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.

Read more

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.

Read more

City planners approve Hyla Crossing extension

March 22, 2011

City planners approved a request March 4 to allow Rowley Properties until 2014 to develop the Hyla Crossing area near Interstate 90 and the base of Cougar Mountain.

The city approved the initial plan in July 1998. The approval remained valid for a decade. Rowley Properties requested a three-year extension, and in March 2008, the City Council extended the deadline to July 2011.

The developer sought and received another three-year extension for the master site plan. Now, the plan is valid until July 2014.

Hyla Crossing has been approved for about 620,000 square feet of commercial use on about 45 acres.

Some of the area — including a Hilton Garden Inn and a Chevrolet dealership — already came to fruition. The approved plan also includes office buildings and parking structures.

Most of the property is zoned for intensive commercial use, and a small portion along Tibbetts Creek is zoned for professional office use.

Hyla Crossing is also part of a long-term effort to redevelop the city’s 915-acre business district.

Rowley Properties requests Hyla Crossing extension

March 8, 2011

The city could extend the deadline on a key plan for commercial property wedged between Interstate 90 and the base of Cougar Mountain.

Rowley Properties has asked the city to extend the approval period for the master site plan, or overarching blueprint, for Hyla Crossing until July 2014.

The city approved the plan in July 1998. The approval remained valid for a decade. Rowley Properties requested a three-year extension, and in March 2008, the council extended the deadline to July 2011.

Now, the developer is seeking another three-year extension for the master site plan.

Hyla Crossing has been approved for about 620,000 square feet of commercial use on about 45 acres.

Some of the area — including Hilton Garden Inn and a Chevrolet dealership — already came to fruition. The approved plan also includes office buildings and parking structures.

Most of the property is zoned for intensive commercial use, and a small portion along Tibbetts Creek is zoned for professional office use.

Hyla Crossing is also part of a long-term effort to redevelop the 915-acre business district.

Issaquah braces for rain-soaked winter, creek floods

November 2, 2010

City completed projects to reduce risk since last flood

Mike Crossley (yellow vest) works in the HAM radio communication station during a Community Emergency Response Team flood drill. By Autumn Monahan

January rain turned placid Issaquah Creek into a debris-filled torrent in early 2009 — and emergency planners hope fresh memories of the flood prompt residents to prepare for the rain-soaked winter on the horizon.

Long before fall rain blanketed the area, Issaquah and King County emergency planners had prepared to respond to Issaquah Creek flooding.

Meteorologists predict La Niña conditions — colder-than-normal temperatures and greater-than-normal rain- and snowfall — in the months ahead. The combination has emergency planners concerned about rain-gorged Issaquah Creek and the potential for disaster.

“If you look at Issaquah Creek now, you think, ‘Oh, that’s a nice, pretty little creek.’ It can turn into a roaring monster pretty quick,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said last week.

The city has completed a series of flood-control projects in the 21 months since the most recent flood, including a high-profile floodplain restoration effort at Squak Valley Park North.

Read more

Plan recommends tall buildings in Central Issaquah

November 2, 2010

City task force re-envisions 915-acre business district

Issaquah in the decades ahead could be punctuated by tall buildings — some as high as 150 feet — and arranged around a greenbelt and pedestrian paths.

The suggestion from the Central Issaquah Plan Advisory Task Force is included in a proposal for the 915-acre area straddling Interstate 90 from the far edge of the city to Northeast Gilman Boulevard. The group has offered a bold plan to transform acre upon acre of strip malls and parking lots into dense neighborhoods bordered by parks and linked by mass transit.

The city rolled out the proposal Oct. 27, after the task force logged almost 1,000 hours across 13 months to prepare the plan. If the city decides to implement the plan, any results could be decades distant.

The plan re-envisions Central Issaquah as a blend of businesses and residences ringed by a “green necklace” of parks and trails. The task force studied redevelopment efforts in nearby cities for inspiration, but members said the result is tailored to Issaquah.

Read more

Plan for overnight state Route 900 closures

August 2, 2010

NEW — 1 p.m. Aug. 2, 2010

Plan ahead overnight closures as crews finish striping state Route 900.

Drivers can expect single-lane closures on eastbound and westbound state Route 900 from 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. Monday night through Thursday morning.

The westbound Interstate 90 off-ramp to state Route 900 closes at 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The state Department of Transportation plans to detour drivers the exit at West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

The striping comes as the DOT completes a long-running effort to widen state Route 900 through Issaquah. Work on the $33.9 million project started in August 2008.

Read more

Issaquah, Tibbetts creeks monitored for growth impacts

July 13, 2010

The federal government awarded almost $1 million to King County last week to monitor Issaquah Creek and other salmon-bearing streams.

The county intends to use the federal dollars to monitor up to 50 sections of streams in the Sammamish watershed, as well as 10 Environmental Protection Agency sites. The watershed encompasses numerous streams — including Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks, as well as other smaller creeks draining to the east and west shores of Lake Sammamish.

The grant funds creek monitoring for the next four years. Scientists intend to examine the impact of growth on the watershed and determine how to best manage the waterways.

King County received $995,716 from the EPA to supplement the $335,933 the county has pledged to the project. The federal agency announced the recipients July 6.

EPA leaders characterized the local grant as part of a regional effort to improve water quality in Puget Sound.

“Puget Sound is our region’s icon,” Dennis McLerran, the regional EPA administrator in Seattle, said in a news release. “Every grant dollar we’re announcing today directly supports the goal of a healthy Puget Sound by 2020. We have a strong team working for progress we can all be proud of.”

The agency received more than 100 applications, and awarded almost $30 million to address industrial contamination, urban pollution and habitat loss in the sound.

The grants fund projects to remove invasive species from local watersheds, improve salmon migration and increase fish population, purchase ecologically sensitive habitat and educate Puget Sound-region residents about ways to reduce their environmental footprint.

“This funding helps us fulfill our commitment to environmental stewardship while expanding our partnerships across the Puget Sound region,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “By partnering with the EPA and other agencies, we are getting more accomplished for fewer taxpayer dollars.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

EPA awards almost $1 million to monitor Issaquah Creek, other streams

July 7, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. July 7, 2010

The federal government awarded almost $1 million to King County on Tuesday to monitor Issaquah Creek and other salmon-bearing streams.

The county intends to use the federal dollars to monitor up to 50 stream reaches in the Sammamish watershed, as well as 10 EPA sites. The watershed encompasses numerous streams — including Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks, as well as other smaller creeks draining to the east and west shores of Lake Sammamish.

The grant funds creek monitoring for the next four years. Scientists intend to examine the impact of growth on the watershed and determine how to best manage the waterways.

Read more

Workers will close exit to SR 900 overnight Wednesday

May 12, 2010

NEW — 2:25 p.m. May 12, 2010

State Department of Transportation crews will close the off-ramp from westbound Interstate 90 to state Route 900 from 8 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday. Signs will direct drivers to the exit at West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

Workers will also close up to two lanes in both directions of SR 900 between Newport Way Northwest and Southeast 83rd Street from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. through Friday.

The transportation agency opened almost a mile of widened lanes between Southeast 82nd Street and Newport Way Northwest last month. The stretch carries about 16,000 vehicles per day.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »