What's New in the Snoqualmie Watershed

In this edition...

Alarming aquatic weed found in a small lake in Duvall

Maggie discovered invasive Egeria growing in Lake Rasmussen and alerted Ecology and King County (with a little help from her mom). Photo by Reagan Carosino.

The City of Duvall and King County are planning a rapid response to keep the aquatic weed Egeria densa from spreading out of Lake Rasmussen to Cherry Creek and the Snoqualmie River. This is the first known discovery of the plant in the Snoqualmie Watershed. The Egeria was found last fall by a highly observant second grader and her parent, who then reported it to Ecology and King County.

If not dealt with swiftly, Egeria could have a devasting impact to fish habitat in the Snoqualmie Watershed. This densely growing underwater plant can overwhelm beneficial native plants, choke open water areas, and impede fish passage.

It isn't known how Egeria got to Lake Rasmussen, but this plant is often spread by small fragments carried on boats or in aquariums dumped into lakes. To keep Egeria from spreading, visitors to Lake Rasmussen and other infested areas should clean off their boots, boats, and dogs before leaving.

Read more on the King County Noxious Weeds Blog. For more information on Egeria and the Lake Rasmussen project, contact Ben Peterson.

Snoqualmie Watershed Forum recruiting for citizen Forum member from Snoqualmie and South Fork Skykomish areas

The Snoqualmie Watershed Forum ("Forum") has a vacancy for a citizen from the King County portion of the Snohomish Basin to serve a 4-year term. Applicants must live in a city, town, or population center in the King County portion of the Snoqualmie or South Fork Skykomish watershed. This seat is appointed by the Snoqualmie Valley Governments Association (SVGA), comprised of the Snoqualmie Tribe and cities of North Bend, Snoqualmie, Carnation and Duvall. The SVGA will decide on the new member at their meeting on May 26. Details about the Forum and the application are available on the Forum's web site, and applications will be accepted until April 16, 2021.

Ever wanted to get paid to help the environment? This happy Stewardship Partners crew member could be you!

Stewardship Partners job announcement

Stewardship Partners is hiring! Full time crew member positions are available. This is a great entry level position on a conservation crew that has been serving the Snoqualmie Valley for over 20 years. Most competitive applicants are from the Snoqualmie Valley and have experience in environmental restoration, riparian restoration, green infrastructure feature installation and volunteer management.

Stewardship Partners is an Equal Opportunity Employer that values diversity of all kinds. We encourage applicants from all backgrounds to apply for this opportunity. Learn more and apply!

Care about your local trails? Become a Volunteer Trailhead Ambassador!

Farm King County

The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and partners are launching a new Trailhead Ambassadors program this year, designed to equip trail visitors with information needed for a safe, informed, and positive experience when using trails in the region. This program formed to ensure long term use and sustainable treatment of our public lands, specifically trails.

Volunteer Trailhead Ambassadors will serve as a welcoming entity at popular trailheads to answer trail and trailhead related questions, promote responsible hiker ethics like Leave No Trace, and collect trail use information for agencies and nonprofits. Learn more and sign up.

Farm King County
Members of Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust's restoration crew plant conifer trees at Tollgate Forest in February 2021.

City of North Bend, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust partner up to restore habitat

After receiving CWM and One Million Trees funds, the City of North Bend enlisted the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to implement their vision for restoration. To date, Greenway Trust crews and volunteers have planted over 2,800 native trees on Meadowbrook Farm, Tollgate Forest, and a 5-acre parcel near the North Bend wastewater treatment plant.

The restoration work improves riparian habitat adjacent to the South Fork Snoqualmie River and aims to establish conifers in a forest dominated by deciduous trees. Many of these deciduous trees are aging and falling, leaving gaps in the canopy where invasive weeds like knotweed have established. Funding from King County Noxious Weed Program's Healthy Lands Project (HeLP) maintains our investment in the tree-planting work by controlling introduced species that would compete with the young tree plantings.

State Legislature considers bills, grant funding for salmon

The State Legislature is still in session considering bills and budgets, including a few with implications for Puget Sound salmon. Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) tracks some of these bills, and their most recent Legislative Updates bulletin can be found in their newsletter. As of this posting, the Legislature had passed the cutoff dates for policy bills to be passed out of committees. Fortunately, all bills previously identified by PSP as legislative priorities survived these cutoff dates. Meanwhile, State operating and capital budgets have been released by both legislative chambers and the salmon grant programs are funded at a level that will fully fund the Snoqualmie Basin's own Fall City Floodplain Restoration Project.

New leadership for Snohomish Basin Salmon Recovery Forum, Snoqualmie Watershed Forum

The Snoqualmie Watershed Forum recently welcomed Chris Garcia (City of North Bend Councilmember), longtime Forum member, as its newly elected Chair. Meanwhile, former Chair Cindy Spiry (Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Director of Environmental and Natural Resources) brings her considerable experience to the position of Vice-Chair. Snoqualmie Forum staff and members are grateful to former Vice-Chair Henry Sladek (Mayor, Town of Skykomish) for his service as Vice-Chair.

