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

Limited fishing permitted this summer around Puget Sound

Salmon fishing on Puget SoundAfter weeks of negotiations, state and tribal fishery managers agreed on May 26 to Puget Sound salmon fishing seasons for 2016. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and tribes are working to get a joint federal permit required to fish in Puget Sound waters, where some stocks are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. After the state and tribes failed to reach an agreement by their usual mid-April deadline, WDFW closed many Puget Sound-area waters (and Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish) to fishing on May 1. State fishery managers say they will re-open some of these waters as soon as they have federal approval to do so-- likely by mid-June.

Check the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife's Puget Sound-area Fishing Seasons Update and learn more from the Skagit Valley Herald.

River users should steer clear of Cedar River logjams

Tree spanning the Cedar RiverThe King County Sheriff’s Office is warning recreational river users to avoid the Cedar River from Maple Valley to Renton where about 12 logjams pose a serious risk to anyone attempting to navigate this ten-mile stretch of river. Sign up to get notifications of river hazards or get more information from King County's river hazards website.

While logjams can sometimes pose safety hazards to recreational boaters, increasing large wood in the river is important to successful restoration of salmon habitat in the Cedar. To learn more about how large wood is used in habitat restoration and flood risk reduction projects, read this Third-Party Review of Projects Involving Large Wood Emplacements, completed in December 2015 (start with the Executive Summary). The study evaluates four completed projects that used large wood and their effectiveness in meeting their goals and considering public safety. Projects include the Belmondo Revetment Enhancement and the Herzman Levee Repair on the Cedar River.

How are summer conditions shaping up for salmon in our watershed?

Masonry Pool Reservoir, summer 2015 (City of Seattle)

The winter’s significant snowpack has melted out rapidly. The Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) notes that rain-fed basins on the west side of the state are particularly affected by our dry spring.  NOAA expects higher than normal temperatures for the Northwest over the next three months, though not necessarily drought conditions, and some forecasters say the onset of La Nina may moderate late summer temperatures. There are no immediate concerns with Seattle’s water supply, though continued hot, dry weather could change the situation. A useful source for current water supply information is Seattle Public Utilities’ Current Water Supply Conditions and Outlook.

KokaneeSockeye in Cottage Creek 2007

At the websites below you can check for information on watershed conditions as the summer progresses. Remember that low flows and high water temperatures can affect salmon even if there is not a declared drought. And using water wisely is always a good idea to help fish!

Armored shorelineShoreline armoring study reveals cumulative effects on Puget Sound ecosystem

A comprehensive new University of Washington study of shoreline armoring around Puget Sound shows that impacts at individual armored sites can have cumulative effects on Salish Sea shorelines and the life they support. Read about the study at the University of Washington website.

Weigh in on the first-ever national permit for living shorelines

In related news, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released for public comment its first-ever national permit for living shorelines, which may help speed up the permitting process for these green or “softer” shoreline approaches. Some observers note that the permit emphasizes shoreline treatments that may be more appropriate to East Coast shorelines than Puget Sound shorelines, like mid intertidal rock structures to create marsh habitat. Learn more and submit comments to ensure the permit reflects approaches that could benefit Puget Sound by visiting Coastal Review Online.

Pacific Northwest Magazine features green shoreline restoration on Lake Washington

Many impacts from hardened shorelines are relevant to lakeshores as well, and of course Lake Washington and Sammamish shorelines are critical habitat for juvenile Chinook. Recently Pacific Northwest Magazine featured a shoreline home whose owners removed a bulkhead and created a more natural, wildlife-friendly shore. The site now serves as a pilot for the Green Shores for Homes program. Read the article, How a lakefront home’s shoreline was restored to make a home for wildlife, too on the Seattle Times website.

Reports available on fish use of restoration project sites in Lake Washington

South Lake WashingtonRestoration monitoring reports for Lake Washington restoration projects are now available on the WRIA 8 website under “Studies, Technical Reports and Presentations.” The February 2016 report on projects at Mapes Creek and Taylor Creek, both South Lake Washington tributaries, presents biological data from the first year of post-project monitoring of Mapes Creek and the first year of pre-project monitoring at Taylor Creek. Also read the monitoring report on fish use at the site of the defunct Shuffleton Power Plant, where in 2014 an unused flume structure was removed from the Lake Washington shoreline near the mouth of the Cedar River and replaced with a gently sloping sand/gravel beach and log jams to create juvenile salmonid habitat.

Managing stormwater for a changing climate

Climate Change Impacts for Stormwaer Management in Puget SoundMore heavy rainstorms and rising sea levels are likely headed our way thanks to climate change. These changes have implications for stormwater management in urban and rural areas throughout the Puget Sound region. But we can reduce our risks; planners are already working to adapt. Read more in the paper, Climate Change Impacts for Stormwater Management in Puget Sound from the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group.

Cleaning pipes and sweeping streets are cost-effective ways to reduce stormwater pollution

A study of Tacoma’s long-term effort to clean up polluted runoff into Thea Foss Waterway showed that cleaning stormwater lines and upgrading street sweeping equipment were the most effective actions to reduce pollutants. Over 14 years, fish exposure to PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) in the Waterway was reduced 65%, according to the Puget Sound Partnership. Read the fact sheet about reducing stormwater pollution in Tacoma.

Habitat News

Sign up to get "Habitat News"

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has begun publishing a newsletter with information on stream flows, fish barriers and other issues relevant to their Habitat Program. Check out the April issue (pdf). To give feedback or receive the newsletter, email Jeffrey.Davis@dfw.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.