September 4, 2012
Healthy ecosystem supports salmon
Last week, the first returning salmon of 2012 were seen at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery where they have come home to spawn. More will follow in the fall months ahead, crowding the many tributaries that feed into Lake Sammamish.
A healthy return of the Northwest’s favorite fish is an important symbol of the health of our streams, lakes and Puget Sound ecosystems.
While some residents are crying about the imposition of tough city laws meant to strengthen the salmon’s habitat — and our own — the fact remains that Issaquah has embraced its role as watershed steward. Our waterways are healthier today than 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
We are totally in support of the city’s Styrofoam ban on fast-food containers and next year’s impending ban on plastic shopping bags. Those are easy things to get behind and we will adapt, just as we have to other required changes.
Local governments have learned to leave woody debris in the creeks, to remove man-made dams and other barriers, to enforce the need for natural swales to filter surface water before it reaches streams, to discourage the use of chemicals near lakes and streams, encourage dog owners to pick up their pet feces and dispose of it properly — and numerous other efforts that each make a difference.
The arguments continue over whether it is worth the cost to try to save the Lake Sammamish kokanee, or whether fish hatcheries are a plus or minus to the chinook, coho and sockeye native salmon populations, or how much setback is needed between shorelines and construction.
The fact that we continue the discussion says much. It says we, as a city population, do care about our salmon and our watershed. That caring is Issaquah’s legacy for future generations.