Ryan Miller, Tulalip Tribes member and Director of the Tribes' Department of Treaty Rights and Government Affairs, was elected as the new Chair at the Snohomish Forum's March 4th meeting. Ryan has also served as the Tulalip representative on the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum for several years.

Welcome and congratulations to the new leadership on both Forums!

Snoqualmie Tribe's banner year for riparian restoration

Newly planted conifers at the future site of the Fall City Floodplain Restoration Project. The Snoqualmie Tribe will return to the site to infill with native shrubs next fall.

The Snoqualmie Tribe's Environment & Natural Resources Department installed almost 29,000 native trees across several project areas during the 2020/2021 planting season. Given that the Tribe did not use volunteers to accomplish its plantings in 2020, this number is extra impressive!

The biggest planting project—about 8,000 trees—happened at the site of the future Fall City Floodplain Restoration Project. The Tribe worked with King County to do the major planting a few years before earthwork starts on the project in summer 2022. According to Restoration Program Manager Ryan Lewis, "it's exciting to get a... head start on establishing that huge riparian buffer." Lewis also noted that they were able to use fairly large trees for planting (4-6'), creating a dramatic visual change in the formerly empty farm fields.

Riparian trees regulate water temperature, slow and reduce flood flows, and provide woody debris that creates habitat for fish.

The Snoqualmie Tribe isn't slowing down anytime soon on its riparian restoration and plans for a similar volume of plantings in 2021/2022. The Tribe hopes to resume volunteer planting events in Fall 2021.

View the story map to learn more about the Snoqualmie Tribe and how they approach restoration.

King County releases 30-year Forest Plan

King County has released a new comprehensive 30-Year Forest Plan with a vision for increasing forest canopy, improving forest health, confronting climate change, and achieving clean water and healthy habitat. "The spectacular forests of King County have defined our landscape since time immemorial, contributing to the clean air and water, healthy habitat, and recreational opportunities that we enjoy today," said Executive Dow Constantine. "The 30-Year Forest Plan is our generation's commitment to ensuring that all those who come after us experience those same benefits while honoring tribal rights and making access to forestland more equitable." Read more.

Workshops and conferences

Registration now open: 2021 Salmon Recovery Conference!
Registration is now open for the virtual 2021 Salmon Recovery Conference, which will be held April 27-30, 2021. The conference theme, "Building a Movement," reflects where we are in the arc of recovery and the importance of coming together to grow our partnership base. Washington State needs to continue to build a movement to complete the work we began 20 years ago to recover Washington's iconic salmon.

Save the Date: 2021 Virtual Puget Sound Days on the Hill
Puget Sound Partnership and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission invite you to participate in virtual Puget Sound Days on the Hill, scheduled on Fridays from 1:00-2:30PM, April 23rd — May 21st. Register and learn more.

Collaboration Campfires — Presented by Floodplains by Design
In an initial series of five one-hour virtual gatherings (March 25th, April 8th, April 22nd, May 13th, and May 27th), the expert facilitation team at Floodplains by Design will help you explore ways to up your online collaboration savvy and make your virtual meetings more interesting and less draining.

Funding opportunities

Flood Reduction Grant Programs
In 2020, the King County Flood Control District Board of Supervisors created three new grant programs in addition to the original Flood Reduction Grant (FCD) program. The three new programs address urban streams, coastal erosion, and culvert replacement/fish passage. The grant round is now open and the application deadline is May 21, 2021. Learn more about how to apply. The FCD is offering $12 M between the four grant programs, with $3 M available for each in 2021.

Salmon and orca in the news

Invasive zebra mussels discovered in aquarium plants sold at pet stores in WA

Discovery Islands salmon farms in British Columbia to be phased out of existence over next 18 months

Loss of freshwater habitat, climate change means the Northwest's salmon may be running out of time

Why are Alaska's salmon getting smaller?

GOP Congressman pitches new plan to breach lower Snake River dams

Veteran orca researcher says we're witnessing the end of the southern resident killer whales

Transient orcas, once rarely sighted in the Salish Sea, are now more commonly sighted than the southern residents

Lake Washington sockeye hit record low; another signature Seattle fish at brink of extinction

The struggle to share a shrinking resource — Northwest salmon

Encouraging numbers for kokanee salmon spawn count

Washington salmon are in hot water: 10 of 14 salmon species listed as endangered are in crisis

Chinook salmon are key to Northwest orcas all year, study shows

Washington's culvert challenge deserves federal funding

And, as always, remember that the beautiful "From Mt. Si to Wild Sky" watershed posters — featuring the photography of talented Valley residents – are available FREE from Carla Nelson or by calling 206-263-3050.

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 Carla Nelson.

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