September 26th, 2012 Meeting
-- see also the
July 25, 2012 meeting summary
Welcome and Introductions:
Norah Gaynor Robinson (now at
– King County Parks; Christina Merten – FOMP Board Member and Marymoor
Community Gardeners representative; Michael Hobbs – FOMP Secretary and
2. Sammamish River Work
This has been a major topic at the last two meetings. Jim
and Judy Trockel brought the issue to the attention of the FOMP board on
August 21, after they observed contractors working in the slough, clearing
rocks from the river channel below the weir. FOMP has been trying to
research what is happening since then.
At issue is the flood control area which is adjacent to
the northwest corner of the off-leash dog area. A weir (half-sunken
dam) was rebuilt in the late 1990's, replacing an earlier structure.
The weir is designed to keep summer water levels artificially higher in Lake
Sammamish. The new weir has a narrow, deep channel in the middle that
was designed to allow cooler water from deeper in the river to pass
downstream of the weir in summer. High water temperatures can be
harmful to fish. In the winter, when water levels are higher, water
simply flows over the top of the weir. Below the weir is a long, wide
flood channel, designed to allow quick drainage of the lake following flood
events. The weir and the flood channel were constructed by the Corps
of Engineers, who maintain ultimate authority over river matters.
Around 2003, when Chinook Salmon were listed under the
Endangered Species Act, a new maintenance agreement was reached to modify
actions around the flood channel in ways that, it was hoped, would help
salmon. It is unclear how formalized that agreement was, and which
parties had sign-off on it. However, King County at that time, put in
place a policy of mowing the flood control channel on a four-year rotation,
while keeping at 10-foot swathe of willows along either side of the
low-water channel. Mowing of the flood control channel is necessary to
allow fast drainage of the lake. The four-year rotation would have the
county (which does the "maintenance" of the flood channel for the Corps) mow
one side of the channel the first year, and the other side of the channel
the third year.
In 2010-2011, there were meetings between the City of
Bellevue and a citizens group comprising lakeside homeowners. The
county was brought in to the discussions as well. The citizens group
was concerned that the mean water level was rising. While high and low
water levels were consistent with historical extremes, they were noting that
the lake was draining more slowly following flood events. They
complained about dock damage, and damage to retaining walls, but the other
issue for them was that if the mean lake level was determined to be higher,
then the location of the shoreline would be "redrawn", and portions of their
properties would legally become part of the lake.
Bowing to the pressure of these land owners, King
County issued a new policy for the flood control channel wherein both sides
of the channel would be mowed every year (a four-fold increase in mowing),
along with increased activity to remove potential blockages to flow.
The latter included removal of rocks that had been found which formed a
small weir downstream from the official weir. How, when, and by whom
this rock wall was constructed remains a mystery. It was this rock
removal that the Trockels observed in August.
A much more complete discussion of the history and
current situation is contained within a report on the feasibility of
removing sediment from the Sammamish River (an analysis that the county
agreed to do along with the other work). See
ftp://green.kingcounty.gov/transfer/stz_feasibilityStudy for an
extensive yet readable discussion of the issues. The 2011 letter that
details the new "maintenance" plan for the flood channel is included as
Appendix 1 in that document.
Greg has exchanged emails with John Engel who is
the engineering manager for the project, and John has provided some of the
relevant documents. There are references in the a 2003 document that imply
there were more meetings before a final policy would be adopted, but John
has not been able to locate any follow-up documents. That is, there
does not appear to be a final, official, salmon-friendly plan from 2003.
FOMP has also not received documents that should exist, including ESA
Troubling questions remain:
How did all of this occur (public meetings, new
policies, etc.) without FOMP getting even a hint of it?
How could the maintenance plan from 2003, which was
designed to be more salmon-friendly, be discarded without ESA
assessment? The current plan involves even more in-river work than
the pre-2003 plan, yet the county avers that no permitting is required
since they've always done work of similar nature in the flood channel.
How was the county able to remove the "illegal rock
weir" from the low water channel, by hand, during the salmon migration
window (Aug. 15 - Nov. 15) without a permit??? One might also ask
why these rocks were removed at all, given that the modeling done in the
feasibility study (link above) predicts the rock removal will have
little to no effect on flood channel flow rates.
3. CIP/Project/Facility Updates: Norah Gaynor
a) BirdLoop: The viewing mound or platform is complete, and
is greatly appreciated by the birdwatchers. Located just east of the
birding kiosk in the southeast corner of Lot G, the mound has a gentle slope
up to a viewing area at the top. The edges of the ramp and the viewing
area are protected with split-rail fence. Two benches have been
installed in the viewing area. To the south, you look over the East
Meadow to Mt. Rainier. To the east, you can view the entire model
airplane field. To the southwest, almost all of the off-leash dog area
is visible. This is a delightful spot that may be enjoyed by all park
Day of Caring - work parties over two days removed a lot of thistle,
Scotts Broom, and blackberries.
b) Community Gardens: MCGA is working on a Community
Partnership Grant from Parks to entirely replace old garden plumbing.
c) Interpretive Lot (Lot G): Split-rail fencing is 1/2
done and should be completed by mid-October. There will be two metal
gates allowing access to the maintenance area, with split-rail closing that
entire area off from the parking lot and the viewing mound.
d) SRA Boathouse Project: See
http://sammamishrowing.org/newboathouse Here's the current status:
All windows and doors installed, Garage bay doors installed, Sprinkler
system rough-in complete, Mezzanine footings poured, Outside retaining wall
structure complete, Siding installation begun (Tyvek weather wrap
installed), Mitigation planting completed, but mitigation areas will be
maintained. The goal is to get the building to a weather-proof state
before December. They are now beginning to plan fundraising efforts
for the last phase. Based on bids received, they need approximately
$650,000 to finish the entire project and be able to demolish the old
boathouse. Their annual gala is scheduled for November 30th at the
Redmond Town Center Marriott.
e) Lighting Projects: Cottage driveway - repair two.
MacNair Field - install three. North Athletic Fields - proposed new
lighting between Subway and soccer complex, and area that is currently
- Cirque du Soliel "Amaluna" show scheduled January 31 - March 24
- ADA Parking - Parks will be evaluating each parking lot to make
sure there is proper ADA parking provided. Currently, there are no
paved ADA spots in the grass and gravel lot (Lot B) north of the MacNair
Field, and Parks will be fixing that. Other lots may also need ADA
- Concert Venue - Dave Latrell has not requested an extension of
the contract for Marymoor concert promoter, so the county is looking for a
new promoter to take over the venue. The fencing, which is usually
removed in winter, will remain in place for a while so that prospective
concert promoters can visit the site and see the venue.
Next Meeting: Wednesday October 24, 2012, 7pm Marymoor
These notes do not constitute an official record of the
meeting. They may have inaccuracies and omissions. If anyone has
any complaints about the content of these notes, they should direct them to
Michael Hobbs at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and he will endeavor to correct them.