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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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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Save Lake Sammamish founder Joanna Buehler departs

January 3, 2012

 Joanna Buehler, founder and president of Save Lake Sammamish, has planted and kept runoff-filtering native wetland species on the lakeshore of her longtime South Cove home. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah trailblazer led efforts to protect lake from threats for decades

Joanna Buehler earned top honors for environmental efforts for decades spent on a difficult struggle to shield Lake Sammamish from constant pressures from a population boom occurring along the tree-lined shore.

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Save Lake Sammamish seeks board members

May 24, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. May 24, 2011

Save Lake Sammamish, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering a healthy ecosystem for the lake, seeks residents to serve as directors.

The volunteer organization has several openings on the board of directors. Save Lake Sammamish works alongside government agencies, community groups and other nonprofit organizations to preserve the lake, a valuable natural resource and recreational asset.

The board of directors is the driving force behind leading the activities. Members help to create, foster and advocate strategies to help guide Save Lake Sammamish.

The organization seeks applicants from a broad spectrum of experiences and interests. Contact Vice President Frank Lill at Save Lake Sammamish, PMB 2565, 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., Suite 2, Issaquah, WA 98027; or info@savelakesamm.org to learn more or apply.

Lake Sammamish level concerns homeowners

May 3, 2011

County announces plan to unclog lake-to-river transition

King County environmental managers plan to tackle the high water level in Lake Sammamish, after aquatic weeds and sediment clogged the outlet from the lake to the Sammamish River.

The problem — although centered at county-run Marymoor Park along the lake’s northern shore — reflects a common complaint among lakeside residents in Issaquah and Sammamish about the water level.

“It’s really important that we remove these things. Particularly at the north end up around Marymoor Park is a real problem, and it’s spread to the rest of the lake,” Save Lake Sammamish founder Joanna Buehler said. “For real control, you need everybody around the lake to work on it.”

The effort calls for yanking invasive plants, increased mowing near the transition zone from lake to river and enacting other steps along the lake in order to address levels along the shoreline.

County Executive Dow Constantine said the series of steps is necessary to reduce seasonal flooding along the lake.

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City celebrates Arbor Day at Ruth Kees Grove planting

April 20, 2011

Volunteers gather along Issaquah Creek on April 16 to observe Arbor Day. By Margaret Macleod

NEW — 4 p.m. April 20, 2011

Issaquah leaders gathered on a less-than-springlike day April 16 to observe Arbor Day and plant a grove to honor Ruth Kees and the community’s other top environmentalists.

Like the top environmental honor in the city, the grove is named for the late Kees. The bespectacled environmentalist fought for decades to protect Issaquah Creek, Tiger Mountain and the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer from development-related threats.

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Maureen McCarry receives city’s top environmental award

March 22, 2011

Maureen McCarry smiles March 21 as her husband Tom Knollmann and the City Hall audience applaud her for receiving the Ruth Kees Environmental Award. By Greg Farrar

The latest recipient of the top environmental honor in Issaquah acted as a guiding force — in public and behind the scenes — in the long-running effort to shape neighborhoods and preserve undeveloped land.

Leaders elevated Maureen McCarry into the pantheon alongside other important conservation activists, and bestowed the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community on the former councilwoman at a City Hall ceremony March 21.

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Maureen McCarry receives city’s top environmental honor

March 21, 2011

NEW — 8 p.m. March 21, 2011

The latest recipient of the top environmental honor in Issaquah acted as a guiding force — in public and behind the scenes — in the long-running effort to shape neighborhoods and preserve undeveloped land.

Leaders elevated Maureen McCarry into the pantheon alongside other important conservation activists, and bestowed the Ruth Kees Environmental Award for a Sustainable Community on the former councilwoman at a City Hall ceremony Monday night.

Mayor Ava Frisinger cited the countless hours McCarry contributed to forge agreements outlining construction in the Issaquah Highlands and Talus, preserve forested Park Pointe near Issaquah High School and strengthen tree-protection rules.

The mayor and Council President John Traeger selected McCarry for the honor after receiving numerous nominations for the former councilwoman, a Squak Mountain resident.

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Updated shoreline rules outline creek and lakeside construction

December 7, 2010

City aims to balance ecology and expansion

The latest city shoreline rules should help planners to determine appropriate creek and lakeside areas for construction, plus offer more clarity to landowners along Issaquah Creek and Lake Sammamish.

The city Planning Policy Commission has OK’d the updated Shoreline Master Program — the guide to construction along Lake Sammamish, and the main stem and East Fork of Issaquah Creek. The measure heads to the City Council for adoption.

“The objectives are to allow redevelopment and expansion,” city Environmental Planner Peter Rosen said. “But, then, there’s also some requirements to improve the existing conditions along the lake.”

The updated shoreline regulations apply to land located within 200 feet of the shorelines, plus associated wetlands.

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Greenway pioneer receives top environmental honor

July 13, 2010

Mountains to Sound Greenway pioneer Ted Thomsen — “the unsung hero” behind the 101-mile greenbelt — received the highest environmental honor in Issaquah in a City Hall ceremony last week.

The late Thomsen received the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community — the prize named for the late environmentalist, a tireless advocate for open space preservation. The city selected Thomsen for the yearslong effort to establish a billboard-free greenbelt from Seattle to Central Washington along Interstate 90.

Cynthia Welti, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust executive director, nominated Thomsen for the honor.

“He was essential to bringing the greenway vision to fruition,” she recalled in the nomination. “Ted is the unsung hero of the launch of this tremendous coalition effort.”

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