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

City Council bans plastic bags at Issaquah retailers

June 12, 2012

Ordinance goes into effect for most businesses in March 2013

Issaquah joined a string of cities along Puget Sound to outlaw plastic bags at local retailers June 4, after months of sometimes-acrimonious debate about adverse impacts to the marine environment and the regional economy.

In the end, concerns about the environment led the City Council to decide 5-2 to eliminate most retail uses for plastic bags. The legislation — and a 5-cent fee on paper bags — go into effect in March 2013 for most businesses.

The council listened to advocates from environmental groups and the plastics industry in public meetings throughout April and May, and then again before the decision.

The plastic bag ban sponsor, Issaquah Highlands entrepreneur and City Councilman Mark Mullet, presented the legislation as a way to reduce the estimated 10 million plastic bags the city sends to the King County landfill each year.

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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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State Department of Ecology scrutinizes proposed shoreline rules

May 29, 2012

The state Department of Ecology requested input from citizens as officials evaluate the city-developed plans for land along Issaquah Creek and Lake Sammamish.

The updated Shoreline Master Program is designed to guide construction and development for 12 miles along the creek and the lake. The agency is accepting public comments on the proposed rules until June 29.

The proposed rules combine local plans for future development and preservation, plus recent development ordinances and related permitting requirements. The plan is meant to minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses and protect public access to the shoreline.

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Gaining ground for Puget Sound by building rain gardens

April 17, 2012

12,000 Rain Gardens campaign aims to curb pollution, create beautiful landscapes

A completed rain garden must be maintained through ongoing mulching, weeding and watering as needed and the avoidance of fertilizer and pesticides. By Stewardship Partners

As more than 14 million pounds of toxins enter the Puget Sound each year, two Washington entities are working hard to curb the contamination — 12,000 times over.

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City Council delays decision on plastic bag ban

April 10, 2012

The decision to outlaw plastic bags at Issaquah businesses is on hold, City Council members decided April 2 after listening to appeals from environmentalists concerned about Puget Sound pollution and plastics manufacturers anxious about lost livelihoods.

The proposed plastic bag ban at local retailers is meant to limit garbage headed for the King County landfill and reduce marine pollution.

The measure stalled after speakers questioned the scope, timing and lack of input from the businesses affected by such a change. The council opted in a 6-1 decision to postpone further discussions on the plastic bag ban to a still-unscheduled meeting in May.

“It bothers me that in this last week that we were still turning over stones,” Councilwoman Stacy Goodman said before the meeting.

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FISH needs volunteers to prep hatchery before celebration

April 10, 2012

Before the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery celebrates 75 years, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery needs help preparing the hatchery grounds for a public celebration.

The nonprofit group is hosting a work party April 14 to spruce up the hatchery. The event starts at 9 a.m. and runs for the rest of the day. Participants can volunteer for the entire stretch or for a few hours.

Organizers asked for volunteers to report to the Steve Bell Theater at the hatchery, 125 W. Sunset Way.

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City Council delays decision on Issaquah plastic bag ban

April 2, 2012

NEW — 9:03 p.m. April 2, 2012

The decision to outlaw plastic bags at Issaquah businesses is on hold, City Council members decided Monday after a contentious discussion and appeals from environmentalists concerned about Puget Sound pollution and plastics manufacturers anxious about lost livelihoods.

The proposed plastic bag ban at local retailers is meant to limit garbage headed for the King County landfill and reduce marine pollution.

The measure stalled after speakers questioned the proposal’s scope and timing. The council opted in a 6-1 decision to postpone further discussions on the plastic bag ban to a still-unscheduled meeting.

The plastic bag ban proponent, Issaquah Highlands entrepreneur and Councilman Mark Mullet, said the legislation offers Issaquah a chance to reduce the estimated 10 million plastic bags the city sends to the King County landfill each year.

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Issaquah forum to focus on proposed plastic bag ban

March 27, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. March 27, 2012

Citizens can learn more about a proposed plastic bag ban at a forum Thursday.

The public forum includes the lead backer of the plastic bag legislation, Councilman Mark Mullet, and Robb Krehbiel, a program associate from the nonprofit organization Environment Washington. The forum is meant to educate participants about the impact of discarded plastic bags on Puget Sound wildlife.

The forum runs from 5-6 p.m. at Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, 1011 N.E. High St., No. 103. (Mullet is the proprietor of the ice cream shop and Zeeks Pizza.)

Issaquah could join Bellingham, Edmonds, Mukilteo and Seattle to ban plastic bags at local retailers — a step designed to limit garbage headed for the King County landfill and reduce pollution in Puget Sound.

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