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 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.
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.
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
Green Lake Duck Island Launch
Green Lake – East
Green Lake – West
Groveland Park Beach
Lake Sammamish Beach
Lake Wilderness Beach
Luther Burbank Beach
Madison Park Beach
Magnuson Beach Off Leash Area
Marina Park Beach
Mount Baker Beach
NE 130th Pl
Pritchard Island Beach
Rattlesnake Lake (monitored by Seattle Public Utilities)