A new orca calf is born, two large habitat projects in the works, and job opportunities

This newsletter is also published at <http://www.govlink.org/watersheds/7/news/>

What's New in the Snoqualmie Watershed

In this edition...

South Fork Skykomish River Basin Project to Improve Chinook Habitat

The Miller River is an important spawning and rearing area for salmon in the South Fork Skykomish basin. This project site is located near the Town of Skykomish.

The Lower Miller River Floodplain Restoration Project, in the South Fork Skykomish subbasin, is in the early planning phase. King County’s goal in sponsoring this project is to restore the lowermost mile of the Miller River, its floodplain, and its confluence with the South Fork Skykomish River. Existing bridges, culvert, revetments and roads are degrading habitat and ecological processes for local and downstream fish populations. The project team will seek to maximize habitat value for fish, including Chinook, coho, pink and steelhead, by removing artificial constraints on river processes throughout the roughly 165-acre floodplain and alluvial fan within the project area. The project is expected to be built in 2025-26. The desired future condition of the project area is one where intact habitat is protected, the lower Miller River is reconnected with its floodplain, and flood risks are reduced. Current allocated and requested funding (from King County Surface Water Management, Cooperative Watershed Management program funding from King County Flood Control District, and Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration) will support alternatives analysis and preliminary design for salmon conservation in this high priority WRIA 7 location in unincorporated King County.

A culvert on Langlois Creek that was partially blocking fish passage is being replaced with this box culvert.

Fish Passage Improvements Underway at Langlois Creek

The Snoqualmie Valley Watershed Improvement District, with funding from the King County Flood Control District, King Conservation District’s Landowner Incentive Program, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, has begun construction to replace two barrier culverts on Langlois Creek. This creek is a tributary to the Snoqualmie River near Carnation that supports large numbers of rearing and spawning coho salmon. The two replacements are part of a larger project to replace a total of four of the farthest downstream barriers. The other two barriers are seeking funding from the state’s Fish Barrier Removal Board in 2023. All are being replaced with stream simulation precast concrete box culverts. The channel will be restored, instream large wood installed, and native riparian vegetation planted.

Large equipment can be seen this summer at the Fall City project site, where the levee is being removed to allow the Snoqualmie River to reconnect with the floodplain. In this photo, an excavator is removing the left bank levee downstream of Fall City.

Construction at the Fall City Floodplain Restoration Project

Work is underway to remove an 85-year-old levee that has constrained the Snoqualmie River and degraded habitat for fish near Fall City. Trees were cleared along the river to allow machines to scrape feet of dirt and rocks off the levee. Across the river, a new stretch of Neal Road is being built further away from the river, so flood waters have fewer chances to wash away the road and farm fields downstream. Construction will continue into the fall and will resume in summer of 2023. The project will result in almost 145 acres of floodplain being reconnected to the river, new side channels, and slower water that will allow baby salmon to thrive. For more, visit the Fall City Floodplain project web page.

Second Grader’s Project Helps Protect the Snoqualmie River

Farm King County
King County Noxious Weeds staff Skye Pelliccia surveying for Egeria using a weed rake at Lake Rasmussen in 2021.

In 2020 a second grader named Maggie made a startling discovery: Egeria, a rare invasive aquatic plant in Lake Rasmussen. Thanks to her keen eye, we were able to prevent the invasive plant from spreading from this small lake into the Snoqualmie River. The King County Noxious Weed team worked with Woodland Resource services, who carefully treated the Egeria infestation in 2021. Egeria forms dense mats that clog waterways and promote habitat loss. Controlling this infestation prevented a much larger problem as the lake feeds into the Snoqualmie river, which has a wide reach into many water bodies in King and Snohomish counties. The team has monitored Lake Rasmussen monthly for the past year, and is excited to share that there are still no signs of Egeria in the lake and the native plants are doing well. The team will continue to monitor this lake once or twice per year for Egeria moving forward and hopes that the plants found in 2020 will be the last. For more background on the project, check out the Noxious Weed program’s 2021 blog post: Lake Rasmussen’s new aquatic noxious weed gets speedy action, or the video put together by King County’s department of natural resources: Second grader prevents weed spread.

