Seminario gratuito en español sobre el manejo de malas hierbas

nweedsEl Programa de Control de Malas Hierbas Nocivas del Condado de King, en colaboración con Seattle Public Utilities, está ofreciendo un seminario gratuito en español sobre el manejo de malas hierbas. Este taller es perfecto para profesionales del paisaje y el jardín, así como cualquier persona interesada en las prácticas del paisaje sostenibles y el control de malas hierbas. ¡Nos encantaría verlo allí!

Fecha: 4 de octubre de 2017
Hora: 5-8:30pm
Precio: ¡Gratis!
Cómo registrarse: Regístrese en línea
Lugar: TAF Bethaday Community Learning Space, 605 SW 108th St, Seattle WA 98146  (Cerca de las rutas de autobús 128 y 131)

TAF Bethaday Community Learning Space_map

Créditos de recertificación de licencia de plaguicidas de WSDA están en trámite. ¡Comida y bebida gratis!

Para más información, por favor comuníquese con Nate Dolton-Thornton (206-263-5766 o ndolton-thornton@kingcounty.gov) o Sasha Shaw (206-477-4824 o sasha.shaw@kingcounty.gov).

¡Gracias!

(Abajo, la misma información en inglés)

The King County Noxious Weed Control Program, in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, is offering a free Spanish-Language Weed Management Recertification Seminar. This training is perfect for landscape and garden professionals, as well as anyone interested in sustainable landscape practices and weed control. We’d love to see you there!

Date: October 4, 2017
Time: 5-8:30pm
Price: Free!
How to sign up: Register online
Location: TAF Bethaday Community Learning Space, 605 SW 108th St, Seattle WA 98146 (Close to bus routes 128 and 131)

TAF Bethaday Community Learning Space_map

WSDA Pesticide License Recertification credits are pending. Free refreshments!

For more information, please contact Nate Dolton-Thornton (206-263-5766 or ndolton-thornton@kingcounty.gov) or Sasha Shaw (206-477-4824 or sasha.shaw@kingcounty.gov).

Thank you!

New ESJ iMap tool brings together community and capital projects for employees

By Lilia Cabello Drain, Communications Specialist, Department of Executive Services

Back in 2013, the Water and Land Resources Division wanted to find a more efficient way of determining the characteristics and statistics of the populations they serve or would impact when doing capital projects. The information is critical to supporting King County’s equity and social justice goals and better project or program outcomes.

Developed over the last three years through a partnership with King County GIS Center, the Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) iMap application was developed to allow employees to access and view census and demographic data with a geographic context for their projects, programs and reporting.

esj-imap-2017
A screen shot of the ESJ iMap.

“If employees want to know about capital projects and programs that the Department of Natural Resources and Parks is providing to the public, they can see it here,” said Larry Jones, Senior Water Quality Planner in the Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP).

Using a database called PRISM that draws information uploaded by program managers on Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), the map also shows many relevant spatial data layers about stormwater, flooding, land use, administrative areas and King County demographics data, including age, sex, income, race and language.

While an exciting accomplishment, Larry explains that initially people were unsure how this tool could benefit their work. Therefore, it was necessary to secure employee input and involvement, along with management buy-in, and provide demonstrations of the tool’s ESJ relevance. So in 2016, Harkeerat Kang, GIS Application Developer, and Larry began showcasing the tool.

“We basically just went out on the road and did the ‘circuit’ to sell it,” he said. “We shared it with other teams and groups within DNRP.”

Larry Jones and Harkeerat Kang worked together on the ESJ iMap tool.

Since then, people have recognized the value of the tool and are investing in it by providing project data and identifying relevant information, thus making the ESJ iMap tool more relevant and an evolving mechanism, meaning it could eventually expand to include more data and projects.

“We met with Public Health — Seattle & King County to consider adding their projects into the iMap,” said Larry. “There’s also a big move to reach out to school districts and include their data, but currently the application isn’t designed for that.”

“We still have a lot of homework to do, more people to accommodate and other relationships to pursue, but right now we want to get program managers and employees who do any manner of community outreach using the system,” he adds.

Getting his start in Metro in 1982 before eventually finding his way into the Water and Land Resources Division, Larry works on water quality projects, and coordinates ESJ activities for the Water and Land Division within DNRP. He enjoys his work and sharing the impact of this project with the people around him, looking forward to how King County can continue expanding on its promise to prioritize equity and social justice.

“We don’t know all the opportunities this tool will allow us to pursue, but we can guess some by putting on our residents’ hats,” he said. Currently project managers are using it to assess if certain communities are being inequitably impacted or what languages should information be translated in to better serve all residents.

