King County reminds boaters to avoid lake buoys

May 8, 2012

By Staff

King County officials reminded boaters to avoid environmental monitoring buoys in lakes Sammamish and Washington after a Lake Washington buoy sustained damage.

Officials said a boat struck the bright yellow buoy between 4 and 6 p.m. April 23. The impact caused the buoy to flip and submerged sensitive data-collection equipment. The tally for damage is expected to reach at least $5,600.

What to know

People with information about the buoy vandalism should call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311

The incident echoes a similar problem from Lake Sammamish. In July 2010, vandals flipped a buoy bobbing in the lake and caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage. In May 2009, vandals also damaged a buoy on Lake Sammamish.

Crews managed to repair the buoys involved in the earlier vandalism incidents.

In the most recent incident, county staffers estimated the time of impact because the buoy’s data-collection equipment ceased functioning at the same time.

The buoys provide a variety of real-time data, such as wind speed and direction, air temperature, atmospheric pressure and other environmental conditions.

The buoys form a key part of the Major Lakes Monitoring Program. Staffers use equipment on the buoys to record and analyze the long-term environmental quality of lakes Sammamish, Union and Washington.

County scientists share buoy-collected information with the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network as part of a broader investigation into the effects of local human activity and climate change on lake ecosystems.

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