September 2015 Newsletter
Snoqualmie Watershed Forum

Summer drought conditions threaten local salmon populations

Summer drought conditions threaten local salmon populations
Snoqualmie River 8/23/15 looking north toward Woodinville-Duvall Bridge. Photo by Jason Walker

As most fish folks know, our region's all-time driest May-July, along with unprecedented hot temperatures, warmed local rivers and streams and lowered flows to a point that threatened the ability of salmon to reach their spawning habitat in the Snoqualmie Valley and across the region. While recent rains and cooler temperatures brought some welcome relief, conditions have been very tough for salmon in recent months and could also be a glimpse of conditions Northwest salmon may face into the future.



Puget Sound cities have reduced water use 10% — let’s keep it up!

Puget Sound cities have reduced water use 10%  let’s keep it up!

On August 11 -- shortly after the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum wrote Seattle Public Utilities a letter expressing concern about water level and temperatures in the Tolt and the Snoqualmie -- Everett, Seattle and Tacoma together moved to the second stage of water shortage response, asking customers to reduce water use voluntarily by 10%. Collectively, the customers of the three cities have achieved this goal as of late August. Keep up the good work by following these tips.



Snoqualmie Watershed staff working to document conditions
Cherry Creek water level on 7/3/15

Snoqualmie Watershed staff working to document conditions

To document this year’s extreme conditions, Snoqualmie Technical Coordinator Beth leDoux has been leading field work to research water temperatures in the watershed, with lots of help from Josh Kubo and Dan Smith of King County’s WLRD’s Science Section. As Beth says, “It has been an extraordinary year for flows and temperatures on the Snoqualmie and its tributaries. We have seen record low flows with alarmingly high water temperatures. While temperatures are decreasing and flows are coming up, we won’t know the full effects of a year like this on our salmon populations for some time.” Oxbow Farm published a great article on their blog about this work.



Help fish survive this fall! Report problems to WDFW

Despite the rains, our fish still need help this fall! Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife asks that people report fish blockages, fish stranding, or fish in distress to WDFW or 1-877-933-9847. Or report online. See information about the drought's impacts on fish. And read WDFW’s brochure about helping fish survive the drought.



Drought relief money available across the state

With a $16 million appropriation from the Legislature, the Washington Department of Ecology is accepting grant applications for public projects to help support projects that ensure reliable public water supplies, augment water supplies for farmers, and rescue or preserve fish runs in streams. Some projects have already been awarded funds. See more on the Washington Drought 2015 webpage.



Weekly summaries of flow and temperature data available from King County

King County staff are producing weekly summaries of flow and temperature data in King County rivers and streams (compared with historical data for context) as this hot dry summer continues. Here is the information from the week of August 31-September 6.. To receive these updates, contact Jim Simmonds or Curtis DeGasperi at King County.


The Snoqualmie Watershed Forum works to protect and restore the health of the Snoqualmie Watershed 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 this mailing list, or if you would like to submit an item for inclusion in the next Snoqualmie Watershed Forum e-newsletter, please send an email to maureen.dahlstrom@kingcounty.gov or call 206-477-4777.

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


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.

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 Maureen Dahlstrom.

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