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

Ballard Locks 2018 federal and state legislative priorities

Every year WRIA 8 adopts a suite of federal and state legislative priorities that support important salmon recovery funding programs and policies. On November 16, the WRIA 8 Salmon Recovery Council approved WRIA 8's 2018 state and federal legislative priorities.


Washington State lawmakers urge federal funding for critical upgrades to the Ballard Locks

On Friday, December 5, U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell joined Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen, Dave Reichert, Suzan DelBene, Denny Heck, and Derek Kilmer in a letter to the Trump Administration, urging it to use U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' funding to restore and modernize the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle. The letter builds on an economic impact study of the Locks that was completed this past summer. The letter supports the suite of Locks repairs that have long been at the top of WRIA 8's federal legislative priorities. The letter is available here


Salmon returns

Spawning chinook salmon in Issaquah Creek Biologists have completed their annual spawning ground surveys in North, Little Bear, May, Coal, Kelsey, Issaquah and Bear/Cottage Lake creeks and the Cedar River. While adult return numbers are not yet official, biologists are reporting provisional numbers larger than expected for Chinook salmon on the Cedar River and elsewhere in WRIA 8. The return to the Cedar River, in particular, is likely to be the largest since before 2000. Similar to the Chinook salmon return, the 2017 sockeye salmon return was larger than forecast, though both are far below historic levels and populations of both species are well below recovery planning goals.

Stream Chinook Sockeye
Cedar River 2,025 36,474
Bear/Cottage 434 1,728
Little Bear 36 1,741
North 20 324
May 13 20
Issaquah 1,090 2
Kelsey 6 0

Source: WDFW spawning ground surveys – provisional data for WRIA 8 streams.


Salmon Tour debrief

Wayne Golf Course The WRIA 8 Salmon Tour took place on Friday, October 27. Over 40 people joined the tour, and were lucky to have amazing sunny fall weather including one state legislator, staff from Rep. Jayapal's office, several state legislative staff, local elected officials, and partners from local governments, state and federal agencies, and community organizations. The Tour started at the Ballard Locks to show participants first-hand some of the critical facility repair needs. From the Locks, participants hopped on a yellow school bus and visited three habitat restoration sites, including Wayne Golf Course on the Sammamish River in Bothell, the Sammamish River Side Channel project in Bothell, and the Bear Creek Doyle project on the border of unincorporated King County and the City of Redmond.

We also took the opportunity over lunch to highlight the WRIA 8 Plan Update and provide a brief summary of the habitat goals and recovery strategies. The tour was very successful in highlighting recent progress on salmon habitat protection and restoration, legislative/policy priorities, and implementation challenges. WRIA 8 staff will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of these tours in terms of timing and reaching our intended audiences.



State Salmon Recovery Funding Board approves grants contingent on state capital budget

Future salmon habitat On December 8, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) approved grant funding recommendations for salmon recovery projects in watersheds around the state, including WRIA 8. Despite the SRFB's action to approve grants, the awarding of grant funds is contingent on the state legislature passing a capital budget. In WRIA 8, two projects were approved to receive funding once a capital budget is passed – 1) Royal Arch Reach Protection on the Cedar River, and 2) Issaquah Creek In-Stream Restoration in Lake Sammamish State Park. Both projects are high priority for restoring habitat for Chinook salmon in WRIA 8. For more information, please see the 2017 SRFB Funding Report.


2017 State of the Sound report State of the Sound report

On November 1, Puget Sound Partnership released the 2017 State of the Sound report, which describes the state of the Puget Sound ecosystem, highlights restoration efforts, how management of recovery is going, and what is needed to advance recovery efforts.


Salmon in the news

2017 State of the Sound report Nature's Scorecard
Washington Environmental Council and Puget Soundkeeper released a scorecard assessing how well Puget Sound cities and counties are implementing stormwater management requirements. The scorecard is meant as a tool to highlight successes and identify areas for improvement.

Orcas headed to extinction unless we get them more chinook and quieter waters, report says
Study finds low numbers of Chinook salmon and vessel noise putting survival of Puget Sound's Southern Resident Orca population at high risk.

Seals and sea lions may be slowing salmon recovery, hurting orcas
Puget Sound Institute article highlights the impact on salmon recovery efforts and Orca survival from an increase in seal and sea lion populations that are eating more salmon.

What makes stormwater toxic?
Puget Sound Institute article on recent research seeking to understand which chemicals and toxins in stormwater are responsible for killing large numbers of coho salmon before they are able to reproduce when they return to freshwater streams each year.

Escaped Atlantic salmon found 42 miles up Skagit River
More than three months after a massive escape of Atlantic salmon from a net pen at Cypress Island, Atlantic salmon are still turning up very much alive in the Skagit River, one of Washington's premier Pacific salmon rivers.

2 Republicans seek immediate ban on Atlantic net pens, too — and faster


Funding opportunities

Floodplains by Design
The Department of Ecology is accepting pre-applications for the Floodplains by Design grant program, which seeks to advance integrated floodplain management by improving ecological function, reducing flood risk, and meeting other community needs. This application process is for funding in the 2019–2021 state fiscal biennium. Pre-applications are due on February 16, and the top candidates will be invited to submit a full proposal in the spring of 2018. Please note: if you submitted a proposal for 2017–2019 Floodplains by Design funding and are on the funding list awaiting the state capital budget, Ecology is asking you to re-submit a pre-application.

More information on the program and how to apply is available from Washington State Dept. of Ecology.

Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is seeking proposals for approximately $2 million in grants nationwide, which can be used to support on-the-ground restoration and targeted environmental outreach, education, and stewardship. Grant awards typically range from $20,000 - $50,000. Applications are due on January 31, and an applicant webinar will be held this Wednesday, November 15, at 11:00am.

For more information, refer to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website.

The Healthy Watersheds Consortium (HWC), a partnership between the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, has called for 2018 Request for Proposals. The goal of the HWC Grant Program is to "accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds", with primary focus on prevention of land deterioration in the watershed by:

Applications are due February 1, 2018 at 8 p.m. Eastern and up to $3 million is available.

Please visit the Healthy Watersheds Consortium for more information about their grant program and resources that will help develop your proposal.


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.