August 2017 Newsletter
Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed
Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 8

Cooperative Watershed Management (CWM) grant recommendations approved

On August 21, the King County Flood Control District (KCFCD) Board of Supervisors approved CWM grant recommendations for WRIA 8 and the other King County watersheds. In WRIA 8, this means that the KCFCD gave the go-ahead to $1.78 million for habitat restoration and acquisition projects, $209,000 for riparian habitat/stewardship projects, $300,000 for monitoring, and $93,000 for education and outreach programs. More details can be found in this presentation.


Senator Murray defends salmon restoration funding

The Capitol Building in Washington D.C.Led by Washington's Senator Patty Murray, the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 27 rejected President Trump's attempt to eliminate funding for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) by adding $65 million to the FY 2018 Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill. Established by Congress, PCSRF is critical to protecting, restoring and conserving Pacific salmon populations and their habitats. States and tribes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada and Alaska have undertaken more than 10,000 projects that improve habitat condition and availability as well as planning and monitoring programs that benefit the species since PCSRF's inception in 2000. "Restoring salmon runs is critically important not only to jobs and our state's economy, but also for tribal treaty rights and our state's cultural heritage," said Senator Murray.


Ten Year Update of the WRIA 8 Salmon Conservation Plan nears completion

Salmon Since 2000, WRIA 8 partners have worked together to improve conditions for threatened Chinook salmon, with the goal of bringing them back to sustainable, harvestable levels. After more than ten years, we have made great progress on many of our short-term goals, but salmon population numbers are still far short of a level that would consistently support sustainable runs for tribal and recreational fishing year-to-year and fulfill treaty-guaranteed tribal fishing rights.

WRIA 8 staff, the Implementation and Technical Committees, and the Salmon Recovery Council have been working diligently on a 10 year update of the 2005 WRIA 8 Chinook Salmon Conservation Plan. The 2017 Plan Update is an addendum to the 2005 Plan, but is also intended to stand on its own. The 2017 Plan Update continues themes and content from the original Plan, documents what has been learned during the first 10 years of implementation, includes new habitat goals, and identifies new and updated strategies to meet salmon recovery goals. The Salmon Recovery Council will review the final draft of the Plan Update at its September meeting. See the current draft Plan Update.


Repairing the Ballard Locks is vital to our economy and to salmon

Ballard Locks The Port of Seattle hosted a press event June 27 to release an economic impact study for the Ballard Locks. A group of marine industry/trade groups commissioned the study, which describes the benefits of reliable Locks operation, the potential losses if they failed, and the steps needed to repair the 100-year-old facility — with a price tag of $30-60 million. The proposed repairs include fixes to fish passage facilities that WRIA 8 has been seeking for years.

John Stokes, Bellevue Mayor and Salmon Recovery Council Vice-Chair, represented WRIA 8 at the press event and provided comments on the value of the 100-year-old Locks for fish passage and for safeguarding the significant investments in habitat restoration already made in the watershed.

The event was covered by KIRO 7 News and KUOW Radio.

The Locks' Centennial brought additional press interest as well. This Seattle Times story describes how the engineering feats that made the Locks possible affected the surrounding environment and local tribes' livelihoods, with impacts that continue to be felt today. And check out this coverage on KNKX that marked the occasion with stories about the facility's history, machinery, challenges to fish passage and more.


Large wood in the Cedar brings salmon benefits but raises concerns for river recreation

Thank you letter for Puget Sound Day on the Hill A recent blog post from King County's Water and Land Resources Division describes how the numerous logjams in the Cedar this year are a concern for recreationists, but bring significant habitat benefits for salmon. As summer temperatures have drawn recreation-minded folks to the river, the King County Council and the King County Flood Control District decided to address nine log jams of concern to open the river, while leaving wood volume for salmon habitat to the extent possible.



Are we making progress on salmon recovery?

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to restore habitat for Puget Sound salmon. In this article from the Puget Sound Institute, Chris Dunagan looks at how scientists are gauging their progress. Note that of the river systems monitored by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Cedar River is highlighted as producing the highest average number of juveniles per returning adult spawner.


Salmon in the news

Solar eclipse's tides blamed for broken net, up to 305,000 Atlantic salmon dumped into waters near San Juans

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on August 17 appealed a court order to fix culverts that block salmon streams in Washington

Fish are recolonizing areas upriver of former dam sites on the Elwha

A changing electrical grid may make Snake River dams expendable—and help save salmon


Salmon recovery curriculum: Watershed Management for Salmon Recovery: A Reference GuideUse water wisely for people and salmon

Our region's exceptionally rainy winter and spring have given way to a very dry summer. Earlier this month, Seattle broke its previous record for number of days without rain; NOAA predicts warmer and dryer weather than usual through October. Conserving water is ALWAYS good for salmon, but especially during hot dry summers. For tips on using water wisely, visit savingwater.org or the Go, Green Team! blog.


Ecology's water quality grants program accepting applications now!

The Department of Ecology's Water Quality Program has published its 2019 Funding Guidelines and other information relevant to Clean Water grants, Clean Water Act Section 319 grants, Revolving Fund loans, and Stormwater Financial Assistance grants. Applications may be submitted beginning August 14 through October 16. Projects eligible for these funds are those that improve and protect Washington's water quality, including stormwater facilities and activities and nonpoint source pollution control. See more information on the funding cycle, grant guidelines, and August workshops for applicants.


Read the latest on habitat restoration from NOAA

Read the Socioeconomic Benefits of Habitat Restoration to learn more about the role of green jobs and community economies and the long-term ecosystem services restoration projects provide. Then peruse this report on levee setbacks, which promotes their use as cost-effective and sustainable alternatives to traditional levees for managing flood risk and bringing environmental benefits.


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.