WRIA 9 (Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed)

WRIA 9 (Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed)
Steering Committee
Draft Summary for July 12, 2007
Steering Committee:
Councilmember Dow Constantine (Co-Chair)
Councilmember Bill Peloza (Co-Chair)
Al Barrie
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Noel Gilbrough
Paul Hickey
Charlie Keller
Kirk Lakey
Sinang Lee
Mayor Shawn McEvoy
Mayor Joan McGilton
Paul Meyer
Councilmember Marlla Mhoon
James Rasmussen
Cindy Rathbone
Councilmember Dennis Robertson
King County
City of Auburn
Trout Unlimited/Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group
City of Seattle
US Army Corps of Engineers
Tacoma Public Utilities
The Boeing Company
WA Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW)
WA Department of Ecology (DOE)
City of Normandy Park
City of Burien
Port of Seattle
City of Covington
Green/Duwamish Watershed Alliance
WA Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
City of Tukwila
Other Attendees:
Jenny Giambattista
Julie Hall
Dr. Phil Levin
Mike Mactutis
Sharon Nelson
Karen Bergeron
Dennis Clark
Linda Grob
Doug Osterman
Gordon Thomson
King County
City of Seattle
Northwest Fisheries Science Center
City of Kent
King County
WRIA 9 Habitat Project Coordinator
WRIA 9 Public Outreach Coordinator
WRIA 9 Administrative Assistant
WRIA 9 Watershed Coordinator
WRIA 9 Plan Manager
I. Welcome and Introductions
Dow Constantine opened the meeting and introduced new Steering Committee members Cindy Rathbone,
Washington Department of Natural Resources, Sinang Lee, Washington Department of Ecology, and Paul
Meyer, Port of Seattle. All attendees then introduced themselves.
II. Public Comment
Mike Mactutis, City of Kent, provided an update of the reallocation of the SRFB grant to acquire the
Rosso/Teufel Nursery property, which didn’t pan out. At the last meeting the Steering Committee
approved the purchase of nearby properties that will provide the same benefits on the Lower Green. Mike
reported that the city has now submitted an amendment to SRFB to change the grant to purchase the
Desimone, Lotto, Flowers, Matelich, and Koch properties. He went over the status of each of the
properties, and explained that the decision about the reallocation is a couple of months away. Concern was
expressed about Frager Road, and whether to do a bridge, move the road, or close it.
Noel Gilbrough announced that on Monday the Corps starts construction on the Lake Meridian Outlet
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Draft Steering Committee Meeting Summary – July 12, 2007
Dennis Clark, Public Outreach Coordinator, reported on four outreach activities:
 A Yellow Bus Tour of the Upper, Middle and Lower Green River on Thursday, August 16, which is
being coordinated with Noel Gilbrough. Dennis passed out a tour agenda, and said the tour will start at
Satus Pass.
 The Duwamish River Festival on Saturday, August 18, where he will be staffing a WRIA 9 booth.
 The interpretive map of the Lower Green (on one side) and the Duwamish (on the back) that he has been
working on with James Rasmussen and others.
 A thank you to State Senator Dave Upthegrove for the $2.5 million in funding we received for
Duwamish Gardens and Seahurst Phase II. Dennis asked for signatures from Steering Committee
members that he will scan onto a fish-shaped thank you card.
Paul Hickey announced that adult pink salmon will be put in the Upper Green Watershed on August 15 and
the middle of September. This is the first time since 1907 that fish will be above the dam, and we may see
them on the Yellow Bus Tour.
III. Approval of Summary
Bill Peloza requested that language under Public Comment on the last page, third paragraph, be changed
from “want you want done” to “what you want done”.
The Committee unanimously approved the summary for the April 12, 2007 meeting as edited.
IV. The Science of Puget Sound
Bill Peloza introduced Dr. Phil Levin, of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, who he first heard speak
at Town Hall. Phil did some system modeling of Puget Sound for the Puget Sound Partnership, and
Councilmember Peloza said he is at expert at explaining Puget Sound in layman’s terms.