Harkeerat agrees. Beginning with King County in 1999 as a DNRP intern, she has been in her current role since 2006 and is passionate about working on issues of equity and social justice.

“I love what I do, King County has been very good to me,” she said. “So I get the importance of working on equity because King County has definitely been equitable to me.”

The ESJ iMap tool makes a clear connection between the community and King County employees who use it, providing both a direct link between project management decisions and how they will impact real people, residents and the environment.

It is still in development, with a final rollout intended for later this year or early 2018. As employees use the tool, it will continue to be revised with new features or data to make it more robust, responsive and relative to King County projects and programs. Training will begin in late 2017 with project managers and outreach employees in DNRP initially. Eventually other employees and everyday King County residents will be able to examine or assess who a project will impact, the result of long range project plans, the proximity and type of nearby projects and how best to work with specific communities to successfully complete a project.

King County employees can access the ESJ iMap tool here. For more information about the ESJ iMap project, contact Larry Jones at Larry.Jones@kingcounty.gov or Harkeerat Kang at Harkeerat.Kang@kingcounty.gov.

 

New smolt slide will help salmon navigate aging Locks

smolt-slide-locks-2017
New “smolt slides” will help young salmon get through the Ballard Locks more safely on their way to the ocean

The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) recently installed a new kind of “smolt slide” to help juvenile salmon pass through Seattle’s Hiram M. Chittenden (Ballard) Locks on their out-migration to the ocean.

Compared to older versions, the new slides are safer for the salmon and safer for staff to install. They also include improved sensors to detect fish passing through the facility, providing data critical to understanding how salmon migrate in and out of WRIA 8 (the Lake Washington/Cedar/ Sammamish Watershed) and what may help their recovery.

The work is part of a Planning Assistance to States Agreement between King County (via WRIA 8) and the Corps that shares costs related to monitoring Chinook salmon migration in the watershed. It includes installing detectors at the Locks, capturing and tagging juvenile Chinook, and determining juvenile salmon survival rates through the Lake Washington system.

Salmon face challenges navigating the 100 year-old Locks on their way out of and back into the watershed and the smolt slides are one step toward an easier passage for these iconic and threatened fish.

More news about the Ballard Locks

Hiram M. Chittenden-Ballard Locks Centennial Celebration
“One hundred years ago, The Locks and Ship Canal were built by Seattle and the Corps of Engineers as a commercial navigation route to develop the City of Seattle. Today the Ballard (Hiram M. Chittenden) Locks are the Nation’s busiest with over 40,000 vessels per year [passing through.] Boats ‘lock thru’ 24 hours a day, except during maintenance. In addition, a significant salmon migration passes through the Locks that can total over 100,000 salmon.”

Economic Impacts of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
“The Ballard Locks provide $1.2 billion a year in economic impact to our region according to a recent study by the McDowell Group, funded by maritime and industrial businesses, Port of Seattle, City of Seattle, and King County.  The report describes the benefits of reliable operation of the Locks, the potential losses in the event of a failure, and steps needed to repair the 100-year-old facility.”

“Happy 100th birthday, Ballard Locks. Hope you get the repairs you wished for” – KUOW News [AUDIO], June 27, 2017

“Ballard Locks Repairs” – KIRO7 News [VIDEO], June 27, 2017

Farmers, residents, fish and wildlife win in historic Snoqualmie Fish, Farm and Flood accord

On June 12, at the historic Carnation Farms – with it’s expansive views of the lush Snoqualmie Valley for a backdrop – King County Executive Dow Constantine met with the Snoqualmie Fish, Farm and Flood Advisory Committee that has spent more than three years forging the first major agreement in the county to strike a balance between farming interests and salmon recovery.

At the core of the Fish, Farm, Flood agreement is a series of immediate, mid-term, and long-term recommendations for action to address overall Snoqualmie Watershed goals.

“I gave the Fish, Farm and Flood Advisory Committee a difficult assignment: Overcome competing interests to achieve shared goals – and they delivered,” said Executive Constantine. “They produced recommendations that will help us restore salmon habitat, strengthen our agricultural economy, and reduce flood risks.”

Going beyond the decades of acrimony as a result of valuable, but often competing goals, the 14-member Advisory Committee has unanimously endorsed a package of 34 recommendations to address specific watershed goals and actions that will improve the watershed for people, businesses, and fish and wildlife.

Among the top priority actions are achieving less costly and more predictable drainage regulations for farmers, and increasing the pace of salmon recovery efforts in the Snoqualmie Valley. This work includes reexamining drainage and buffer regulations, and developing an agricultural land strategy for the valley.

The collaboration was the result of the King County Council adding a directive in the 2012 King County Comprehensive Plan update to create a watershed planning process for the Snoqualmie Watershed – primarily the lower 30 miles of the valley from Snoqualmie Falls north to the Snohomish County line. This area includes about 14,500 acres of the Snoqualmie Agricultural Production District.

