King County Council protects Issaquah Creek salmon habitat

May 31, 2011

Critical salmon habitat in the Issaquah Creek Basin is protected for the next half-century — and possibly longer — due to a King County Council decision.

The council members approved a 50-year lease agreement May 16 for 30 acres along Holder Creek and near Carey Creek — tributaries of Issaquah Creek. The wedge-shaped property is along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, about a mile north of the state Route 18 interchange.

The legislation authorized County Executive Dow Constantine to lease the land from the state Department of Natural Resources at no cost.

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King County Council protects Issaquah Creek habitat

May 16, 2011

NEW — 2:15 p.m. May 16, 2011

King County Council members approved a lease agreement Monday to protect sensitive salmon habitat in the Issaquah Creek basin.

The legislation authorizes County Executive Dow Constantine to sign a 50-year lease for state Department of Natural Resources-owned land along Holder Creek.

“This is a great example of working across jurisdiction boundaries to achieve the common goals of supporting salmon recovery and protecting water quality and open space,” Councilman Larry Phillips said in a release. “This is a win-win that ensures pristine salmon habitat will continue to support a healthy watershed in the Issaquah Creek basin.”

The land is considered by the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan as home to some of the best remaining habitat in the Lake Washington, Cedar River and Lake Sammamish watershed. The creek basin supports chinook, coho and kokanee salmon, plus steelhead trout.

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Consider a seismic retrofit as earthquake insurance

April 19, 2011

Strengthening a residence through a home earthquake retrofit is as simple as ABC: anchor, brace and connect.

Most homes built in the past 30 years or so do not need a retrofit to hold steady in earthquakes, but older homes may need some foundation tune-ups. If the foundation is not secured to the rest of the structure, major damage can result from the ground shaking.

The earthquake in Japan — plus major temblors in New Zealand, Chile and Haiti in the past year — has renewed the focus on seismic safety at home.

“When the earth starts shaking sideways, the foundation moves with the earth,” Sound Seismic co-owner Leif Jackson said. “This big, massive object is not going to immediately move with the foundation. It’s going to kind of lag behind, and it’s going to lag behind when that foundation oscillates back in the opposite direction. So, the house and the foundation get out of synch, and it can get jolted off of the foundation.”

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Nisqually earthquake anniversary jolts memories

February 22, 2011

Issaquah is more prepared now than during 2001 roller

Then-Skyline High School senior Sean Edwards (left) and then-4-year-old sister Quinn leaned over to look inside the cracked asphalt Feb. 28, 2001, as dad Maury looks along a crack in the 1400 block of East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. File

The ground started to shake as Bret Heath stood upstairs at the old municipal public works office — the steel-frame and metal-clad structure used nowadays as the parks department maintenance facility — and in seconds, the building rolled, like a ship tossed on ocean swells.

“I remember thinking, ‘I wonder if this building is going to hold together,’” the longtime Public Works Operations and emergency management director said.

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Group plans upstream Issaquah Creek habitat restoration

February 1, 2011

Salmon and other creatures in the Issaquah Creek basin receive a boost soon from citizens and the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed.

The nonprofit organization has planned creek habitat enhancement projects for Feb. 5. Friends of the Cedar River Watershed needs Issaquah-area residents to participate in the effort.

The restoration is scheduled to take place inside the Log Cabin Reach Natural Area on a section of creek upstream from Issaquah and near the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill.

The daylong program is the inaugural Issaquah-area effort for the Seattle-based Friends of the Cedar River Watershed.

Friends of the Cedar River Watershed is in the process of expanding efforts to restore habitat and educate residents throughout the Cedar River and Lake Washington watersheds. The local project is a collaboration between the nonprofit organization and King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

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Number of returning coho salmon drops

October 19, 2010

Hatchery may not have enough eggs for schools, co-ops

In any given year, about 30,000 coho salmon pass through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard, swimming to rivers and tributaries like Issaquah Creek, on a mission to reproduce before they die.

This year, coho counts are down, with only 3,608 coho swimming through the locks, as of Oct. 6. The Muckleshoot Tribe recorded the last low of 6,000 coho in 2002 and the highest run of 47,000 coho in 2000.

Many of the fish that swim through the locks make their way to Issaquah Creek and the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. Others return to Bear Creek, the Cedar River and the other major streams of the Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish watershed.

As of Oct. 18, about 400 coho had arrived at the hatchery, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery Executive Director Gestin Suttle said.

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Battleground for Legislature runs through Issaquah

October 5, 2010

The battleground for control of the Legislature is on the shores of Lake Sammamish.

Republicans, re-energized after a decade of defeats and defections on the Eastside, hope to shift a handful of lakeside districts back into the GOP column. Incumbent Democrats promise difficult fights to hold the suburban territory in and near Issaquah.

Democrats hold sizeable majorities in Olympia. The party outnumbers Republicans 61-37 in the House of Representatives and 31-18 in the Senate. Gov. Chris Gregoire is also a Democrat.

The effort to change the political calculus is focused on House and Senate races in the 41st, 45th and 48th legislative districts — the upper-middle class communities arranged around Lake Sammamish.

“I think it’s probably a pretty safe bet that the Republicans will pick up some seats, but I don’t know how many,” Washington State University political science professor David Nice said. “My guess is that, no matter who ends up in majority status in either house of the Legislature that the majority is not going to be a very big one.”

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State closes lakes to salmon fishing due to low coho run

October 5, 2010

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed lakes Sammamish and Washington to salmon fishing, citing concerns about the limited number of coho salmon.

The salmon fishery on Lake Sammamish is closed until Nov. 30. The closure runs until Oct. 31 on Lake Washington.

The coho run is low and the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery may not collect enough fish to meet egg-take goals. The state said the lakes could reopen to salmon fishing if the run increases in the coming weeks.

Muckleshoot Tribe officials had counted 3,247 coho at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard by Oct. 3. Typical coho runs in the last decade included about 30,000 fish each year. Officials recorded the prior low of 6,000 coho in 2002. The largest-recorded run of 47,000 occurred in 2000.

Why do salmon counts vary from year to year?

October 2, 2010

NEW — 1 p.m. Oct. 2, 2010

Salmon populations have booms and busts, just like the stock market. And, like the market, some salmon are experiencing a recession of sorts — some of it due to natural causes, and others because of human-related factors.

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery docents learned about salmon population trends during a training session Sept. 11 in preparation for tours and Issaquah’s biggest festival of the year, Salmon Days.

“We’re always trying to give our docents a little something extra,” said Gestin Suttle, executive director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. “We’re always trying to learn more about the salmon. We always get questions that delve a little deeper into conditions.”

About 50 volunteers listened as Ed Connor, an aquatic ecologist with Seattle City Light, wheeled through a PowerPoint presentation and congratulated them on their perceptive questions regarding fish.

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State closes Lake Sammamish to salmon fishing due to low coho run

September 29, 2010

UPDATED — 2:10 p.m. Sept. 30, 2010

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to close lakes Sammamish and Washington to salmon fishing, citing concerns about the limited number of coho salmon.

The salmon fishery on Lake Sammamish is closed from Saturday until Nov. 30. The closure runs from Saturday until Oct. 31 on Lake Washington.

The coho run is low and the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery may not collect enough fish to meet egg-take goals. The state said the lakes could reopen to salmon fishing if the run increases in the coming weeks.

Muckleshoot Tribe officials had counted 2,552 coho at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard by Monday.

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