State predicts smaller chinook, coho salmon returns

March 6, 2012

State salmon fishery officials expect a smaller coho return to Puget Sound streams in the months ahead.

Overall, the forecast calls for 732,363 coho to return to local streams — or 249,000 fewer coho than the 2011 forecast.

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King County streamlines rules for wetlands

February 21, 2012

Builders in rural and unincorporated areas can purchase credits to offset construction-related damage to wetlands, after a King County Council decision Jan. 17.

Dow Constantine

County Executive Dow Constantine spearheaded a measure to enable builders to pay a fee, rather than completing projects in a process called mitigation, to compensate for damaged or destroyed wetlands.

The law requires builders to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands and other sensitive areas as much as possible. Mitigation is required if damage is unavoidable.

The legislation creates “mitigation credits” for builders to purchase to offset damage to wetlands. The county can then use the payments for “mitigation credits” to design, construct and maintain watershed restoration projects.

“This market-based tool is the first of its kind in the state, and will better protect our environment while providing options for the building industry,” Constantine said in a statement.

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Officials consider plastic bag ban for Issaquah

February 14, 2012

Officials intend to use Seattle ordinance as model

Canvas bags could turn into a more common sight in Issaquah checkout lanes soon.

The city is poised to join Bellingham, Edmonds, Mukilteo and Seattle to ban plastic bags at local retailers — to limit garbage headed for the King County landfill and reduce pollution in Puget Sound.

Though a decision on a plastic bag ban is months distant, the Council Utilities, Technology & Environment Committee plans to start collecting input from businesses owners and residents Feb. 16.

“To me, the beauty of it is, you get to your end objective, which is getting rid of plastic bags, and you’re not putting an undue, negative impact on the businesses in your community,” said Councilman Mark Mullet, a local merchant and the committee chairman.

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FISH elects officers for 2012

December 13, 2011

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery again elected Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger to lead the organization.

FISH also elected Norman “Crash” Nash as vice president, Mark Allen as treasurer and Darrell Wells as secretary. Each officer serves a one-year term.

FISH is a volunteer based nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the historic Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. FISH volunteers educate the community and visitors about the salmon lifecycle and encourage stewardship of the Puget Sound watershed.

Streamlined process for wetlands proposed

November 29, 2011

In the near future, builders in rural and unincorporated King County could purchase credits to offset construction-related damage to wetlands.

Under a plan proposed by County Executive Dow Constantine, builders could pay a fee, rather than completing projects in a process called mitigation to compensate for damaged or destroyed wetlands.

The law requires builders to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands and other sensitive areas as much as possible. Mitigation is required if damage is unavoidable.

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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 earns spot on Outside magazine’s Best Towns list

September 13, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. Sept. 13, 2011

Issaquah is among 19 cities nationwide on Outside magazine’s Best Towns 2011 list.

The city and others on the list earned plaudits for access to outdoor recreation — Issaquah is described as “a Seattle-area hang-gliding mecca” — and, perhaps, more mundane attributes.

“Adventure amenities make a lot of towns seem dreamy,” notes the article in the October issue. “What sets these 19 burgs apart is their nod to reality: affordable homes, solid job prospects and vibrant nightlife. Start packing.”

Issaquah’s proximity to Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains turned out to be a selling point.

“As Boeing’s and Microsoft’s fastest-growing bedroom community, the former lumber town (pop. 23,200) has experienced a surge in out-of-towners in the past few years,” the article continues. “And for good reason: a 20-minute drive can put you in downtown Seattle or the oyster flats on Puget Sound. An hour away, there’s skiing in the Cascades, kayaking and rafting on the Class IV Skykomish River, and access to a half-dozen steelhead streams.”

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Issaquah resident fled 9/11 destruction in Manhattan

September 6, 2011

Dana Macario, now a wife, mother and Issaquah resident, resettled in Washington after escaping Lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. By Greg Farrar

The unbridgeable gulf separating days before 9/11 from days after runs along a Manhattan street named — as if by chance — Liberty.

The street slices across Lower Manhattan and presses close to the World Trade Center site.

Issaquah resident Dana Macario, 33, endured the initial confused, chaotic moments after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks along Liberty Street.

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Migrating chinook reach Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

August 30, 2011

The autumn salmon spawning season in Issaquah Creek started early Aug. 23 as chinook reached the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

Hatchery Foreman John Kugen spotted a pair of female chinook, or hens, in the creek just north of the bridge across Issaquah Creek on the hatchery grounds and alerted Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery Executive Director Jane Kuechle at about 9 a.m.

“I was here and I was kind of fiddling around the office and all of the sudden he popped his head and he said, ‘The chinook are here!’” she said.

The announcement came as a tour group explored the hatchery. Docents led the guests to the creek bank to see the fish.

“I’m just excited to see the fish come and for things to get started around here,” Kuechle said.

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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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