Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Redmond Councilmember Kim Allen testifies at the "Willowmoor Flood Plain" public meeting

Above, is a 6-minute video of the "Willowmoor Flood Plain Restoration project."  The purpose of the project is to control floods in the Sammamish River and Lake Basin while improving fish habitat.
In 2010 residents living along Lake Sammamish started to complain about floods on the lake that eroded the shorelines and damaged docks and piers. The King County Flood Control District organized a task force to find solutions. Nine meetings and 500 volunteer hours later, on June 6th a few days ago, the District held their final public design meeting. The options are: the "split channel with cold water supplementation" or "transition zone river widening."  Both are significantly cheaper than the County's current willow shrub maintenance program.    
Susan Wilkins, a Redmond Water Tender was on the Task Force and testified at the public meeting. (Well over 40 to 50 citizens attended.) She recommended the Split Channel because it is more salmon friendly while still offering flood control. The Split Channel option provides cool water supplementation and enhanced habitat important to Kokanee and King Salmon survival.  Matt Baerwalde, Water Quality Manager for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, also spoke in favor of the split channel option and highlighted the Tribe's concern about declining salmon runs and the cultural significance of salmon to the Native American people.
Redmond Councilmember Kim Allan testified and recommended the Split Channel. The City of Redmond spent $150,000 from their Opportunity Fund towards project planning. Ms. Allen said the city invested $1.7 million on Tosh Creek restoration and the Split Channel would be the better option for Tosh Creek.  Redmond's water table is high and it's expensive and troublesome for developers to "de-water."  Ms. Allen said the wide channel option would make matters worse.  
I counted nine people who testified at the meeting. Six were in favor of the Split Channel. I prefer it too. The Chair implied the study was over-vetted and a decision would be moved up to June 20. Construction isn't expected for completion until 2020 or 2021!

Of note, an old "weir" that acts as a "brake" to control river flows is beyond its useful life. Several testified a new "dynamic weir" is necessary for either option to work.  
Bob Yoder

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