Highlights of Phil’s presentation:
 Puget Sound has a lot of problems with nutrients, and issues with shellfish and non-native species, such
as tunicates, which coat and kill shellfish. Toxics and habitat loss have led to the decline of 40 species,
some of which have been listed under ESA. Toxins that get put in the Sound tend to stick here, as do
the fish.
 People here are committed to trying to do things to fix Puget Sound. It is not a cesspool like Galveston
Bay, which averages depths of only six feet, and it is really deep in comparison to the shallow
Chesapeake Bay. Parts of the Sound are two meters deep (600 feet), and it has a fringe of nearshore.
There are also areas where it has deep water and then it comes up shallow. The Seattle area is a giant
bowl, which is typical throughout the Sound, where there are lots of sills. The shallow water rimming
Puget Sound is extremely important, therefore, to the Puget Sound ecosystem.
 One study in Puget Sound looked at urban nurseries and what the differences in settlement are
compared to non-urban nurseries. The otolith bone in baby fish were looked at, because it puts on a
ring that incorporates chemicals in the water. This allowed us to take older fish and figure out where
they lived a year ago. Fish were studied at a bunch of different places throughout the Puget Sound, and
we were able to tell with 80% accuracy where fish came from. At one site 69% of adults came from
non-urban nurseries, and 30% were from urban nurseries, but at lot more urban areas were checked so
we should have seen more urban fish.
 The top predator in Puget Sound is the Sixgill Shark, the third largest shark in the world, which can get
to be 19 feet long when fully grown. Twelve sharks were recently pulled up in five minutes, and a
camera dragged on the bottom at the time actually ran into more sharks right in front of the Olympic
Sculpture Park. Monitors were planted in shark stomachs to track where they go, and they were found
roaming the waterfront, going up the Duwamish, etc. Sharks in Commencement and Elliott Bays
weigh from six to 700 pounds. Females puff (live birth) between 80 to 160 baby sharks at a time, after
a gestation period of two years. We don’t know what they eat for sure, but some starving Sixgill
Sharks with tons of plastic in them are washing up on Vashon after eating crab pots.
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Juvenile salmon, herring and Dungeness crab live in Puget Sound eelgrass, all of which are eaten by
salmon and/or killer whales. The over harvesting of shell fish has an impact on the Sound’s eelgrass,
as does shoreline development. This exposes the tradeoff of different sorts of sciences. Science can’t
tell you what to do, but the consequences.
The Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA), a new product line from NOAA, takes the objectives of
people concerned about Puget Sound and does an analysis of uncertainties. It forecasts different
scenarios, asks things like what are the tradeoffs in a system, does risk analyses on indicators, etc., and
tells where certain strategies will get us.
In conclusion, Phil said Puget Sound shows clear signs of severe degradation, but not so bad that things
can’t be done.
 Dow Constantine asked what happens when Sixgill Sharks and humans run into each other. Phil Levin
replied that the sharks usually go the other way. Sixgill Sharks are not usually as aggressive as most
other big sharks, but they do have razor-sharp teeth, and the aquarium puts divers in cages when they
are baited.
 Mike Mactutis inquired if Sixgill Sharks are located between Elliott and Commencement Bays. Phil
explained that juveniles we’ve been following stay within six miles.
 Noel Gilbrough asked for Phil’s take on material the Corps has placed in Elliott Bay for an artificial
reef. Phil asked if the goal is to increase the size of fish, or simply to rearrange them. He said he
suspects the effect is to redistribute existing biomass most of the time.
 Dennis Robertson remarked that eelgrass areas are now closed in the San Juans, and he asked what is
happening in the islands. Dr. Levin responded that he isn’t sure why the beds in the San Juans are
closed, but there are many reasons for eelgrass decline, such as coastal development, wasting disease in
eelgrass, slower growth than the algae that coat them, etc.
 Shawn McEvoy asked if reforestation of eelgrass makes sense. Dr. Levin said yes and no, depending
on the individual situation. It made no sense in Galveston, where eelgrass had died for a reason, and it
ended up just being a good jobs program. Also, as with salmon and hatcheries, you have an eelgrass
plantation that you have to maintain.
