Opinion

Ride herd on culverts instead of fish pools

Hollywood flooding Whatever costs are incurred by the City of Woodinville in coping with the excessive Hollywood Intersection flooding on February 8th should be repaid by King County's Surface Water Management (SWM). That's the agency that contracts with Woodinville to take care of Woodinville's drainage problems.
   SWM conducted an extensive study of solutions to the Hollywood drainage problems. Resident oldtimers said the problem would be corrected by re-doing the creek's right turn along 148th north of the Old Hollywood Schoolhouse (OHS), and installing a larger culvert there. Or at the very least, clean out that culvert.
   What SWM did was install logs and rootwads in the stream channel up-canyon from the OHS, ostensibly for flood control but incidentally to create fish pools for (planted) fish. They cleaned nothing from the nearly plugged culvert aforementioned, and enlarged nothing.
   The February 8th floods were a raging river over the invisible culverts along 148th. The up-canyon creek was also raging, but through the culverts, not over them.
   The too-small plugged culvert that caused the famous pavement washout by the south side of the OHS in 1986 was replaced by an oversize culvert through which the water was running freely well below half-full.
   (I could see no effects, one way or the other, from the up-canyon logs and rootwads, except one portion of a wad was pointed out lying stranded on the pavement near the fire station on 148th, the stream velocity having carried it that far.)
   It's frustrating to realize that our annual SWM fees, paid by both Woodinville and unincorporated-area residents, are going to fish habitat restoration instead of stormwater runoff controls (which is what we were promised when we voted for the program several years ago.)
   Those fees are scheduled to rise soon to over $100/year, more for commercial accounts. The City of Woodinville would be better off canceling its SWM contract and hiring someone with common sense and a commitment to riding herd on culverts instead of fish pools.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville