Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Come See High School Students Report on the Health of Our Watershed

Sorry for the late notice, but please consider attending tomorrow night's meeting of the Sno-King Watershed Council.  The evening will include a very impressive presentation by area high school students called "The Watershed Report".  Read on for more information --

Join us at the next meeting of the Sno-King Watershed Council -

Wednesday, November 16, 7 pm
Northwest Stream Center
700 – 128 St SE, Everett 98208

  •  The Watershed Report – Students will present a report on watershed health, produced by high school students and the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed.  Through the Watershed Report, students become local experts on watershed issues and promote sustainability in local cities, schools and organizations. www.cedarriver.org/programs/watershed-report
  • Clean Water and Green Infrastructure – Kerri Cechovic of the Washington Environmental Council will tell you about current opportunities for you to protect your local watershed.  http://wecprotects.org/issues-campaigns/clean-water-green-infrastructure
  • Preventing lead pollution in lakes and rivers – An estimated 80,000 pounds of lead is lost annually in streams, rivers and lakes.  Bill Lider of the Sierra Club will describe proposed legislation to ban the sale of small lead sinkers.
  • Current initiatives by SKWC – Eric Adman of the Sno-King Watershed Council will describe an upcoming advocacy project, incorporation, and actions to strengthen our advocacy network
Sponsored by:

The Adopt-A-Stream Foundation www.streamkeeper.org
Friends of the Cedar River Watershed http://www.cedarriver.org/
Sno-King Watershed Council http://www.snokingwatershedcouncil.org/

To RSVP or for more information, contact
Eric Adman
Sno-King Watershed Council

Friday, November 11, 2011

Streamside Planting Update

Here is a loooong overdue update of how the planting in the stream buffer behind our fence is doing.  Our friends at Adopt-A-Stream gave us some biodegradable surveying tape to mark the plants so they show up a little better in photos.  I marked everything I could find that is still alive, so here you go ---

Before - 11/2010

11/2011, a year after planting

These next three shots are basically a panorama, starting with looking south across the large area next to the stream and ending up looking west toward the stream, which you can't see, but it is on the other side of the group of trees in the middle of the third shot -

Here is a view of this same area but looking northeast, right after planting last year -

...and here it is now - 

The reed canary grass is obviously still here, and the plan for our neighbor to mow between the beds to keep it down didn't pan out, mostly because it is so sloppy wet in this area.  Eric went back there with a string trimmer periodically, and I pulled grass runners out of the beds this fall.

Here are shots of various planting beds.  Unfortunately the live stakes are loosing their leaves due to fall and a bunch of the willow leaves have been nibbled by deer, so it will be hard for you to tell how well they are doing.  Keep in mind that everything marked with orange tape is living - 

Here's an example of what these beds started out looking like a year ago -

Here are some of the live stakes that were poked in along the stream bank.  And a peak-a-boo shot of the stream -

This is looking toward the southern boundary of the planted area.  There are a lot of surviving live stakes here -

 Here is the view standing uphill and looking west.  I'm concerned about the blackberry vines from the neighboring property overwhelming this area -

Same area right after planting

Poor little Douglas Fir being surrounded by blackberries

These next three shots are of the part of the project that is the furthest away from the stream - 

Right after planting

The blackberries are definitely returning to this area, too, which is the only bummer I see back there behind the fence.  I know from the way the new plants have grown along the stream in our yard that this project is going to look incredible in another year or two.

And speaking of which, I have a bunch of pictures to share of how amazing the stream-side restoration in our yard looks now.  I will share those in a separate post.  Soon!  

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I have been intending for a long time to do an update on the growth of the stream-side restoration projects in both our yard and the yard behind us.  As I was taking pictures outside yesterday to do so, I ran into this fella -  

I almost, but not quite, literally ran into him.  This is the biggest deer that I've seen in our neighborhood.  Take a look at those antlers - 


Three branches/points.

Whereas on Monday this guy caught my eye out of the kitchen window - 


He was relaxing in the sun behind our fence.  He is also in the picture at the beginning of this post.  Two prongs to his antlers.

Then this morning, four deer back there.  This doe, the 2-prong, and two smaller deer, who are probably the same two that I took pictures of earlier this year when they still had spots - 

I continue to feel that it is amazing to live in a place where there are deer running around.  And I'm much happier to see the deer this year since we were quite successful in keeping them out of our vegetable garden, with a little extra fencing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Upstream Development

One of the most disappointing sounds to hear as a person who cares about the well being of a stream is the sound of earth-moving equipment working in the vicinity of the stream.  Unfortunately for Little Swamp Creek and for the peace and quiet of our neighborhood, a long-dormant proposed development named West Creek Village on 80th north of 192nd evidently was picked up by someone new and is moving full speed ahead.