 Al Barrie inquired what the flush point is of South Puget Sound. Dr. Levin responded that the time
depends on where you are, but 100 days is not uncommon.
V. SRFB and KCD Project Proposals
Rank Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) Project Proposals:
Karen Bergeron, Habitat Project Coordinator, presented this year’s process for identifying and reviewing
projects, and the scoring that was used to rank them. For this round WRIA 9 will receive $342,000 to
$471,500 from SRFB, and about $1.6 million from the Puget Sound Partnership. This year’s focus was on
projects in the Lower Green, Middle Green and nearshore, which are the priority areas identified in the
Salmon Habitat Plan. Seven project proposals were submitted, and the Technical Advisory Group visited
all the sites and met with project sponsors on June 15 and 16, prior to the SRFB Review Team’s site visits.
One of the projects was removed by the project sponsor. Final reviews are due August 19, and the
proposals have to be ranked and to SRFB on September 17.
The six remaining project proposals in ranked order (with sponsors and request amounts) are:
1. North Wind’s Weir Shallow Water Habitat Rehabilitation (King County, $2.5 million).
2. Fenster/Pautskee Levees Setback and Removal (King County, $1.1 million).
3. Point Heyer Drift Cell Preservation, Phase I (King County, $775,158).
4. Beaconsfield on the Sound Acquisition (Cascade Land Conservancy, $500,000).
5. Riverton Creek Flapgate Removal and Restoration (City of Tukwila, $42,500).
6. Raab’s Lagoon/Pocket Estuary Restoration Feasibility Study (King County, $150,000).
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Karen explained that we have $1.9 million total dollars this year between SRFB and Puget Sound
Partnership funding, but $5 million in proposed projects. We hope to have $1.2 million to $2 million from
the federal government (Corps of Engineers authorizations) for North Wind’s Weir, which would enable us
to fund projects further down the list. WRIA 9 also has King Conservation District funds that can help
round out project funding. Noel Gilbrough added that the Corps could get between $1.6 and $1.8 million
from Washington D.C., and has $500,000 to $600,000 in carryover. He said the Corps has a few projects
that we’d like to keep working on.
Riverton Creek:
 Noel Gilbrough asked if the road would be inundated in a 100 year flood event if the flapgates were
removed. Karen Bergeron said that could be a part of the feasibility study. Kirk Lakey remarked that
one of the flapgates is gone now. Dennis Clark mentioned that we had a 100 year flood in the fall, and
there was no flooding.
 Kirk Lakey reported that a box culvert might be put in so coho and Chinook could use Riverton Creek,
and there is a possibility that the Washington Department of Transportation is looking for mitigation
sites. He commented that the feasibility would look at things like the engineering of a box culvert, but
not specifically the flooding.
 James Rasmussen asked if there are any groups working on Riverton creek right now. Dennis Clark
that there is not.
 Noel Gilbrough said Riverton Creek is one of two salmon streams in transition zone area of the
North Wind’s Weir:
 Shawn McEvoy asked if implementing two or three projects together wouldn’t be worth more than
doing just one, North Wind’s Weir. Dennis Robertson replied that this particular piece of the river is a
huge bottleneck. Gordon Thomson reported that our strategy is 40% of our funding should go into
projects in the transition zone, 60% into spawning and rearing projects. He said we are also supporting
on-going projects by Tacoma Public Utilities and the Army Corp of Engineers in the Upper Green.
 Doug Osterman explained that the Management Committee made it clear that ERP Corps funds should
go to North Wind’s Weir, the highest priority recovery project that’s been out there the longest. He
said he personally thinks North Wind’s Weir should get a significant amount of Corps money so we
can put other money to the other state and federal projects on the list.
 James Rasmussen commented that it would make sense to not have $2.5 million listed here as
placeholder, because it shadows everything else. It would also be good to have the amount more
fleshed out. Doug Osterman mentioned that we are also looking at KCD money for funding. Some
projects, like Point Heyer, can be partially funded by phasing them.
