February 2016 Newsletter
Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed
Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 8

Partners gather at the Salmon Summit to review the last ten years and discuss what lies ahead

Summit tablesMore than 100 scientists, natural resource managers, restoration professionals, outreach and education practitioners, nonprofit partners, and elected officials from WRIA 8 converged on the Mountaineers Program Center in Seattle February 4 for the watershed's 2016 Salmon Summit. Participants celebrated the last decade of effort to recover Chinook salmon in WRIA 8, and learned about the newest research on local Chinook salmon, habitat protection and restoration projects, and the status of salmon recovery funding. The group also discussed priorities and strategies for the next ten years of salmon recovery, which will inform the 2016-17 update to the WRIA 8 Chinook Salmon Conservation Plan.

2016 Progress Report: Salmon and People Living Together: Adapting to Change in our WatershedThe Summit was also the setting for the release of the 2016 Progress Report: Salmon and People Living Together: Adapting to Change in our Watershed. View it online or email polly.freeman@kingcounty.gov to get your printed copy of the 24 page report, which details ten years of implementation of the WRIA 8 Salmon Conservation Plan: accomplishments, lessons learned, and challenges ahead.

Wayne Golf Course aerial photoDeal struck to buy Wayne Golf Course and protect 89 acres from development

The conservation group Forterra announced February 10 that it has arranged interim financing to buy the Wayne Golf Course along the Sammamish River. Advocates for open space and salmon habitat celebrated, as the "back nine" had been under threat of development. Forterra will work with citizen group OneBothell, the city of Bothell, King County and the state to raise the money needed to protect this land permanently.

Ballard Locks aerial photoCould the Locks withstand an earthquake?

For nearly 100 years, the Chittenden ("Ballard") Locks have drawn major boat traffic and millions of tourists. But as its centennial nears, the aged structure is also drawing the attention of engineers, who worry that an earthquake could cause the Locks to fail, stranding boats, disabling bridges, and creating big problems for salmon.

Chinook salmonObama proposes $65 million for PCSRF in 2017

Released in early February, the Obama Administration's FY 2017 funding proposal for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) includes $65 million in investments, the amount that was enacted for FY 2016. PCSRF helps fund the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, a critical source of dollars to restore and protect salmon habitat.

Wild roseBuy natives for the upcoming planting season!

Choose from native trees, shrubs, berries, and groundcovers for home landscapes or wildlife habitat through the King Conservation District's annual plant sale. Buy your plants on Saturday March 5 at the KCD offices in Renton. Sale starts at 10AM and is first come, first serve. Learn more at 2016 KCD Native Plant Sale or email shanna.hobbs@kingcd.org.

WDFW wants your feedback on the Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) Program

Chinook salmon

State law requires the WDFW (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) to review all proposed construction projects in or near water (like culverts, bridges, shoreline armoring, and docks) that can harm fish. The agency has made some changes and wants to know what's working and where the HPA Program can improve. Learn more from the brochure (pdf) and use the comment form to give your feedback until April 16.

How to talk about stormwater:

Check out this great video from Sightline Institute to learn the dos and don’ts of talking about polluted stormwater!!

In the news:

The decline of salmon runs to Lake Washington (in two parts)

Salmon runs have steadily declined  in Lake Washington for nearly 40 years, which has not escaped the notice of researchers, ecologists and environmentalists.

Kokanee returns the third highest in two decades
So far this year, the rare, fresh-water salmon are swimming back to their spawning grounds in Sammamish and Bellevue in solid numbers.

“Warm blob” in the Pacific Ocean has dissipated
The giant patch of warm water that persisted in the Northeast Pacific for two years – nicknamed “the Blob” – has finally broken up, at least for now.

Grant season is here!

Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) Competitive Grant
Submit a letter of interest by February 29 outlining your proposal to conserve, protect, enhance, and restore forests across Washington. Open to state and local agencies, Tribes, non-profits, and educational institutions, LSR projects may cross boundaries to affect any combination of federal, state, tribal, county, municipal, or private lands. For more information, visit the Washington State DNR website.

Conservation Futures Tax Levy (CFT) funds
City parks directors and administrators in King County are invited to apply for over $9 million of 2017 Conservation Futures tax levy ("CFT") funds, available each year to buy public open space lands. Applications are due March 9. Funds, which must be matched, will be available January 2017. For an application and more information, call or email David Tiemann at 206-477-4836 or david.tiemann@kingcounty.gov.

Healthy Watershed Consortium Grants
Apply by March 14
to The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities’ program to promote and enhance healthy freshwater ecosystems. Grants could be used to build organizational infrastructure or fund key projects identified in watershed plans. For more information, visit Healthy Watersheds Consortium website.

Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Funding
The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Restoration Center is now soliciting applications for habitat-based projects that help recover Endangered Species Act-listed species and rebuild sustainable fish populations or their prey – in the Northwest, especially those aimed at recovering salmon in Puget Sound. Applications are due April 6. Learn more here or from Polly Hicks at polly.hicks@noaa.gov or 206-526-4861.

Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account
Land and Water Conservation Fund
Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation office (RCO) will open online applications March 1 for these important grant programs that can aid salmon recovery. They can provide funds to buy or create salmon habitat, restore riparian areas, and/or replace fish passage barriers. Applications are due May 2. Learn more from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office website.

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants
These grants will be offered for FY 2017 to acquire, restore, and enhance coastal wetlands. While these U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) funds will be made to state agencies (Ecology in Washington), partnerships are encouraged with Tribes, federal agencies, other state agencies, non‐profits, local governments and others. Final applications are due June 29, but Ecology and USFWS will work with potential applicants to develop projects now. Refer to the USFWS Notice of Funding Opportunity for FY 2017 (pdf) or contact Heather Kapust at 360-407-0239 or heather.kapust@ecy.wa.gov.

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 linda.grob@kingcounty.gov.