Apr

23

I was recently asked an interesting question: who is responsible for removing floating logs from Lake Washington? I did some digging with King County and the US Army Corps of Engineers, and this is what I found out:

The US Army Corps of Engineers is usually responsible for managing on-water safety issues, including occasional removal of floating danger logs from Lake Washington. This is part of their mission mainly because the lake is considered a navigable waterway with heavy marine traffic.

However, a “nuisance log” has many different interpretations and would not be addressed by most agencies, especially if the logs are onshore and not posing a hazard to marine traffic. What one person may not want may actually be good habitat for many creatures, and hence there would be a permitting conflict. There are actually Fish and Wildlife regulations against removing large wood from shorelines because the removal decreases refuge and food sources for fish. Officially, a hydraulic project approval would even need to be obtained from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife before such work could be done in the water. Smaller stuff is usually just handled by home owners on an individual basis.

Updated to answer reader question: I contacted the Army Corps of Engineers to get more information about what they do with the logs that they corral. They try to empty the holding pen monthly plus make a monthly round of Lake Washington as their schedule permits. The collected debris is off-loaded onto storage barges at the Ballard Locks. They dispose of usable debris to government agencies for restoration work or recycle it. The rest goes to the landfill.

Lake Washington waterfront real estate for sale covered porch view of Bellevue and Mercer Island

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  1. South of I-90, if they are floating, and therefore a hazard to navigation, the Mercer Island Marine Patrol will make every effort to pick them up, as their schedule permits: 206 275-7953. It is reported that they have towed over 600 logs in the last four months. They have a holding pen for the logs under the I-90 bridge in the East Channel, just north of their parking area. The Corps of Engineers removes the logs from the storage area. Does anyone know what the Corps does with them after that?

  2. I contacted the Army Corps of Engineers to get more information about what they do with the logs that they corral. They try to empty the holding pen monthly and also make a monthly round of Lake Washington as their schedule permits. The collected debris is off-loaded onto storage barges at the Ballard Locks. They dispose of usable debris to government agencies for restoration work or recycle it. The rest goes to the landfill.



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