Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tempest on the Issaquah



Some efforts have been relatively benign…others not so. And some have been clearly sources of danger to folks who venture near our popular streams for recreation and enjoyment. Especially children and youngsters. These kids are playing on a logjam trapped by the “installed LWD” in the foreground…the log with the squarecut end and the chain wrapped around it!

One of the most controversial, and of unproven value, is the placement of what has come to be called LARGE WOODY DEBRIS in areas along stream-banks and in the channel as well that create immediate danger to swimmers, boaters, “tubers” and others.

Perspective from common vantage point upstream as debris builds up.

Recent admissions by certain agents of King County and the state dept of fish and wild life confirm what has been only too obvious to other observers: these very dangerous projects…which have caused injury and death to the public in recent years…have brought no perceptible improvement of fish populations.

These admissions have come only after great effort by some in the community who challenged the LWD programs after studying the matter for several years. These folks have identified the hazards and noted the tragedies only to be ignored or marginalized by the wild life “experts”. But at long last their efforts have paid off.

Another perspective of build-up from the bridge.

One of the most shattering aspects of these LWD installations has haunted these good folks for many of these years. The front page photograph says in an instant what these folks have argued for years…LWD ATTRACTS KIDS AND DRAWS THEM INTO RISKY PLAY AND ADVENTURE! WHERE THESE INSTALLATIONS ARE ACCESSIBLE TO KIDS THEY REPRESENT VERY DANGEROUS “ATTRACTIVE” NUISANCES. PROHIBITED BY LAW…BUT THERE NONETHELESS!

Major debris build-up seen from same point as the top photo (with youngsters) but taken weeks before.

The photo with the youngsters at the top of this post was taken in April 2006… AFTER the removal of the original build-up that led to severe flooding in December 2005. The installed LWD log in the foreground has trapped the two “volunteer” logs that were swept along by another later storm. Not only do they inspire the adventuresome kids in the photo…they were the beginning of the next build-up. Issaquah officials had asked to remove them during the earlier operation but were told by WDFW that they were “new salmon habitat” and they had to stay! Imagine!

This installation that repeatedly trapped so much debris was installed right in the heart of Issaquah… in the “storied little river” that runs through downtown, the Issaquah creek. All of this within 300 feet of the Issaquah salmon hatchery which annually draws tens of thousands of visitors, probably half of whom are youngsters. It is also within 400 feet of an Issaquah middle school. Potential victims could hardly be nearer!

Flood surge well below the peak...covering LWD dam...already flooding the neighborhood.

Issaquah officials were sorely concerned about damage to the bridge…a vital traffic link…as well as the safety of the public. Fortunately damage was manageable…this time!

The accompanying photo montage gives a clear picture of this absurd project from the perspective of time passage and differing stream conditions. They illustrate the build-up of debris caused repeatedly by this project…the flooding that this exacerbates…the danger as seen in the lead picture…and the final result of an act of nature that leaves one to wonder at the message of nature.

Flooding forced into nearby neighborhoods because of the obstruction.

In the big storm this past winter Mother Nature abated the danger once and for all. She stripped the stream clean of the man-made artifice…and left it again reasonably safe for the legions of kids who have ever…and ever will…haunt her shores!

We at the KCRJP feel it is time to respond to this clear natural signal…and clean up the other dangers in our streams. And to those so sympathetic to the salmon…we say, safety first…for the kids.


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