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Patrick
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Nice to see the PI do the story. The same thing is happening in the creeks in Des Moines and Burien. We keep filling in the wet lands which worked as a natural filter and building roads, parking lot and run ways and all the copper brake dust, oil, bug and weed killer are washed into the creeks and streams with the first rains and killing our Coho who are triggered to head up those creeks and streams with the first rains. The Chum are still doing good because by the time they head up the streams and creeks have had time to flush themselves out. Of course over time those same toxic brews are slowly killing of the Sound but at a slower rate. If we humans keep building in wet lands and around rivers our way of life in the Sound area will slowly go down with the loss of fish and sea life. It one of the reasons some are fighting the building of the third run way. The whole airport was built in the middle of the Miller Creeks water shed and now they want to tear out more of the wet lands and build the run way right up to Miller creek itself. This give no time for the Copper for the airplane brakes to go any where but the river.Building wet lands down in Auburn will not help Miller Creek or the damage to the Sound. Once again well done story I just hope that people read it and think about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yea, sounds like you're familiar with Millers Creek, etc. I grew up in Normandy Park and I used to fish Miller Creek through the park when I was 5+. It's a little creek, but as a five year old...it was huge. My point is that the creak used to be plentiful with small trout...now there's nothing.

- DW
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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The problem with using wetlands for toxic removal is you end up with toxic wetlands. And I have to agree about Miller Creek, having an airport encroach on your headwaters is a death knell. And similar for Northgate Mall on the headwaters of Thornton Creek.

Basically, we either need to develop methods of treating run off before they enter the stream, or kiss off urban streams for salmonids. And it would be a miracle if we could pretreat that heavily.

Imagine the effect that water that could kill adults would do to eggs and fry?

This whole urban stream restoration boondoggle was started by citizen interest. I know of few fisheries people that thought it reasonable. Hey, I think that urban creeks should look good, but don't expect them to have fish or other wild critters besides rats.

Rob
 

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I do have to agree that it's fair to ask how well we're spending 26 million dollars to restore creeks that will likely never contribute very much to salmon recovery. The the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board will spend about $7 million this year in the entire Snohomish Basin, a system that has the potential to contribute a hell of a lot more salmon production than say Longfellow or Thorton Creeks. The sad fact is that many Seattle citizens, mostly middle and upper middle class, are using salmon recovery efforts and dollars to restore and preserve green-belts in their neighborhoods. Maybe that's a good thing, but how much it will help salmon is a very open question.

That said, it certainly is important to find out what is going on here and try to do something about it. After all if the water is killing coho, how healthy can it be for everything else, including us? And the real take-home message is that we need to seriously consider how many more streams we can afford to "urbanize." It might be one thing to give up on a system like Thorton and move on, but let's try to save what we do have left.

Small streams ARE very important. Griffin Creek, a tributary to the lower Snoqualmie, is not too dissimilar from at least the likely historical conditions of Longfellow or Thorton Creeks. Griffin still produces 20% of the coho for the whole Shohomish Basin, 2% of the coho for the entire Puget Sound.

Out there in the Snoqualmie Valley, between Duvall and Fall City, just a few minutes east of Redmond, Griffin Creek is right in the development crosshairs. That's just one example. This area is growing and growing fast, threatening scores of important streams and wetlands, spawning and rearing habitat for salmon and steelhead.


An ounce of preservation is worth a ton of restoration, at considerably lower expense.
 

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I am currently working on a project addressing this issue with Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group. I'm not sure if you guys have ever heard of the Grate Mate project started by Planet CPR. www.planetcpr.org/aboutgratemates.html
Anyway, Grate Mates are essentially sock filters that are installed into storm drains, and are capable of catching approxiamtely half of all sediment, oils, and other pollutants before entering the watershed. The downfall is that they cost $100 a piece, and need to be replaced each year. However, $50 of the cost is tax-deductible for the business, and $20 is given as an award to the volunteer group who will install and remove the filters.
We are currently working on a pilot project in Mt Vernon, to protect the skagit and its tribs from stormwater, by trying to encourage businesses to purchase Grate Mates for their parking lots. I know that the City of Tacoma has worked with Grate Mates in the recent past. If any of you guys are business owners or work for a business that would be interested in this type of project, you should definetely get in touch with Planet CPR. This is a great way to significantly improve water quality in urban streams, and since students groups are used as volunteers, it is a great way to introduce students to issues affecting salmon habitat and get them involved.
 

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Maybe the money to restore urban streams is not well-spent, but doesn't it come out of a different agency's budget than money spent on preservation/restoration of rural streams? In other words, we Seattleites may be fools for spending money to restore in-city streams, but if we didn't spend that money it's not like it's automatically going to go to someplace like Griffin Creek, is it? Or are the urban stream restoration dollars actually competing for rural stream preservation/restoration dollars?
 

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Come on Ray, I think you're being unfair to the Seattle residents that are improving their community and environment by trying to restore urban creeks.

The urban Seattle creeks that are the subject of restoration projects, Thorton, Longfellow, and Ravenna creeks, run through highly populated areas. Of course they will be expensive to restore as salmon habitat. But, will salmon habitat be improved by “daylighting” Thorton? Yes! Local citizens who feel a responsibility to preserve the ecosystem in their own area are driving these projects. I only wish more communities in Washington shared this feeling of responsibility to the environment that Seattle residents do. And, just like Seattle citizens should focus on Seattle creeks, Falls City citizens should focus on restoring/preserving their creeks (like your example of Griffin). Frankly, it's clear by their tolerance of development, (and by their choice of congresswoman), that the majority of Duvall/Falls City residents (and for that matter most other suburbanites around Seattle) don't give a damn about the environment or salmon habitat like Griffin creek. Seattlites actually care about their local streams. If salmon habitat in the suburbs is lost then it's not the fault of Seattlites; it's the fault of the local citizens. By the way, just what do you think a developer in Falls City would tell me, a tree-hugging Seattlite, if I suggested protection, rather than the development of Griffin Creek? He'd tell me to mind my own damn business and go back to Seattle.

