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

Salmon returning to the watershed!
Tenth year of Salmon SEEson underway!

Chinook salmon in Issaquah Creek by Larry FranksSalmon are once again returning to streams and rivers around Puget Sound. In this tenth year of Salmon SEEson, many of our partners are already reporting fish sightings, including Chinook returning to Issaquah Creek in mid-September, sockeye near KIS Farm in Bear Creek in early October, and both Chinook and sockeye spawning at the Cedar River Salmon Journey sites, with lots of fish visible at Cedar River Park in particular. Get details on these and the other locations where folks may see fish – some with volunteer naturalists on hand to answer questions – from the Salmon Seeson website. And please promote Salmon SEEson to others!

Photo of Chinook salmon in Issaquah Creek by Larry Franks.

Fish returns mixed this year

Salmon at Ballard LocksBased on returns observed at Ballard Locks, as of 10/6/16:
Chinook returns to the Locks were estimated at 9,197, surpassing the pre-season forecast but only about 90% of the average for the last 20 years. Coho returns were 18,779, better than the original pre-season forecast of 4,414, but still short of the ten year average of 21,134. Sockeye returns were 58,585 as of July 31 (the traditional end to the official sockeye count -- almost all sockeye are through the Locks by that date), less than half of the predicted 119,125 return. For more information, please see Dept. of Fish and Wildlife's Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Salmon Counts.

Updated salmon brochure available

Living with salmon in King County - brochureJust in time for the fall salmon season, we have updated and reprinted the brochure Living with Salmon in King County, which includes the most current information about the nine salmon species found in King County’s watersheds, the best locations for spotting them, the salmon life cycle, challenges salmon face and how you can help. Email polly.freeman@kingcounty.gov for copies.

Projects continue to restore habitat
Project reconnects historic side channel to Sammamish River

Sammamish River side channelIn the summer of 2016, the City of Bothell constructed the Sammamish River Side Channel restoration in Sammamish River Park, reconnecting a 1,080-foot historic side channel and floodplain to the Sammamish River, and providing important off-channel rearing habitat for Chinook and coho salmon. The side channel connects to cold water springs, a source of cool water refuge for fish during summer months. The project also installed numerous log structures, pools, and two box culverts under the Sammamish River Trail to ease flows into and out of the side channel. In addition, invasive reed canary grass and blackberry will be controlled on six acres of riparian and wetland habitat and replaced with natives on much of the site. Funding was provided by the City of Bothell and grants (all recommended by WRIA 8) from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration, and King County Flood Control District Cooperative Watershed Management.

Issaquah project should reduce flooding and improve habitat

Salmon Run Nature Park restoration projectThe Salmon Run Nature Park project completed this month restored instream, riparian and floodplain habitat and stabilized eroding streambanks along Issaquah Creek, part of a long-term strategy to restore riparian lands throughout Issaquah to reduce flooding and improve conditions for fish. Invasive plants and fill were removed, side channels created, and more than 100 logs and stumps placed in the creek. Volunteers will help plant 6,000 native trees and shrubs along the creek bank this fall. The new park, with gravel paths and viewpoints, is next to other public open space that could be connected by a future trail. The project was paid for by Issaquah stormwater funds and King County Flood Control District Cooperative Watershed Management grants.

Using recycled water at 60 Acres soccer fields keeps water in the river for salmon

King County Wastewater Treatment Division’s recycled water program made a great cross and Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association put it in the net! After recycled water from the Brightwater Treatment Plant irrigated 60 Acres Park’s well-used soccer fields through the dry summer of 2015, the connection became permanent this year.  Recovered from wastewater treatment and processed, this clear, odor-free water lets much-needed flows for salmon remain in the Sammamish River, as Jason Mulvihill-Kuntz explains in this video.

Salmon on the highwayJune decision by federal court affirms that state must fix culverts

A unanimous ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals early this summer held that culverts blocking upstream passage for fish violate federal treaties signed with Washington tribes. Read more from Crosscut.

