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.

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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.

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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.

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DOT fined for failing to protect salmon habitat

May 11, 2010

The state Department of Ecology fined the state Department of Transportation $11,000 last week after environmental officials said the transportation agency failed to take steps to protect Tibbetts Creek salmon habitat.

Officials at both agencies said no habitat damage occurred as a result of the infraction. Crews did not maintain fencing along state Route 900 to keep dirt and silt from entering Tibbetts Creek and tributary streams — habitat for several salmon species and steelhead trout. Silt can damage fish gills, settle into streambed gravel and damage sensitive habitat.

The fabric silt fence set up along the construction site traps mud, but allows water to pass through. Rules require the bottom of the fence to be anchored in the soil, but a Department of Ecology inspector found loose edges three times between last September and February along the mile-long construction project.

Jamie Holter, a DOT spokeswoman, said the fencing becomes loose due to rain and wind. Crews fixed each incident documented by the Department of Ecology within hours, Holter said.

Transportation officials could appeal the penalty to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board or the Department of Ecology.

The widening project has not recorded any other Department of Ecology infractions since work started on the last stretch in August 2008.

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Department of Ecology fines DOT for SR 900 roadwork

May 4, 2010

NEW — 3:17 p.m. May 4, 2010

State Department of Transportation officials failed to take steps to protect water quality during roadwork to widen state Route 900 in Issaquah, the state Department of Ecology announced Tuesday as the agency fined the DOT $11,000.

Transportation crews failed to maintain silt fencing along the mile-long project. The fabric silt fence traps mud, but allows water to pass through. Rules require the bottom of the fence to be anchored in the soil, but Department of Ecology inspectors found loose edges last September and again in February.

The project included work near Tibbetts Creek and tributary streams — habitat for several salmon species and steelhead trout. Silt damages fish gills, settles into stream gravel and damages habitat.

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Workers will close SR 900 ramp, lanes overnight Wednesday

April 28, 2010

NEW — 2 p.m. April 28, 2010

State Department of Transportation crews will close the off-ramp from westbound Interstate 90 to state Route 900 overnight Wednesday.

Workers will close the ramp from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Signs will direct drivers to the exit at West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

Crews 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. to 5 a.m. through Friday.

The work will take place as crews near completion of the yearslong effort to widen SR 900 and improve access for bicyclists and pedestrians through the corridor.

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Leon Kos will retire from city after 33 years

April 27, 2010

City administrator leaves behind a bigger, stronger Issaquah

Leon Kos

The past three decades can be attributed to — or blamed on — legendary City Clerk Linda Ruehle.

Issaquah needed a new city administrator in early 1977. Leon Kos, a recent Seattle transplant from California, applied for the job.

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Plan for overnight SR 900 closures

April 20, 2010

Crews will close lanes on state Route 900 overnight through April 23 for roadwork. Workers will close up to two lanes in both directions of SR 900 between Newport Way Northwest and Southeast 83rd Street from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The work will take place as crews near completion of the yearslong effort to widen SR 900 and improve access for bicyclists and pedestrians through the corridor.

The state Department of Transportation opened two new lanes on almost a mile of the road between Southeast 82nd Street and Newport Way Northwest on April 14. But workers will wait for drier, warmer weather to add the final layer of pavement and road striping. Expect more activity in the weeks ahead as workers complete the $33.9 million project.

Crews widened the road from Newport Way Northwest to the vicinity of Northwest Talus Drive and Southeast 82nd Street. Narrow shoulders bracketed the old, single-lane roadway.

Workers added a lane in each direction and a left-turn lane in the center of the roadway, as well as a bike lane and a raised sidewalk on the west side of the road.

Crews also installed a synchronized signal system to help smooth traffic for the 16,000 or so drivers who use the road every day. Workers replaced the culverts at Clay Pit Creek and the west fork of Tibbetts Creek as well. The updated culverts should improve fish passage through the waterways and protect against storm damage.

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Workers enter ‘home stretch’ in SR 900 construction

February 23, 2010


Afternoon traffic lines up on state Route 900 at Northwest Talus Drive on Feb. 17 as work on the road-widening project nears completion. By Greg Farrar

Frequent closures along a stretch of state Route 900 near Talus could be a memory by late spring, as workers complete the final piece in the yearslong widening project.

State Department of Transportation crews widened the road from Newport Way Northwest to the vicinity of Northwest Talus Drive and Southeast 82nd Street. Narrow shoulders bracketed the old, single-lane roadway.

Workers added a lane in each direction and a left-turn lane in the center of the roadway, as well as a bike lane and a raised sidewalk on the west side of the road.

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New Issaquah Creek flood gauge will eliminate a ‘blind spot’

November 24, 2009

City emergency planners will soon have a new tool to monitor rising flood waters: a new Issaquah Creek flood gauge. Read more

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