The Steering Committee unanimously accepted the project proposals and approved the
Technical Advisory Group’s recommended ranking, as follows:
1. North Wind’s Weir Shallow Water Habitat Rehabilitation
2. Fenster/Pautskee Levees Levees Setback and Removal
3. Point Heyer Drift Cell Preservation, Phase I
4. Beaconsfield on the Sound Acquisition
5. Riverton Flapgate Riverton Creek Flapgate Removal and Restoration
6. Raab’s Lagoon/Pocket Estuary Restoration Feasibility Study
VI. Habitat Plan Amendment Proposals
Gordon Thomson reminded the group that the request for Habitat Plan amendment proposals went out in
April. He explained that every year we will consider technical or minor amendments to the plan, and we
may, if necessary, consider more substantial amendments every five years. Seven new projects have been
proposed this round, and any more changes or additions should be sent to Gordon by July 26.
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Dennis Robertson suggested adding a new policy about designed a soft-armoring system that is more than
just a study.
Noel Gilbrough asked if there has been consideration of expanding the plan to include bull trout and
steelhead. Gordon responded that we are waiting to see what action the state and federal governments take.
Doug Osterman remarked that the Management Committee’s direction is to stay focused on implementing
the Chinook Salmon Habitat Plan.
VII. Puget Sound Partnership Update
Doug Osterman reported that the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) is considering options for organizing
watersheds into sub-regions, which could have a major impact on WRIA 9 as a watershed. A concern
expressed about establishing sub-regional boundaries is funding conflicts and additional governance
constructs. Doug said we were told yesterday that PSP will have a serous discussion about and solicit
public input on sub-regional boundaries. Shared Strategy is asking watershed groups to starting thinking
about this now. One of the options could be teaming up with WRIA 8 as one sub-region.
 James Rasmussen asked why we keep trying to reinvent the wheel. WRIAs and the funding sources for
WRIAs have been long established.
 Richard Conlin commented that PSP is supposed to help us implement the Habitat Plan, not do a new
plan. We have great plans, so give us some money.
 Kirk Lakey mentioned that we need to move forward with actions. We know enough, have enough
actions identified, and do not need to reinvent them.
 Joan McGilton said she thought the sub-region idea surfaced because the WRIA context did not come
in until midway in the PSP planning process. Our process came from the bottom up, not from the top
down. Cities and local jurisdictions are going to be the implementers, and will come up with the CIPs.
There is no fighting with other cities on our Forum, and we have a body that understands us. WRIA 9
jurisdictions have bought into the ecosystem concept, and this is where our jurisdiction has the most
 Dennis Robertson suggested we think about preparing a nice package combining our Habitat Plan, a
free lunch, and a presentation to show PSP what has been done in WRIA 9.
 Doug Osterman remarked that this is great fodder, and he will write it up and start preparing. This
might be an important piece for the ad hoc finance subcommittee’s consideration. He asked if there as
logical WRIAs that we could join with if we organize around the WRIAs. He noted that each of these
sub-regions will get one representative on the PSP committees.
 James Rasmussen asked if our projects would be mixed with WRIA 8’s if we join with them, and will
each sub-region submit one project list. Julie Hall, City of Seattle, commented that WRIA 8 doesn’t
have too many Puget Sound projects because of the railroad located along most of the marine shoreline.
 Dow Constantine said we might end up being in an alliance with the Cedar. He expressed concern
about the state taking all the money that is generated in urban watersheds and giving it to rural
watersheds. James Rasmussen remarked that it is a double-edged sword, and we have to look at it in a
holistic way.
 Kirk Lakey commented that trying to do good with the dollars we have may not be in our best interest.
Dow Constantine reported that the state takes all our money, and then gives us the authority to raise
more. That method can’t go on forever. Kirk noted that a lot of it has to do with perceived ability.
Doug Osterman said that some of those rural areas could explore supporting groups like our Steering
Committee and interlocal agreements for supporting watershed operational needs.
 Bill Peloza mentioned that looking at this globally the Suburban Cities Association would have to bless
any sub-regional organization.
VIII. Public Comment
There was no public comment.
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XI. Wrap Up/Next Steps
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m. The next Steering Committee meeting is September 13, 2007.
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