Events, Announcements and Job Opportunities

Surface Water Management Fee Discount
Unincorporated King County property owners who qualify as an income-eligible household can receive a 50% discount on the annual surface water management fee on their owner-occupied property. The surface water management fee funds work that safeguards public health, prevents flooding, and protects habitat. To qualify, property owners must live on their property and have a household income that is equal to or less than 200% of the federal poverty level. The deadline to apply is Sept. 15. The discount is good for two years, and property owners who qualified for the discount last year do not need to reapply. Residents approved for the King County Senior Citizen and People with Disabilities Reduction already receive a 100% SWM fee waiver. Visit kingcounty.gov/swmfeediscount to apply for the discount and for more information, or call 206-477-4800, or email for assistance. Online information is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Somali, Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Forestry Field Day Helps Property Owners Care for Trees
VASHON, Wash. – Forests are an important part of the beauty and quality of life, and sustaining healthy, functioning forests requires careful stewardship. Owners of forested properties will build the necessary knowledge and skills for caring for their trees at the Vashon Forest Owners’ Field Day, Saturday, August 27, 2022. The field day is open to all, and will be hosted by Washington State University Extension and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with King Conservation District. This event features hourly outdoor workshops that will cover topics including maintaining healthy trees, protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat, proper thinning techniques, controlling invasive weeds, and protecting homes from wildfire. Participants choose which sessions to attend, and can network with vendors, agency personnel, and other forest owners. Early registration will save $10 on admission and tickets will also be available at the gate. Youth under 18 can attend for free. The field day starts at 11:30 a.m. and will be followed by a bring-your-own-picnic-dinner and a free Twilight Forest Tour hosted by King Conservation District at a nearby forested property from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This will consist of a walking tour of the forest, with discussion of past treatments, forest health considerations, and other management tools and considerations. To register or learn more, visit the web site or contact WSU Extension Forestry at 425-738-0109 for details.

WSU Extension Offers Forest Stewardship Course for Property Owners
PRESTON, Wash. – Owners of wooded property in King County can build skills to care for their trees through Washington State University Extension’s Forest Stewardship Coached Planning course. The course will be held Tuesday evenings, September 6 through November 1, 2022, at the Preston Community Center. The course is open to property owners of all skill levels with properties of any size whether it be one acre or over 100. Participants will learn how to identify and assess their trees, avoid insect and disease problems, help their forests be resilient to climate stress, attract wildlife, maintain productive soils, reduce wildfire risk around their homes, improve aesthetics, and take other practical steps to increase their enjoyment of their properties for years to come. Participants will also develop their own personalized forest stewardship plans that will qualify their properties for recognition as stewardship forests and could help them qualify for significant property tax reductions or conservation cost-share grants. Each participant will receive a private consultation site visit to their property by a stewardship forester and/or wildlife biologist. To register or learn more, visit the web site or contact WSU Extension Forester Grace Garrison at (425) 738-0109.

Input Requested for the Snoqualmie Valley/Northeast King County Subarea Plan
King County Department of Local Services is working on the Snoqualmie Valley/Northeast King County Subarea Plan. The Subarea Plan is a 20-year plan that outlines a vision for the community and policies to help achieve that vision. The plan will cover many subjects, including land use, housing, transportation, open space/parks, rural character, economic development, and climate change/hazards. The plan’s vision, guiding principles, and scope are being finalized now. The policy discussions will begin soon. For the latest opportunities to share your thoughts and participate on plan development please visit the web site. If you would like to receive updates about the plan, please email.

Job Openings at the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum

The Snoqualmie Watershed Forum is hiring staff for their team. Please share widely.

Snoqualmie Project Coordinator
Implements projects and programs for salmon recovery by administering an annual $2 Million grant round and working closely with watershed partners. Closes September 6.

Snoqualmie Technical Coordinator
Coordinates and tracks watershed science to guide and track actions to protect and restore the Snoqualmie and South Fork Skykomish rivers. Closes September 11.

Local Jobs for Young People and Military Veterans
The Snoqualmie Tribe and the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) are looking for folks to support their ecological restoration goals! The projects are geared toward salmon recovery and restoring the functions of floodplain forests, through native plant installation and noxious weed treatment. The Snoqualmie Tribe has been with these lands and waters since time immemorial, practicing reciprocity with the land. Start your own journey of reciprocity here. Several training opportunities are provided (including plant identification, first aid, and many more certificates and classes), as well as work with other restoration groups in the region. Applications are open to everyone between 18 and 25 years old, or anyone with past military service. Applications are being accepted now and hiring is active! See the WCC web site for more information and to apply.

Fish-related Job Opportunities

Salmon and orca in the news

New orca calf confirmed amid serious health concerns and actions to protect the whales — Puget Sound Institute

Vessel carrying 2,600 gallons of fuel, oil sinks near San Juan Island — The Seattle Times

A race to stop a kelp crisis, with impacts far beyond local waters — FOX 13

Remembering Tom Alberg, the Man Who Made Modern Seattle — Post Alley

‘If they can’t make it, none of them will.’ These Idaho salmon may hold key to survival — The Seattle Times

PNW hatcheries aren’t saving salmon, investigation finds — Crosscut

The undercurrents at play in the Columbia River dams debate — Crosscut

Judge faults federal plan to protect orcas from Alaska salmon harvests — Seattle Times

Explosion of Puget Sound plankton so big it was seen from space — Post Alley

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. For more information visit our Web site at: http://www.govlink.org/watersheds/7/.

If you would like to be added or removed from this mailing list, or if you would like to submit an item for inclusion in the next Snoqualmie Watershed Forum e-newsletter, please send an email to Elissa Ostergaard or call 206-477-4792.

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