November 2, 1998
A goldfish would have trouble floating there
On October 27 there was a gathering of high-up King County and Woodinville officials and others, including someone from state Fish and Wildlife.
The meeting concerned the unnamed stream by the Old Hollywood Schoolhouse which caused severe flooding of the Hollywood intersection until culvert and ditch corrections were made. The stream has never contained salmon, and in fact most of the year it's too shallow to float a goldfish.
Nevertheless, the talk was of strategies for turning the lower flat area between 148th and the river into suitable salmon habitat.
There was serious discussion of how to fund costs in excess of a million dollars for the preferred rerouting through Barbara Kelson's proposed village shopping project, for which she's been jumping through interminable permit hoops with Woodinville.
No mention was made by the officials of the fact that the rerouted stream with its required wide treed buffers would proceed from Kelson's property into the Little League ballfields area, even though when this same scheme was discussed by different officials in 1991 the Little Leaguers declared that only over their dead bodies would any more water be introduced there.
It was suggested that in addition to making Ms. Kelson provide funding as a condition of obtaining building permits, there could be local, state and federal funding (from our tax dollars of course), particularly if the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) could be persuaded that it would help chinook salmon. This statement was made even after the Fish & Wildlife fellow said coho, not chinook, might be attracted to the newly-created habitat.
The fact that the created habitat would be in an area where salmon have never lived, surrounded by auto exhaust fumes and two public trails from which youngsters might be attracted to disturb the fish, and branching off the too-warm Sammamish River, bothered no one as they talked of the importance of persuading the NMFS of the importance of the project to solving the vanishing chinook salmon problem.
Apparently there will be unlimited funding for whatever can possibly be tied in with chinook salmon.
Incidentally, it's recently been reported that the Sammamish River trees/brush restoration will cost $2.5 million. However, the Sammamish Watershed Forum has estimated $14.5 million will not cure the Sammamish River's temperature problem because the problem is caused by warm surface water flowing downriver from the Lake Sammamish weir, instead of cold water from the lake bottom, according to a state fisheries' biologist.
If these local projects are typical of how millions of dollars of salmon habitat restoration funding will be spent, we'll have empty pockets and empty streams where it really matters to the chinook salmon.
Maxine Keesling, Woodinville