City receives $600,000 grant for creek restoration

December 17, 2013

The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Partnership recently awarded more than $42 million in grants to organizations in the state for projects that restore and protect salmon habitat, helping bring salmon back from the brink of extinction.

Issaquah was awarded a $600,000 grant to restore Issaquah Creek at Confluence Park.

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From Issaquah Creek to Puget Sound

June 28, 2012

A Puget Sound Starts Here badge on a storm drain in downtown Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

Puget Sound starts in Issaquah — among other places — and problems in local streams can impact the sound’s overall health.

Glance at any storm drain in downtown Issaquah, and the connection between runoff from city streets and Puget Sound comes into focus.

“Puget Sound Starts Here” read placards about the same size as a deck of cards.

The shortest distance between Issaquah and Puget Sound is about 15 miles, separated by open spaces set aside for conservation and acres sealed beneath concrete. The actual division between suburb and sound is shorter.

Curbside storm drains throughout Issaquah drain to Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks, and then into Lake Sammamish. The lake is connected through a broad, interconnected watershed to Puget Sound.

“It’s all of us that live in the watershed,” said Michael Grayum, director of public affairs for the Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency formed to spearhead cleanup. “The work of the Puget Sound Partnership goes from the snowcaps to the whitecaps, and everything is connected to Puget Sound in between.”

Many sources of pollutants in Puget Sound exist far from the shoreline.

The most common way toxic chemicals reach Puget Sound is through polluted surface runoff from residential, commercial and industrial lands. Untreated runoff sluices into freshwater lakes, streams and then drains into Puget Sound.

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Governor endorses former Issaquah legislator for secretary of state

June 22, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 22, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire on Wednesday endorsed Kathleen Drew, a onetime Issaquah state senator and a former aide to the governor, for secretary of state.

The governor announced the endorsement of Drew, a fellow Democrat, less than a month after Drew earned the state Democrats’ endorsement in the race to succeed retiring Secretary of State Sam Reed.

“Kathleen’s experience in the Legislature and in the Governor’s Office make her well suited to be secretary of state,” Gregoire said in a statement. “She has my support and my vote.”

Other Democrats in the race for secretary of state include former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and Puyallup state Sen. Jim Kastama. Though the candidates all appear on the August primary ballot, only Drew earned the party’s nod. Read more

Kathleen Drew, former Issaquah legislator, receives Democrats’ endorsement for secretary of state

June 3, 2012

NEW — 12:30 p.m. June 3, 2012

Kathleen Drew, a onetime Issaquah state senator and a former aide to Gov. Chris Gregoire, received state Democrats’ endorsement in the race to succeed Secretary of State Sam Reed.

Drew received the nod at the state party convention June 2 after outpolling former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and Puyallup state Sen. Jim Kastama among party activists. Though the candidates all appear on the August primary ballot, only Drew earned the party’s nod.

The secretary of state serves as the top elections official in Washington. The office also handles registrations for corporations and charities.

The incumbent secretary of state, Reed, is a Republican and plans to retire.

Drew served as a representative for Issaquah and other Eastside communities in the mid-1990s.

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Kathleen Drew, former Issaquah lawmaker, enters secretary of state race

November 22, 2011

Kathleen Drew

Kathleen Drew, a onetime Issaquah state senator and a former aide to Gov. Chris Gregoire, entered the race Nov. 14 to succeed retiring Secretary of State Sam Reed.

Drew, 51, served as a representative for Issaquah and other Eastside communities in the mid-1990s. In the Legislature, she crafted a tough ethics law for public employees — a national model designed to tamp down on conflicts of interest in state government — and led the effort to protect the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery from budget cuts.

“My strength is really that I’m an experienced public service manager on extremely complex issues at the state level,” she said in a pre-announcement interview.

Drew later served in Gregoire’s administration, initially as a policy adviser focused on the environment and then on general government issues. In the environmental role, she crafted the legislation to establish the Puget Sound Partnership, a regional effort to clean up Puget Sound.

Drew left Gregoire’s office last month to serve as a policy adviser at the state Department of Enterprise Services — a super-agency responsible for handling payroll and personnel, as well as managing contracts, real estate and supplies.

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State seeks veterans to spearhead Puget Sound cleanup

September 18, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 18, 2011

The state is seeking to enlist military veterans to spearhead the effort to protect and restore Puget Sound.

The state ecology and veterans affairs agencies seek to hire veterans for the Puget SoundCorps, a branch of the Washington Conservation Corps.

State legislators created the program earlier in the year to restore, protect and preserve the sound.

Puget SoundCorps, a special AmeriCorps crew, is meant to aid the Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency, to return the sound to a healthy condition by 2020.

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Issaquah, Tibbetts water quality is good, but concerns remain

August 23, 2011

Michael Friel, 10, brushes dirt off a curb, as his dad Mike (left), Molly Caskey and her son Ian, 10, glue the back of a Puget Sound Starts Here tile to glue next to a storm drain in the Issaquah Highlands. By Greg Farrar

The creeks crisscrossing Issaquah remain in good condition, despite increased construction nearby, a population boom in the surrounding watershed and, alongside both developments, more potential for pollution.

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Planners propose 11 projects to restore chinook, kokanee habitat

August 23, 2011

On the East Fork of Issaquah Creek at Third Avenue Northeast and Northeast Creek Way, plans call for the rockery bank wall to be removed and a log weir to be created. By Greg Farrar

Creeks leading to Lake Sammamish could serve as staging areas in the years ahead for a bold plan to restore salmon habitat.

The regional Lake Sammamish Kokanee Work Group has proposed 11 projects in Issaquah and Sammamish to restore habitat for chinook salmon — a species protected under the Endangered Species Act — and dwindling Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon.

The once-abundant kokanee has declined in recent decades, perhaps due to construction near creeks, increased predators, disease or changes in water quality. Scientists estimated the total 2010 run at 58 fish, including the 40 kokanee spawned at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery in a last-ditch effort to save the species.

The proposed projects range from colossal — such as rerouting Laughing Jacobs Creek through Lake Sammamish State Park — to small — adding plants in the Lewis Creek delta, for instance.

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State seeks adults to aid conservation projects

August 16, 2011

The state Department of Ecology needs 245 people between the ages of 18 and 25 to plant native shrubs and trees, restore salmon-bearing streams, respond to emergencies and more.

The agency is seeking applicants to the Washington Conservation Corps, a program to put young adults, including military veterans, on the job at projects in 16 counties statewide.

For the 2011-12 service year, the Department of Ecology intends to hire 150 Washington Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members using a $2 million AmeriCorps grant from the state Commission for National and Community Service.

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City gets conservation grants

March 23, 2010

City Council members accepted a pair of King Conservation District grants to improve Pickering Garden and mark storm drains. Read more

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