At first there wasn't even a Notice of Construction Activity sign on the property.  It's disconcerting what requirements just might not happen until someone points out that they are missing.  THAT is as good a reason as any why people need to speak up.  About anything.  After it was pointed out to the city, the sign showed up right away...

First clue that something was up?  Hundreds of these dump trucks with trailers dumping loads of dirt on the site all day long for days.   By the way, the large trees on either side of this driveway are now gone...

I call the mound of dirt that they brought in "The Kenmore Matterhorn".   I was pretty excited to see a chance for a photo with a person on the pile for scale.  See him?  It's unbelievable that all of that dirt is really going to be used here.

When I went down to the city to see what was going on and point out the lack of an information sign, they were kind enough to give me a map of the project and mark on it where silt fencing should be.  The silt fencing is supposed to keep muddy runoff from flowing right into the stream.  I have to say that so far it seems to be doing an excellent job.

But on October 3rd we just happened to notice that the stream looked like this in our yard -

There was an excavator and other equipment working where the stream flows through the project property (see them behind the trucks on the right) -

and the stream immediately upstream from this project was sparkly clean -

Luckily the city contact person has been excellent in getting right back to us when we have had concerns, and that day he whipped right out to the site to check it out.  Evidently the project required a temporary diversion of the stream to build a new stream-crossing, and it was all done with the proper permits.  I'm not sure why this is OK at the time of year when salmon are returning....seems like it should have been done in the summer.  A few days later the city contacted us to warn us that the project was going to take the stream out of the diversion and that there might be silt in the water again.  We appreciated the warning.  

This is a picture taken today.  You'll notice that the massive dirt pile has shrunk.  Some of it must have been used to raise up the grade of the entry road, since that has now less of a dip. The cement walls are evidently where the stream runs under the access road.  Someday I'll walk down there to take pictures of the stream, but surprisingly enough there was someone riding around the property on a golf cart today, so I stuck to the street....

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Animals of Little Swamp Creek

Fawn siblings looking to their mom who jumped the fence

The most exciting creatures that we've seen in our yard so far this summer were probably these two sweet fawns passing through with their mother.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Deer always seem to appear on drizzly, dark days (so unfortunately my photos of them are always a bit blurry).  They eventually headed north into the protection of the stream buffer across the street.

Mom and babies grazing in the stream-side native plantings

We've been seeing more rabbits than ever this year.  In fact, just this weekend our neighbors discovered a rabbit burrow complete with babies in the middle of their backyard lawn. Here's the cute little guy that was in our front yard earlier this summer -

I'm still wondering if the rabbit population has increased since the coyotes aren't around like they used to be.  
Oh, and they are "cute" as long as they aren't in our vegetable garden...

This song sparrow -

which had been singing to me all winter and spring from this tree, had babies.  It was hard to miss the presence of the young ones because they made such a racket, especially in the late afternoons.  They would hang out under the parent's favorite little tree and squawk.  I can't believe I managed to sneak out the door and get a photo of the parent feeding the juveniles, though it is a rather blurry shot...

Yes, the juveniles are bigger than the parent!

Every year we have a new robin's nest on either our grape or wisteria arbor.  Here's a parent sitting on this year's nest (this year it's the wisteria)  -

I love the brilliant head feathers of these sapsuckers.  I think there are matrices of their little pecked holes on ALL of our willow trees.

This is one of the Red-tailed hawks that inhabited the nest in a cottonwood in the wetland behind us.  I'm so disappointed that I can't take pictures of what happens in the nest once the leaves come out and block my view.

Sitting in the Douglas fir across the field

This, I believe, is one of the adults flying on a maiden voyage with it's fledgling in early July - 

Adult and juvenile Red-tailed hawk?

They were circling above our yard and one of them was making the screeching sounds that the young do in the nest.  The young one is like a dark shadow in all of my pictures - 

Then just a few days ago I realized that the juvenile hawk was sitting in the big fir tree across the field - 

Right after I took that picture it disappeared.  Only to reappear flying RIGHT over me (and the chicken run, which I'm sure was it's target).  My picture of it flying over the stream through the trees in our yard is just a blur, but you get the idea.  That was crazy.

OK, one last baby picture - 

Wads of tiny garden spiders were all over the place by the end of May.  Now I'm walking through their spider webs everywhere!

Next post -- focusing on the stream.