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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Press Editorial

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.

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Japanese fencers join international trend to train in Issaquah

September 4, 2012

A delegation of young fencers and their three coaches came from Japan to Issaquah to train with saber coach Wang Yung (center, standing) at the Washington Fencing Academy the week of Aug. 27. By Christina Corrales-Toy

Issaquah has become quite the destination for elite fencers looking to improve their game.

Fencers from all over the world travel to the Washington Fencing Academy, just to train with saber coach Wang Yung.

Yung has coached national and world champions. In July, the coach hosted Mannad Zeid, an Egyptian fencer who spent time training at the Washington Fencing Academy before he traveled to London for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The parade of international competitors hoping to learn from Yung continued the week of Aug. 27, as eight junior fencers from Japan traveled to Issaquah to train with the coach for a week.

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Spawn is on as first salmon reach Issaquah hatchery

August 28, 2012

Salmon spawning season at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery started early Aug. 25 as a hatchery docent-in-training spotted the first fish, a small chinook in Issaquah Creek.

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