New smolt slide will help salmon navigate aging Locks

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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

Kirkland helps grow green shorelines program

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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