October 2016 Newsletter
Snoqualmie Watershed Forum

Snoqualmie Watershed Forum Ten Year Status ReportTolt River bench honors Clint Loper

In October, King County and Snoqualmie Watershed Forum staff installed a bench and plaque at a scenic spot on the Tolt River in loving memory of Clint Loper. Clint, who died of leukemia last May, was a longtime King County River & Floodplain Management Section employee, and a tireless advocate for flood protection and salmon recovery in the Snoqualmie Valley. He was instrumental in making the Lower Tolt Floodplain Reconnection Project a reality in 2009. Clint also worked closely with valley farmers to help address their unique and challenging flood risks. Please visit Clint’s bench on the north bank of the Tolt River just off Highway 203 south of Carnation. Special thanks to King County Parks Division for their gracious donation of the bench and its installation.

Black Canyon LLC withdraws FERC application in the North Fork Snoqualmie

North Fork SnoqualmieOn October 13, Black Canyon LLC formally withdrew its application for a FERC license to construct and operate a 25 MW hydroelectric facility on the North Fork Snoqualmie River. King County and Snoqualmie Watershed Forum staff have participated in the licensing process for nearly five years and the have filed several comment letters to highlight concerns about the proposal. The project would have diverted nearly all of the flow from 2.5 miles of the river, severely affecting rainbow and cutthroat trout populations and other organisms. The project also posed a major risk to the City of Snoqualmie’s primary water supply and would have irreparably harmed a world class whitewater kayaking run.  The project was strongly opposed by the Snoqualmie and Tulalip Tribes, local residents in the project area, and numerous conservation organizations.

Photo credit: Mary Lear

Newly spruced-up Middle Fork needs a plan to accommodate visitors

The Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie, once a place known for meth labs and chop shops, has begun to realize its potential as a beautiful recreational destination, thanks to years of work by dedicated activists. Mountains to Sound Greenway, public agencies and other partners have been instrumental in moving land there into public ownership, improving trails, and paving a new ten mile road into the area. But increased access to trails and more (within an hour of Seattle) will bring a host of other challenges, including parking for all the new visitors. The Snoqualmie Watershed Forum is participating in a task force to help find solutions. Learn more from a recent KNKX story.

Watershed Improvement District buys Tokul Creek water right

As the 2015 drought made clear, reliable irrigation water is critical to Snoqualmie Valley farmers.  In June 2016, the new Snoqualmie Valley Watershed Improvement District (SVWID) acquired a senior water right in the Valley from Weyerhaeuser; the right had previously supplied the company’s Snoqualmie Mill facility. The district plans to use the water right for irrigation supply support to agriculture in the Valley. When transferred downstream for agricultural use, the right, previously a year-round surface water right off Tokul Creek, will benefit instream flow from October to April and from the original point of diversion on the creek all the way downstream to the new points of diversion in the lower Valley. Learn more at www.svwid.com.

Garlic mustard, a noxious weed, spotted at Tolt MacDonald ParkGarlic mustard spotted at Tolt MacDonald Park

In August, King County Parks employees spotted an infestation of garlic mustard at Tolt MacDonald Park. The plants were small, but the workers were trained and observant, and may well have saved the park from being overrun.  Following the Noxious Weed Program’s advice, Parks quickly closed the infested trails, posted signs to alert park users, and controlled all the plants found. Read more about it here.

Knotweed control at Snoqualmie FallsKnotweed control arrives at Snoqualmie Falls

In 2015, the King County Noxious Weed Control Program, in partnership with the Snoqualmie Tribe, secured grant funding to treat invasive knotweed and restore riparian habitat along the last two river miles of the Upper Snoqualmie.  In 2016, Noxious Weeds successfully completed initial treatment right up to Snoqualmie Falls, while the Snoqualmie Tribe began riparian restoration throughout the Upper Snoqualmie River area. Efforts are ongoing, but in 2017 the Upper Snoqualmie can look forward to a lot less knotweed, meaning better habitat for fish and other wildlife.

