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




Upcoming events from Puget Soundkeeper Alliance:

Sunday April 19th
What: Gary Manuel Aveda Institute Cut-a-Thon
Who: Schedule a hair and/or spa service for April 19th between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm and the proceeds go to Puget Soundkeeper Alliance
When: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Where: Gary Manuel Aveda Institute, (206) 329-9933
Address: 1514 10th Ave, Seattle
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance will receive 100% of the proceeds.

Wednesday, April 22nd
What: Gary Manuel Salon Belltown and Capital Hill Earth Day Cleanup Event
Who: Calling all volunteers
When: 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Where: Belltown and Capital Hill
Call Betsy Moyer at Puget Soundkeeper Alliance if you would like to volunteer (206) 297-7002

Saturday, April 25th
What: Everett Marina and Jetty Island Cleanup Event
Who: All Volunteers welcome – bring gloves, warm clothes and appropriate footware. No reservations needed.
When: 9:00 am – 12:00 (lunch served after). Transportation to and from Jetty Island provided.
Where: Popeye’s Marine & Kayak Center
Address: 814 13th St, No. Marina (access via 14th St)
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance has been involved for 15 years. Call Chris Wilke for info (206) 297- 7002.

Saturday, April 25th
What: Premiere Salon It’s the Water Event (live music, refreshments, raffle)
Who: All are welcome
When: 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Premiere Salon and Spa (360) 753-3299
Address: 111 Market St #101, Olympia
Call or email Kelly Bakala at Kelly@premieresalonandspa.com. Tickets: $10
Proceeds support Puget Soundkeeper Alliance’s clean water work.

Sunday, April 26th
What: Aveda and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Walk for Water
Who: All are welcome. Please pledge $25 to participate
When: 9:00 am registration (10 am to 12:30 pm walk & trash pickup)
Where: Golden Gardens Park
Address: 8498 Seaview Ave N, Seattle
Call Betsy Moyer for info (206) 297-7002

Sunday, April 26th
What: 2nd Annual Community Oyster Roast
Who: Anyone who likes Oysters, sausage, beer, wine and live music
When: 2-seatings – 1) from 2:00 pm to 4:00pm and 2) from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Golden Gardens Bathhouse
Address: 8498 Seaview Ave N. Seattle
Tickets available at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/54821
Annual fundraiser for Puget Soundkeeper Alliance’s work to protect and preserve Puget Sound

Saturday, May 2nd
What: Clean and Green Boating Fair, free event to kick off the boating season
Who: All are welcome – free boat tours included
When: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Delin Docks Marina on Thea Foss Waterway
Address: 1616 E “D” St, Tacoma

Saturday, May 9th
What: The Sweep – 7th Annual Lake Union and Portage Bay Cleanup
Who: All Volunteers welcome. Please sign up first (206) 297-7002
When: Volunteers check in at 8:30 am (for most)
Where: Lake Union Park (for most)
Address: 860 Terry Ave N, Seattle




The third and final round of public input periods to the King County Shoreline Management Program is happening now. If you live on or near the Sound, a lake, river, or even some wetlands, then this can apply to you and your property.

You can review the draft and also attend upcoming public open house meetings in Carnation (October 16th) and Covington (October 23rd). Public inputs will be accepted until Friday November 14th, via the meetings, email, or mail.

This will be the final opportunity for public input before the completed program is submitted to the King County Council in December.

King County watersheds map




Fall is coming our way, and the salmon runs are on their way as well. Are you interested to see all the activity at our local riverfront communities? Here’s the scoop from the King County Spawning Salmon Viewing Locations:

Salmon Viewing Locations in the Snoqualmie Valley

Raging River, Fall City: From downtown Fall City, head south on the Preston-Fall City Road. Turn left, heading east, on SE 44th Place about .1 mile.
Tolt-McDonald Park, Carnation. From Highway 203, head west on NE 40th Street in Carnation and follow signs to the park. View salmon from the footbridge over the river.

Tolt River foot bridge on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, Carnation: From Highway 203, just south of the Tolt River, head east on NE 32nd. Just before Remlinger Farms the trail crosses over the road, park and climb steps to the trail. Head north on the trail to the bridge.

Chinook Bend, Carnation: The turnoff is on the north side of NE Carnation Farm Road, just west of the bridge over the Snoqualmie River. Park and walk in until you come to the gravel bar.

Snoqualmie Valley Trail:
Salmon Signage & Artwork Locations

Learn about salmon through educational signage and salmon-inspired artwork while you walk, run or ride along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.

McCormick Park, Duvall: Totem pole-like sculptures depict the many facets of the valley’s working rural landscape and the challenges facing salmon. The sculptures were created by students from Cherry Valley Elementary School in Duvall.

Tolt River Bridge, Carnation: Ceramic tiles emblazoned with salmon-inspired artwork can be found encircling a park bench at this trail site. The tiles were created by students with the Tolt Middle School Art Club. The bench was donated by the school’s recycling club.

Griffin Creek Bridge, (.5 mi. south of) Carnation: Interpretive signage only at this location.

Meadow brook Slough, Snoqualmie: “Water Echoes,” a steel arch inspired by the shape of Snoqualmie river’s oxbow at the slough. Students from Two Rivers Middle School in North Bend designed, welded and installed the arch.

There is also a printable brochure describing the best viewing locations and additional information on salmon habitat restoration.




