Northwest NEWS

October 1, 2001

Features

DOWNSTREAM

King County Executive Ron Sims visited Bear Creek Valley on Sept. 20 in hopes of seeing salmon spawning in the streams. Unfortunately, the water levels were still low, and only a few fish were making it upstream at that time.
   However, he also came to Cottage Creek at the Crossings bridge to meet with citizens in the area and listen to Bear Creek issues.
   Terry Lavender displayed a map of Upper Bear Creek Valley and explained what was workingwell in the watershed. She focused on the importance of supporting the work of citizen volunteers who coordinate with county departments to maintain County Park Resource properties. She emphasized the importance of the habitat restoration project at the Cold Creek Natural resource area.
   Mary Filkins, who lives in the Crossings neighborhood expressed concern about code enforcement in maintaining buffers along the streams. She noted that homeowners are often polarized on the issue and need better understanding of the importance of buffers to stream integrity.
   Geoff Clayton, representing the Upper Bear Creek Unincorporated Areas Council, and Nancy Stafford presented informtion on the council meetings since 1998. Clayton also discussed scientific data to substantiate some of the habitat and buffering issues on the stream. Traffic problems were discussed.
   Heather Poe remarked that maintaining quality of life in Bear Creek Valley is important in attracting the technical industry employees.
   Brian Bodenbach expressed frustration over the difficulty in obtaining permits for habitat restoration. He remarked that the whole permitting process with the county discourages people from restoration activities.
   Kathryn Taylor expressed concern about the need for safer equestrian trails. She remarked that she is working with the county to avoid mixing horses and traffic, which is very dangerous.
   Several Water Tenders emphasized the importance of the role of the Bear Creek stream steward in maintaining the salmon runs. With recent budget cuts, the stream steward has had less fieldwork time available.
   Sims responded to the speakers with interest in finding effective solutions. He mentioned the possibility that the Brightwater Sewage treatment plant could be located at the Route 9 site, and that mitigations would likely improve the habitat around Little Bear Creek. The group emphasized the importance of protecting Little Bear Creek which has a good salmonid population. While the group of about 20 citizens discussed issues on the bridge over Cottage Creek, there was noise from bulldozing, tree cutting and construction up on Bear Creek Road. Last year at this time there were Chinook and sockeye in the creek, but this year there are very few so far.
   The tension between the balance of human needs and those of healthy fish-producing streams has never been more evident.