In reality, the blame for environmental destruction is irrelevant, as once it happens it affects everybody. So, you're point that money would be better spent other places than Thorton creek is valid. However if good per dollar is your goal, then what's to say that the most productive environmental projects per $$$ spent deals with salmon restoration at all? I’d say there's probably a hell of a lot of streams in the Amazon basin that could use the money more than the Snohomish system could.

Ideally, as a Seattle resident I would like to focus on how I can improve my local ecology and I would expect others in other areas to do the same. You imply that the Seattlites who devote their resources to local projects (to "preserve green-belts in their neighborhoods") are being selfish because their money would be better spent on other projects. If it's selfish to want to improve the environment in your own back yard then I certainly wish more suburbanites in Snohomish Co and Farmers/irrigators in the Yakima valley were that kind of selfish!
 

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Native and O Mykiss,

Both your points are well taken (though I would admittedly guess that at least some of the money Seattle is spending is coming from the same pool of federal money that the SRFB is using). I should have been more careful in how I worded my post (I usually try harder, but I was in a hurry to get out the door when I posted). As I said and should have made clearer, preserving green belts and aquatic habitats in Seattle is quite worthwhile, and I applaud SPU and whatever citizens are behind this effort. I was just trying to make the point that the effort is likely peripheral at best to the larger region-wide effort to recover healthy salmon populations, and we should keep that in mind. (If Thorton Creek were somehow restored to its full historical condition and productivity, it still would probably not make much of a dent in overall salmon recovery, compared to like efforts in the Snohomish, or Skagit systems, say. And of course Thorton will likely NEVER be restored to anything like its historical condition or productivity.)

I'm a Seattleite myself, and I didn't mean to disparage my fellow urban dwellers or compare their enviro bona fides to rural and suburban residents. (I would tend to agree with you that our neighbors in Fall City and other like places might suffer by the comparison.) I was just trying to make the point that even if you did agree that a creek like Thorton may need to be written off, that the issues explored in the PI article were very relevant to streams like Griffin, that we still have a chance to save before they become another Thorton. And I think we would likely agree that when that Fall City developer tells me to mind my own business, I can remind him that the preservation of our public resources is every bit my business, and everybody elses.
 

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I appreciated the article and thought it was well written except one thing that bothered me was her comments towards the end that stated that:

"...the coho-die offs were not themselves catacylsmic. The fish are either hatchery -bread salmon venturing up newly found waterways instead of their birth stream, or they were planted in the creeks.
In either case, the fish can easily be replaced..."

To me this took so much power at of the article by saying look at this pollution problem but it is not a big deal the fish are easily replaced. The streams they refer to (Longfellow, Kelsey, Fauntleroy etc) all must have had wild stocks at one point. Are they all now hatchery stocked fish or are there still wild returning natives?

Also, It would have been good of her to mention the larger rivers that are at high risk from run off and development ie the Cedar, Green, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, Stilly, etc.
 

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>I appreciated the article and thought it was well
>written except one thing that bothered me was her
>comments towards the end that stated that:
>
>"...the coho-die offs were not themselves catacylsmic.
>The fish are either hatchery -bread salmon venturing up
>newly found waterways instead of their birth stream, or
>they were planted in the creeks.
>In either case, the fish can easily be replaced..."
>
>To me this took so much power at of the article by
>saying look at this pollution problem but it is not a
>big deal the fish are easily replaced. The streams
>they refer to (Longfellow, Kelsey, Fauntleroy etc) all
>must have had wild stocks at one point. Are they all
>now hatchery stocked fish or are there still wild
>returning natives?
>
>Also, It would have been good of her to mention the
>larger rivers that are at high risk from run off and
>development ie the Cedar, Green, Snoqualmie, Skykomish,
>Stilly, etc.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>


BOB
 

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About 2,500 years ago, Plato developed his famous Socratic method whereby he used Socrates to ask important questions of his students whose answers provided the lesson. Please allow me to use, or at least attempt to use, this method.
Socrates:'' What problems to you see in the world of 2003?''
Student: "Well, there a bunch of them, global warming comes to mind because the amount of land at the surface and above will be diminished rapidly, even in our own lifetime as glaciers begin to melt. Also, there is world wide famine with no hope to feed these people in sight. Of course, the environment is reeling not only from urbanization but even in the countryside as well. Fish, animals, plants, you name it, they all have problems now. Pollution is everywhere, too many cars and factories I think."
Socrates: "Can you think of any other porblems?"
Student: "I can think of so many that we don't have time to list them all."
Socrates: "Would you give us a few?"
Student: "War or the threat of war because everyone is fighting for more space. Then we are causing oil depletion because we are using this resource, just like all the others, up very quickly. Roads, traffic congestion, housing shortages, farmlands being consumed by developments, water shortages, airport runways-- and so many more I can't begin to tell you."
Socrates: "Is there anything that underlies all these problems? I mean, do they have a common denominator?"
Student: " I'm sorry, but I can't think of anything."
Socrates, "Well, ask yourself if these problems have always existed. And then tell me why they have not?"
Student: "My father was in a big war and I have read of many wars. So you might say that wars have always been around."
Socrates: "Yes, this true. But what about all the others? Did your father experience any of these in his youth?"
Student: "No, I don't think so."
Socrates: "And why was that?"
Student: "There weren't as many people then."
Socrates: "Thank you; you may go now."
Bob:professor
 
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