June 2021 Newsletter
Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed
Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 8

Lakeside Industries proposed parcel along Renton-Maple Valley Road Photo: Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times

Decision on controversial Cedar River asphalt plant looms

King County Department of Local Services is set to decide on whether or not to approve permits for a proposed asphalt plant along the Cedar River. Amid years of moratoriums, delays, and community opposition, Lakeside Industries is proposing to develop a 25-acre parcel into an asphalt plant along the Cedar River, adjacent to the Cedar Grove Natural Area in Maple Valley Heights.

Conservation efforts by King County in partnership with several organizations has spent millions in river and riparian restoration to return much needed habitat for Chinook salmon and other species.

This has been a contentious 13-year development project with opposition from many groups and local community members.

Read full Seattle Times article.

Culvert hunters work to eliminate fish barriers in King County

Ben Gregory, King County engineer peering into a culvert Photo: Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times

When we see orange safety vests working on the side of the road, it is natural to assume they are busy with road construction. However, King County engineers don this gear to locate blockages that impair fish passage. This recent article highlights the important work to locate culverts and other fish passage blockages as part of King County's Clean Water Healthy Habitat initiative to help bolster the declining salmon and orca populations. Since 2019, this effort has identified 684 barriers to fish passage, 376 of which are completely blocked.

Read full Seattle Times article

Puyallup Tribe biologist Eric Marks pulls artificial turf from the Puyallup River on May 3 — months after last summer's spill by Electron Hydro LLC Photo: Courtesy of Puyallup Tribe

Electron Hydro fined $501,000 for artificial turf placed in the Puyallup River

Last summer, Electron Hydro, LLC used artificial turf to line a bypass channel to divert river flow during a construction project. The turf and its crumb rubber, toxic to fish and other marine life, were found 21 miles downstream. The Washington Department of Ecology issued the fine for the unpermitted use of the material.

See the Seattle Times article.

Beaver crossing a stream holding a stick in its mouth. Photo: Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times

The benefit of beavers to combat climate change

Beavers can play a valuable role in salmon habitat conservation and help address impacts from climate change. Once prized for their pelts, beavers are now in demand for their natural ability to create wetlands, store and cool water that bring much needed habitat for juvenile salmon, insects and other woodland creatures. Landowners and farmers are learning to coexist with beavers. The beaver population was on the decline until 2000, when trapping was prohibited. Now their population is thriving.

Read more.

The National Bison Range in Montana, now managed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Photo: Dave Fitzpatrick / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

How giving Indigenous Tribes their land back helps protect nature

Co-management by Indigenous and government agencies has a long history that has benefitted land and wildlife resources. The use of Indigenous management approaches developed over many centuries—formally called Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)—is increasingly seen by conservationists as synergistic with protecting biodiversity and managing landscapes and natural resources.

Read full YaleEnvironment 360 article.

Saving Salmon Students standing on a bridge above Shell Creek Photo: Larry Vogel / My Edmonds News

Salmon in the news

Edmonds students release salmon in local stream
Edmonds-Woodway and Meadowdale High Schools Students Saving Salmon Club released coho from the Willow Creek Hatchery into upper Shell Creek to help salmon passage blocked by barriers and sediment flow. Each student carried a bucket containing about 250 fry to Shell Creek where there will be lots of food to forage before they journey to the sea. Read full article.

City of Bellevue's Watershed Management Plan
The City of Bellevue is developing a 20-year plan to restore health to Bellevue's streams. Starting this summer, the City will seek public input for the "Our Streams, Our Future," plan, also known as the Bellevue Watershed Management Plan. This four category program will help mitigate the impact of rain falling over hard surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, streets, highways and parking lots which picks up pollutants like fertilizers, soap, oil and dirt that pour polluted stormwater flows into Bellevue's storm drains, and can harm streams, lakes and wetlands. Learn more about the Watershed Management Plan.

Making stormwater ponds smarter: Redmond's Continuous Monitoring Adaptive Control (CMAC) pilot project

American River at Sailor Bar, Fair Oaks, California

The City of Redmond recently installed a pilot project testing an innovative stormwater management technology to protect habitat in a local stream. Continuous Monitoring Adaptive Control (CMAC) systems use the existing footprint of stormwater detention ponds and vaults and an interactive, cloud-based software system to better control how water flows from stormwater facilities to natural waterways.

The City placed "Opti" CMAC systems at two stormwater ponds in Redmond's Monticello Watershed. Control panels constantly monitor conditions in the ponds and send messages the software which communicates back to the control panels to open and close an adjustable valve placed on the ponds' outlet structures.

View the presentation on this project.

F.I.S.H provides distance learning opportunities to learn about Kokanee
Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) provided virtual learning for students on Lake Sammamish Kokanee. Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, students were not allowed to attend this session in person. Master docent, Grace Reamer performed a dissection on camera for the students while providing important information on kokanee. Learn more.

Eurasian watermilfoil Photo: courtesy of kingcounty.gov via Issaquah Reporter

Lake Sammamish Milfoil study
This summer Trout Unlimited will conduct a milfoil study in Lake Sammamish that could benefit kokanee and other salmon. The study will determine if control of invasive milfoil in the lake can reduce the abundance of non-native predators which impact native salmon populations. The study is funded by King County with support from Councilmember Claudia Balducci's office. See full story.

KBTC video series on Creosote
Northwest Now produced this educational video titled Picking Up the Past which focused on creosote-treated wood. The Aquatic Restoration Program has been removing creosote-treated pilings and creosote-treated debris off of Puget Sound shorelines for over 18 years. This program shows how Marine Debris Removal crews work to remove creosote debris by hand from sensitive shorelines. See the video and more.

Regional Stormwater Summit - Aligning Across Watersheds
King County hosted a two-day Regional Stormwater Summit in late May to discuss potential ways of managing water differently, making more effective and efficient investments, and to achieve the most important outcomes, such as increased salmon and orca populations. Here are links to the Summit's plenary sessions and panel discussions. View sessions by the day. View summit presentations day one. View summit presentations day two.

Funding opportunities and announcements

Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Competitive Grant Pilot Program: Ecology is piloting a new competitive grant program. The SMP Competitive Grant Program will support shoreline planning and planning-related efforts that advance climate resilience, enhance the implementation of SMPs, and progress local shoreline planning priorities. Washington counties, cities, and towns with a Shoreline Master Program are eligible to apply. Eligible local governments may submit up to two applications. Applicants will need a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account to apply. Sign up today!

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 www.govlink.org/watersheds/8/.

If you would like to submit an item for inclusion in the next WRIA 8 e-newsletter, please email Jason.Mulvihill-Kuntz@kingcounty.gov.