Department of Ecology fines King County for trail work violation

December 18, 2012

State regulators fined King County $1,500 after workers failed to follow rules to stop sediment discharges into a municipal storm drain during construction on the East Lake Sammamish Trail.

The state Department of Ecology said crews from the county Facilities Management Division repeatedly did not install the proper controls outlined under the storm water permit to prevent sediment discharges.

The agency issued the fine July 20, but did not announce the penalty until Nov. 27, as the Department of Ecology detailed all fines issued statewide between July and September. Officials typically do not issue individual media releases unless a penalty reaches $10,000 or more.

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Editorial

December 11, 2012

Our state park needs passionate ‘friends’

Lake Sammamish State Park needs a group of passionate people to come together as Friends of Our State Park. Both leaders and roll-up-your-sleeves volunteers are wanted.

The state park has had a plan in place for five years. That plan would add an esplanade between the picnic and beach areas for walkers to access a new bathhouse, a boathouse for kayaks and rowing shells, a lakefront café, improved group sites, environmental educational components throughout, an RV and tent park, a lodge to host youth or adult groups for overnights or meetings, and much cleaner beach and grassy areas.

A citizen group met for three years to come up with the plan, and design work was completed for the esplanade and bathhouse. It was to have been done by 2013, in time for the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks.

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Community offers ideas, support for Lake Sammamish State Park

December 11, 2012

NEW — 5 p.m. Dec. 11, 2012

State officials laid the groundwork Monday for a community organization to support Lake Sammamish State Park as residents met to consider lifelines for the cash-strapped park.

Issaquah and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission officials collected information from attendees for a possible community organization to support the park, and listened to ideas about the facility at a Tibbetts Creek Manor open house.

The event, hosted by the city and state parks agency, launched a discussion about future ventures at Lake Sammamish State Park and what residents hope to see on the park’s 512 acres.

In 2007, state parks commissioners approved a bold plan to remake and restore the park, but the economic downturn and state budget crises curtailed dollars to implement the plan.

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More kokanee return as community works to restore species

December 4, 2012

Homeowner funds $175,000 culvert project

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon swim Nov. 27 in the restored stretch of Ebright Creek at Wally Pereyra’s property in the 100 block of East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. By Greg Farrar

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon — a landlocked cousin of sockeye and a species noted for distinctive red coloration — dwindled in recent decades, since before Wally Pereyra moved into a house along Ebright Creek in 1973.

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Offer ideas for future of Lake Sammamish State Park

December 4, 2012

Lake Sammamish State Park, a 512-acre urban oasis surrounded by Issaquah and a destination long overdue for a makeover, is in the spotlight again as city and state officials seek residents’ ideas for the park’s future.

Issaquah and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission leaders scheduled a Dec. 10 open house about the state park. The event is meant to restart the conversation about options for the park, including a stalled plan approved in 2007 and meant to guide upgrades to aging facilities and the expansion of recreation opportunities.

Options to revive the plan could include a partnership between the state parks agency, city and a nonprofit organization to help the park. The state parks agency is also open to commercial ventures on parkland as a potential way to generate funds for the facility.

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Darigold donates water for Lake Sammamish kokanee

November 6, 2012

Darigold joined the effort in recent weeks to preserve dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery announced Oct. 26.

The downtown Issaquah dairy is donating water from a well to the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer for the hatchery to use in the ongoing effort to restore kokanee. The contribution from Darigold should save the hatchery about $50,000 over the program’s anticipated lifespan through 2021.

Experts said the Darigold water is ideal for kokanee due to consistent quality and temperature. Using the water allows hatchery teams to prevent the fish from imprinting on Issaquah Creek water, and instead allows fry to imprint on Ebright, Laughing Jacobs and Lewis creeks.

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Editorial

October 23, 2012

Our endorsements for state representatives

Local voters face some clear choices in the legislative races on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Issaquah is divided between the 5th and 41st legislative districts. Redistricting has changed district boundaries, but most Issaquah neighborhoods remain inside the 5th District.

North Issaquah and neighborhoods along Lake Sammamish shifted into the 41st District. Cougar Mountain west of state Route 900 and areas north of Interstate 90 act as the dividing lines.

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Customers could pay more for garbage pickup

October 16, 2012

The cost for garbage pickup in Issaquah and elsewhere in King County is expected to rise next year, after the King County Council approved a rate increase Sept. 24.

Under the updated rate structure, the cost for commercial vehicles, such as garbage trucks, to dump trash at county facilities is $120.17 per ton. The current rate, put in place in September 2011, is $109 per ton.

Haulers, such as CleanScapes and Allied Waste, pass along the rate increase to customers. So, the average customer putting out a single can for pickup can expect to pay about 65 cents more per month next year, although the exact increase depends on how haulers pass on the rate hike to consumers.

The rate is due to increase to $19.22 from $17.49 per load for residents hauling garbage to county transfer stations.

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Tribal tales from a kokanee salmon, as told to Dallas Cross

October 2, 2012

Dallas Cross

Before the Ice Age my ancestral sockeye salmon bearing our tribal name, oncorhynchus nerka, regularly came from the ocean to Lake Sammamish to find mates and reproduce in its streams. As it got colder, a huge glacier cut off the escape of the tribe to Puget Sound. Being trapped, we had to adapt to living our entire lives in fresh water.

It was difficult at first, but soon we were feeding on the small daphnia or water fleas living in the lake. Because daphnia are not as big as krill in the ocean, our size got smaller. Our tribe enjoyed less swimming distance for a lifecycle and we were glad not to be eaten by big salt-water fish and seals. We became land-locked in the lake and its streams. We adapted and survived.

We did retain some traditions of our sea-run ancestors, such as only living three to five years, turning red to spawn, running up streams to lay and fertilize our eggs, and dying afterward. Our short life spans allowed us to make rapid genetic changes in response to climate changes and food availability.

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Lake Sammamish kokanee need long-term fix

September 25, 2012

Dallas Cross

Oncorhynchus nerka, our kokanee salmon in Lake Sammamish, is a threatened native species with greatly reduced numbers spawning in streams feeding the lake.

Most of their historical spawning areas are now denied by barriers or degraded as a result of land development.

Until recently, Lake Sammamish kokanee have not been included with other salmon species in conservation measures and have been low in profile for public concern.

For the past several years, an effort of the environmentally concerned and governmental communities adjacent to Lake Sammamish have participated in defining the problem, setting goals and taking action to address the threatened loss of the kokanee.

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