Photo credit: Knotweed Control at Snoqualmie Falls, Justin Brooks 2016

Agricultural drainageAgricultural drainage program returns farmland to production

In early September, King Conservation District and King County cleared more than a quarter mile of drainage channels at Goose and Gander Farm in the Snoqualmie Valley. By removing invasive plants and sediment from clogged drainage ditches, the project will return to production ten acres that had been too wet to farm, and enhance production on an additional ten acres. This was just one of a dozen projects KCD is implementing this year with funding from the King County Flood Control District. Contact ben.axt@kingcd.org, visit the King Conservation District website or read the story at the Snoqualmie Valley Record.

June 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 at Crosscut.

Farm King CountyBounty Week celebrates local Valley food in August

Fifteen Snoqualmie Valley restaurants teamed up with local farmers last summer for the first annual Bounty Week. From August 19th to 25th, participating restaurants featured locally grown food, honoring the Valley’s long farming tradition. Bounty Week was coordinated by the Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and inspired by the ‘A River Runs Through It’ community visioning series. Learn more at the Mountains to Sound Greenway website.

Photo credit: Robin Woelz

Riparian restoration projectValley residents (inside cities) can get help with shoreline plantings

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 plantings 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 get more information, contact Adam Jackson at 425-282-1908 or adam.jackson@kingcd.org.

Mark your calendar for these events in the watershed:

Free workshops on sustainable livestock management in Carnation this fall

The King Conservation District (KCD) is hosting a series of free workshops on sustainable livestock management. The October 27 workshop will feature Mud Management, followed by Manure Management on November 3 and Pasture Management on November 10. Attend any or all, slated for 6:15-9 at the Carnation Library. Register at Eventbrite.

Snoqualmie plantingWorkshops on new landslide hazards maps slated for North Bend and Carnation

A series of workshops will help residents interpret new landslide hazard maps developed by King County and the Flood Control District with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. Learn about landslide geology, risk reduction, landslide response services and more. The workshops start at 6 p.m. and are set for October 27 at Meadowbrook Farm Interpretive Center in North Bend and November 3 at Tolt Middle School in Carnation.

Snoqualmie plantingPlant trees and shrubs to improve habitat

Come plant native trees and shrubs at Three Forks Natural Area in Snoqualmie on October 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. To register, contact Tina Miller.

Bring renewable energy to your farm or small business!

A FREE workshop at Fall City Library the evening of November 17th will feature ways farmers and rural small businesses can get help with grants, incentives, tax subsidies and more to buy energy-efficient equipment or install small-scale renewable energy systems. The event is sponsored by King Conservation District, Northwest SEED and Pierce Conservation District. Register at Eventbrite.

Living with Salmon in King County - brochureUpdated salmon brochure available – and more!

Just in time for the fall salmon season, we have updated and reprinted the brochure Living with Salmon in King County, which includes 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.

Snoqualmie Watershed Forum Ten Year Status ReportReal Progress, Real Challenges: Working Toward Salmon Recovery and Watershed Health, our 20-page Status Report published in July, summarizes the progress of the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum and its partners toward salmon recovery over the last ten years. Available online at the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum website.

Snoqualmie Watershed posterAnd remember that the beautiful “From Mt. Si to Wild Sky” watershed posters – featuring the photography of talented Valley residents – are still available FREE!


Email polly.freeman@kingcounty.gov or call 206-477-3724 for free copies of any of these resources.

The Snoqualmie Watershed Forum works to protect and restore the health of the SF Skykomish and Snoqualmie Watersheds in harmony with the cultural and community needs of the Valley.

If you would like to be added or removed from the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum mailing list, or if you would like to submit an item for inclusion in the next Snoqualmie Watershed Forum e-newsletter, please contact Maureen Dahlstrom.

Funding for this publication is provided by King County Flood Control District.