The Advisory Committee has representatives from farming and agriculture, conservation, flooding, and salmon recovery interests, as well as tribal, state and local jurisdictions.

The lengthy timeframe for developing this accord was due in part to the fact that several advisory committee members were busy living with the issues they were addressing, including operating farms, completing habitat restoration work elsewhere in western Washington, responding to flooding, and other important tasks.

While the Committee’s report is the culmination of years of hard work, there is more to be done. Among the committee’s recommendations is creation of three task force groups to carry out follow-up work over the next three years.

Kirkland helps grow green shorelines program

bendich 5417
A beautiful view of the lake from a stunning natural shoreline.

On a beautiful morning in early May, the city of Kirkland announced it would be the first Washington community to sign up as a Green Shores™ for Homes (GSH) city. The announcement was made at the GSH-certified Bendich residence on Lake Washington, lush with native plants and featuring a small beach at the shoreline.

green-shores-before-2017
The Bendich property before the Green Shores for Homes makeover and after. The bulkhead was removed to create a more natural shoreline that is better for the environment and fish.

green-shores-2017

Green Shores™ for Homes, managed by Washington Sea Grant, is a voluntary, incentive-based program to encourage waterfront homeowners, contractors and governments to create sustainable (and salmon-friendly) shorelines for lake and marine shore properties. Often this involves leaving shorelines natural or removing bulkheads or other hard armoring materials.  gsh plaque

Improving lakeshore habitat for threatened Chinook salmon is a priority for salmon recovery in WRIA 8, the Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish watershed. In addition to their recreational, scenic, and shoreline protection benefits, natural shorelines provide much-needed food and shelter for salmon migrating through Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington on their way to the ocean.

Read more

King County swimming beach monitoring starts up – data and alerts available weekly

Summer is on the way (fingers crossed warm weather comes to stay sooner rather than later) and King County has begun its seasonal monitoring of freshwater swimming beaches to ensure they are safe for recreation.

Water samples are taken weekly at the freshwater swimming beaches listed below and analyzed for fecal coliform bacteria, toxins, water temperature, and harmful algal toxins.

Beach goers, swimmers, and science enthusiasts can sign up to receive weekly alerts and status updates about the freshwater beaches being monitored. Visit the King County Swimming Beach Monitoring Program website to subscribe. Monitoring results and closure information are posted weekly to the web page. There you can also find information about “swimmer’s itch,” toxic algae blooms and hazards to pets, plus combined sewer overflow locations and status and a link to marine beach monitoring performed by the Washington State Department of Ecology.

The Water and Land Resources (WLR) Division and Public Health – Seattle & King County work together on the program, with WLR managing the monitoring and analysis and Public Health being responsible for closing beaches when there is a risk to public health.

2017 swimming beaches monitored by King County

  • Andrews Bay – Seward Park
  • Beaver Lake Beach
  • Echo Lake
  • Enatai Beach
  • Gene Coulon
  • Green Lake Duck Island Launch
  • Green Lake – East
  • Green Lake – West
  • Groveland Park Beach
  • Hidden Lake
  • Houghton Beach
  • Idylwood Beach
  • Idylwood Creek
  • John’s Creek
  • Juanita Beach
  • Juanita Creek
  • Kennydale Beach
  • Lake Sammamish Beach
  • Lake Wilderness Beach
  • Luther Burbank Beach
  • Madison Park Beach
  • Madrona Beach
  • Magnuson Beach
  • Magnuson Beach Off Leash Area
  • Marina Park Beach
  • Matthews Beach
  • Mount Baker Beach
  • NE 130th Pl
  • Newcastle Beach
  • Pine Lake
  • Pritchard Island Beach
  • Rattlesnake Lake (monitored by Seattle Public Utilities)
  • Sammamish Landing Beach
  • Thornton Creek
  • Waverly Park Beach

 

Earth Week 2017: Celebrating science!

CELEBRATINGSCIENCE Instagram

Join us in celebrating science in the week leading up to Earth Day, April 22. Looking for a way to make a difference or pitch in? Check out our tips, volunteer events and green guidelines at our Earth Week Hub!

King County and its partners have committed to plant one million trees by 2020 as part of our Strategic Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for climate impacts. Trees store carbon and contribute to clean air and water, healthy habitat for salmon and other wildlife, and more livable communities. (If you want to help, here’s our video showing how to plant a tree.)

This type of commitment reflects why the Department of Natural Resources and Parks (DNRP) is King County’s first carbon neutral agency — meaning we reduce and remove more greenhouse gas emissions than we generate.