King County conservation mapAdvisory Committee gathering input for King County Land Conservation Initiative

King County Executive Dow Constantine is bringing together a wide range of experts – from business, real estate, non-profits, philanthropic organizations and elected office -- to create a long-term strategy for protecting from development the most valuable remaining farms, forests, habitats, trails, and other green spaces in our fast-growing region. The Advisory Committee is expected to deliver its recommendations to the Executive by the end of the year. Learn more at King County's Land Conservation Work Plan website.

Stormwater news and notes
Comment on Ship Canal water quality improvement project until October 24

Ship Canal water quality projectSeattle Public Utilities and King County are working together to build an underground storage tunnel to hold stormwater from Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, and north Queen Anne during storms, keeping nearly 60 million gallons of polluted water out of the Ship Canal, Salmon Bay, and Lake Union each year. Attend a public meeting from 6-8 p.m. October 18 at the Lake Washington Rowing Club at 910 N Northlake Way, or submit comments until October 24. See Seattle Public Utilities' Ship Canal Water Quality Project page for details or direct questions to J.Edward.Mirabella@seattle.gov. To learn more, watch the Seattle Ship Canal Water Quality Project video.

Preventing pollution, protecting our water: Surface water management infographicKing County graphic illustrates link between stormwater management and salmon health

King County has developed an infographic to educate residents about surface water management and the need for expanded services as County population increases. Check out the surface water management infographic and note the many connections between surface water management and salmon recovery.

Building Cities in the Rain guidance finalized

The U.S. Department of Commerce, in consultation with other interested parties, has developed a process for prioritizing watersheds for stormwater retrofits, Building Cities in the Rain: Watershed Prioritization for Stormwater Retrofits. The tool is intended to help local governments target investment in stormwater retrofits in a way that leverages opportunities for salmonid habitat restoration and facilitates redevelopment in urban centers. Learn more at Washington State's Building Cities in the Rain website or call Heather Ballash at 360-725-3044.

Raindrops - stormwaterTake six minutes to view and share this great stormwater video!

Please watch and share the link to this concise and compelling video on stormwater impacts to salmon, produced by The Nature Conservancy and Washington State University.

Landslide hazards along riversLandslide hazard workshop in Maple Valley October 25

King County and the Flood Control District have released new landslide hazard maps, created with state-of-the-art technology. A series of workshops will be held around the County, including on October 25 at Lake Wilderness Lodge in Maple Valley, to help residents interpret the new maps and learn about landslide geology, how to reduce risk, landslide response services and more.

Marine shorelineLandscape professionals can learn restoration techniques for marine shorelines November 15 and 16

A two-day workshop, Introduction to Landscapes on the Edge, will educate landscape professionals about the vulnerable nature of marine shorelines and ways to better design and implement landscape and restoration projects on upland buffers, shorelines, steep slopes, and beaches. Attend one or both days from 9 am to 4pm at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Discounts are available for students and conservation crew members. Register here.

Riparian restoration projectLive along a stream or wetland? Get help improving habitat on your property

The King Conservation District (KCD) is excited to announce its new Urban Shoreline & Riparian Habitat Improvement program. The program helps homeowners within city boundaries manage and enhance vegetation along streams, wetlands and other waterbodies. KCD can provide technical assistance, planning services, and project management as well as cost-share money to install projects. To check your eligibility or learn more, contact Adam Jackson at 425-282-1908 or adam.jackson@kingcd.org.

Help improve salmon habitat this fall

October 22 in Lake Sammamish State Park

Join Mountains To Sound to celebrate the start of fall and the native tree planting season at Lake Sammamish State Park on October 22. Volunteers will help plant nearly 16,000 native trees and shrubs along the creek to improve salmon and wildlife habitat. Sponsored in part by Carter Subaru, Washington State Parks, and REI, the celebration will include food, music, and plenty of tree planting fun for the whole family. Register now.

Volunteer planting projectNovember 5 in Issaquah and Redmond

Plant native trees and shrubs or remove invasive plants along King County’s rivers and streams and in our urban parks this fall.  On November 5, you can help out at Taylor Mountain Forest in Issaquah (contact Tina Miller) or along Marymoor Park’s BirdLoop Trail (contact Laurie Clinton). Events are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Planting photo by Ray Lapine.

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.