“Noxious” aquatic weeds are defined as non-native plants that, once established, are destructive to the local ecosystem, competitive with other plants, or difficult to control. You want to avoid these, but they get into our waterways through a thousand different avenues: bottoms of unclean boats, wind and wave movement, natural spreading, animals, etc. Common weeds in King County lakes include Eurasion water milfoil, fragrant water lily, purple loose-strife, and yellow iris.

So, what to do if you start noticing aquatic weeds taking over your lakefront shallow waters? A very good resource is the King County Noxious Weed Control Program. You can contact them for information, ask questions, and get advice on how to get your particular situation under control.

Catching an infestation early is important since large scale infestations can be expensive and time consuming to treat, plus may require a number of permits. So, preventive medicine is good. And cooperation among neighbors is also important… Weeds don’t stop at invisible property lines.




People for Puget Sound, in conjunction with KSVR 91.7 FM, is beginning a new radio talk show centered around Puget Sound and its environment, people, history, and current topics of interest. The program will air Tuesdays at 5:00 pm on the community based radio station that transmits from Skagit Valley College in Mt Vernon.

Upcoming topics for the next 5 weeks include: Puget Sound Partnership, how to prevent a major oil spill and the related importance of tug boats, Hood Canal update, interview with Governor Gregoire regarding plans for restoring the health of Puget Sound, awareness of toxins in personal care products, and early maritime explorers of the Sound.

The programs will also be archived for online listening any time at either the radio station website or on People for Puget Sound’s web page devoted to the show.




Public understanding of the need to protect the beauty and physical integrity of Puget Sound has gained ground, though the understanding that it already needs to be cleaned up for its (and our) long term health is less understood. It looks beautiful, so how can it be “dirty” or have pollution in it, some may say?

This increased awareness has occurred through efforts over the past year such as the Seattle PI’s investigative series “The Sound of Broken Promises” plus some initial notoriety and public outreach from the governor’s Puget Sound Partnership panel. People for Puget Sound and Puget Soundkeepers Alliance has performed a very important ongoing role for years, though their efforts have resulted more in maintenance of awareness levels (especially among those already interested, and some in the media) than significantly increasing awareness levels among the general public in large numbers. This new mass media coverage and big government focus will help these organizations expand their influence.

The recent Elway Poll regarding Washington state residents’ perceptions about the health of Puget Sound – and what they are willing to do to improve its health – was interesting if not surprising. There was a large divide of support depending upon proximity to the Sound itself, with increased willingness to make legislative changes (and pay for them) on the west side of the Cascades than on the east side. Of course. The real test is when changes affect people’s pocketbooks and their own back yards.

The most cost effective and timely changes may not be changes at all, except in execution. An important first step may just be tightening up on existing policies and regulations already in place or under consideration. This responsibility resides with the Department of Ecology and the Environmental Protection Agency, and I expect to hear more recommendations along those lines from the Puget Sound Partnership in the future. More than that will be needed, but it’s a first step that can move in parallel while others are being diplomatically crafted through the halls of politics and public opinion.

As a waterfront home owner, you can contribute in your own way and feel good about protecting your “front yard” (all that water out in front there). Increase filtering vegetation at your bulkhead, decrease paved surfaces and rain water run-off into your sound or lake, eliminate fertilizers and pesticides in your yard, and take a little bag or bucket with you next time you walk the beach to pick up just a few easy items of plastic and trash.

Sea kayaker in Puget Sound by Normandy Park




Have you checked out the Christmas Ships around Lake Washington, Lake Union, and the Sound this year? Definitely worth a look, especially the December 23rd finale with the Best Decorated Boat Contest at Gasworks Park on Lake Union. Come bundle up and watch the festive sights at the different locations. It’s a great way to enjoy your WaterHaven, or visit someone else’s!

In local waterfront news, proposed land use regulations still dominate the talk among local rural WaterHaven owners. Both the Critical Areas Ordinance and a new ruling related to federal flood insurance / salmon protection have stirred up the debate something fierce. Petition drives and court cases are underway opposing restrictions on property usage, while other local organizations are educating people about environmental and community benefits. This should be interesting to watch…

Also, a team of divers discovered a World War II era fighter plane in the bottom of Lake Washington; certainly a more intriguing find than the usual array of old anchors and lawn furniture. If you haven’t mustered the time or courage to take up diving around our waterways, I highly recommend it. The lakes can be interesting, but the life teeming along the shores of the Sound are especially fascinating and world class. Yes it’s rather cold, but modern wetsuits or – even better – drysuits can keep you warm enough for your short explorations into inner space. Check out the Activities section of WaterHavens.com for a listing of local scuba clubs to get you started.

Unlike normal holiday trends, the real estate market is still very active right now. Last month saw new highs, available inventory has declined 18% from last year, and there are more buyers than sellers out there. Accordingly, prices have risen and time on market has declined. Some of the better priced properties are still moving very fast. For the November general King County market, the average residential closed sales price was $399,464 (as compared to $368,496 for November 2003) and the average condo sales price was $238,508 ($223,735 for November 2003). Average time on market has shortened from 61 days to 49 days.

In the WaterHavens waterfront market, house sales ranged from a Federal Way walk-down home on the Sound for $299,950 to a Mercer Island Lake Washington home for $5,250,000, condo sales ranged from $145,000 for a Redmond condo on Lake Sammamish to a Kirkland Lake Washington condo for $900,000, and floating home sales ranged from $135,000 to $1,135,000. Waterfront and water view inventory is down across the board, but that is usual for this time of year and is amplified by the still hot market plus excellent interest rates. There are currently 216 waterfront WaterHavens available in our local area, and even more water view and water access WaterHavens.

Enjoy a WaterHaven! Our waterfront and waterview is the best in the world.