speakers and field trips free of charge, in exchange for 50 volunteer hours implementing a stewardship action project of their design. Students have learned about the history of our watersheds, tribal management of natural resources, food chain dynamics, water quality, and so much more. Check out the Mid Sound Fisheries Facebook page for posts about the Community Action Training School and more happenings with Mid Sound Fisheries!

Draft VISION 2050 Plan Now Available for Public Review

The Puget Sound Regional Council wants to hear your thoughts about the draft VISION 2050 plan. Forecasts show the region needs to plan for another 1.8 million people, reaching a population of 5.8 million by 2050. VISION 2050 is the regional guide for how this growth can support thriving communities, a strong economy and a healthy environment. The draft plan contains the region's multicounty planning policies and actions and a regional strategy for how and where we grow through 2050. The public comment period will run through Monday, September 16, 2019 at 5 pm.

King County's Land Conservation Initiative Accelerates Protection of Open Space

King County and cities are seeking to invest up to $63.8 million for 61 open space projects in 2019 and early 2019, tripling the amount of funding from 2018. Many of these investments would go to acquisitions in the Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed. Launched by King County Executive Dow Constantine in 2018, the Land Conservation Initiative is a plan for the county and its cities to protect the highest conservation value open space within a single generation before the opportunity is lost due to population growth and development pressure.

New Study Shows Non-Market Benefits of Early and Partial Gains in Managing Threatened Salmon

Researchers surveyed residents in the Pacific Northwest to understand whether the public places economic value on salmon recovery efforts that lead to a gain in species abundance, but fall short of a 'recovered' designation, and whether there is additional public benefit from accelerated investment. The study found that salmon recovery can generate benefits of up to $518 million/year for an extra 100,000 returning fish, even if the species is not officially declared recovered. The study also found that the public attaches an additional value of up to $277 million/year for achieving conservation goals quickly.

Orca Update

Photo: Holly Fearnbach, NOAA

Three adult Southern Resident Orcas are missing and presumed dead, dropping the current population to 73. In better news, both new calves are still alive and all three Southern Resident pods have been spotted, after an unprecedented two-month absence from their normal summer habitat in the Salish Sea. You can take action by using non-toxic chemicals in your home and on your yards, fixing vehicle leaks, and letting your representatives know how important recovering orcas and salmon is to you.

Funding opportunities

Puget Sound Stewardship & Mitigation Fund
The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment is accepting proposals for the Fall 2019 Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund. The Fund's goal is to mitigate past pollution runoff by supporting community-based efforts to protect or improve the water quality of Puget Sound. Applications are due September 20, 2019.

Grassroots Fisheries Habitat Improvement Projects
The FishAmerica Foundation is soliciting projects from grassroots, nonprofit organizations conducting projects designed to improve sport fish populations, aquatic habitat, or water quality. Applications are due September 30, 2019.

Department of Ecology Water Quality Financial Assistance
Ecology's Water Quality Combined Funding Program provides funding to projects that improve and protect water quality throughout Washington. Funding guidelines are available, and the deadline to apply is October 15.

Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, State and Private Forestry, and Cooperative Forestry staff, are requesting applications for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program. The purpose of the program is to establish community forests by protecting forest land from conversion to non-forest uses and provide community benefits such as sustainable forest management, environmental benefits including clean air, water, and wildlife habitat; benefits from forest-based educational programs; benefits from serving as models of effective forest stewardship; and recreational benefits secured with public access. Applications are due January 6, 2020.

Events, Workshops, and Conferences

Our Land Our Water: Stream Stewardship and Restoration Tour — September 28 (Renton)
King Conservation District is offering a training and restoration site tour for residents with streamside, lake, or wetland property owners on September 28 in Renton. Learn how to minimize pollution runoff, control invasive weeds, utilize native plants, and practice natural yard care. Register on Eventbrite for the Renton workshop.

Stories of Our Watersheds at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum — October 3
The 6th Annual River Restoration Film event, Stories of Our Watersheds, will be shown at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum on Thursday, October 3. Eleven short films have been selected that celebrate we experience and sustain our watersheds from the rivers and forests of the Pacific Northwest to the freshwater shrimp of Puerto Rico. Tickets can be found on Brown Paper Tickets.

Salmon in the news

Photo: Geoff Clayton

Restoring salmon runs, not politics, will save southern resident killer whales
Ken Balcomb, a member of the Governor's Orca Task Force and researcher of the southern residents since 1976, calls for the recovery of natural wild runs of Chinook as soon as possible.

'Slowly slipping away.' Fewest sockeye salmon ever counted at Ballard Locks
As of early August, 17,000 sockeye had returned to the Ballard Locks from the ocean, compared to hundreds of thousands at their peak years. Young sockeye encounter increasingly hungrier predators on their way out to the ocean and varying ocean conditions once they're there.

The great salmon mystery: Scientists go to unprecedented lengths to find out where chinook go
Scientists are using receivers, tags, and satellites to track a few hundred salmon off the coast of Washington to better understand the movement of salmon and the endangered southern resident orcas. Previous tracking methods have required the tagged fish to be caught and left a gap in data from the time the fish was tagged to when it was caught.

Pink salmon numbers may threaten other North Pacific species
Scientists warn that pink salmon, who are abundant in odd-numbered years and less abundant in even-numbered years, are thriving at the expense of sockeye, seabirds, and other species with overlapping diets. A 2018 estimated that pink salmon make up 67% of the 665 million adult salmon in the North Pacific.

Op-Eds on Hatcheries

Alaska's nonprofit hatcheries give us hope for Washington's salmon runs
Three Washington State Congresswomen recommend piloting non-profit fish hatcheries, modeled after those in Alaska, with the goal of augmenting wild stocks of salmon.

The Alaska hatcheries model is not for Washington
Ray Hilborn, professor at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, argues that the 300 hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest have not maintained nor rebuilt our salmon runs. Dr. Hilborn states that the revival of Alaskan salmon runs were due to good management of wild stocks, not hatcheries.

Chinook salmon (also known as king salmon) are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In WRIA 8, citizens, scientists, businesses, environmental and community organizations, and local, state and federal governments are cooperating on protection and restoration projects and have developed a science-based plan to conserve salmon today and for future generations. Funding for the salmon conservation plan is provided by 28 local governments in the watershed. For more information visit our website at

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