1703_8302w_dnrp_tshirt_final_design800.png

Science is at the bedrock of what we do here at DNRP. We are specialists in marine biology, nearshore ecology, environmental chemistry, limnology, toxicology, wildlife biology and biodiversity, microbiology, zoology and more. Our employees collect, analyze, model and interpret information that supports dozens of environmental programs, including those that address land use, habitat management, wastewater treatment, salmon and biodiversity, water resources, and surface water management.

To us, every day is Earth Day!

 

County floodplain managers work together to understand a fast-moving river

Tolt tour_San Souci neigbhorhood
(L-R) King County Flood Control District Executive Director Michelle Clark; River and Floodplain Management Senior Engineer Chase Barton; and Water and Land Resources Director Josh Baldi stand on the bank of the Tolt River and discuss channel migration.

Notes from the field

On a gray day last month, a small group of King County and King County Flood Control District (Flood District) employees stood on the forested edge of the Tolt River upstream of Carnation.

Geologically speaking, this is a young river – sinuous, fast-moving and largely unconstrained as it courses from its headwaters in the Cascades to its confluence with the wide, slow-moving Snoqualmie River.

Chase Barton, an engineer with the King County’s River and Floodplain Management (Rivers) Section in the Water and Land Resources Division (WLRD), looked out across the swirling water. “This portion is the most rapidly migrating river of those we manage in King County,” he said.

Sometimes, the County’s goal is to use engineering tools to manage a river. “Here,” Chase said, “our goal is to get people out of harm’s way.”

Tolt tour_San Souci neigbhorhood_3
Teresa Lewis, River and Floodplain Management Project Manager, discusses the Tolt River’s historical channel migration.

The field trip was an opportunity to show Michelle Clark, the Flood District’s executive director, and April Sanders, policy director for Flood District Supervisor Kathy Lambert, proposed changes based on public input to the draft Tolt River Capital Investment Strategy in advance of a meeting with the Flood Control District’s Executive Committee.

The tour – which also included WLRD Director Josh Baldi; Program and Policy Services Supervisor Brian Murray, Project Manager Teresa Lewis, and Communications Manager Leslie Brown, from the Rivers Section – provided a window into the work undertaken on behalf of the Flood District. Michelle, who became the Flood District’s executive director in December, asked several questions of the team, wanting to understand both the rationale and the cost implications behind various actions.

The Tolt is a short but powerful river, flowing some 30 river miles and dropping about 3,000 feet from its headwaters in the Cascade Mountains to the valley floor. Its upper reaches, through steeply forested incisions, are largely inaccessible. The lower six miles wend through a rural, woodsy part of north-central King County, an area with narrow roads and widely spaced homes.

Nearly continuous levees border the last two miles of the river, protecting more densely developed residential areas as the Tolt enters Carnation and flows into the Snoqualmie River.

Flooding has long been an issue along these lower six miles of the Tolt; many residences are at risk during even modest flood events. But also of concern is what is called channel migration, when the river changes course and cuts a new path, heedless, of course, of private property lines. Rivers staff recently completed a 98-page study of the Tolt’s channel migration patterns along its last six miles, a carefully researched analysis that looks at the river’s history, geology, the characteristics of channel migration and those areas where hazards are greatest.

Channel migration can happen slowly as a river moves across its floodplain. It can also occur in the blink of an eye, when, for instance, a geologic or weather event causes a river to suddenly change directions. The Tolt, as the study points out, “exhibits moderate to high lateral channel migration rates.” Avulsions – the sudden movement of a channel – “are a major component” of these migration hazards.

As a result of the Tolt’s dynamic nature, the county and the Flood District over the past decade have purchased several at-risk properties. Since 2007, when the Flood District was formed, 35 at-risk homes have been purchased along the Tolt, all from willing sellers. Forty percent of the funding for those purchases came from sources other than the Flood District. The draft Capital Investment Strategy identifies another 30 properties at risk of flooding and channel migration. County officials plan to hold a public meeting in Carnation on May 8 to discuss its channel migration analysis with neighbors, community leaders and others interested in the river’s hazards.

Tolt tour_San Souci neigbhorhood_4
(L-R) King County Flood Control District Executive Director Michelle Clark, River and Floodplain Management Senior Engineer Chase Barton, and Program and Policy Services Supervisor Brian Murray head back to the office after several hours on the banks of the Tolt River.

Back on the Tolt, Teresa noted the important role levees or revetments can play in public safety but added that such tools aren’t effective on rivers as active and energetic as the Tolt.

“For us, on this section of the Tolt upstream of Carnation, helping people out of harm’s way is our most cost-effective strategy,” she said. “This is a river that wants to move around.”

%d bloggers like this: