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LFP Streams Face Threats but Showed Good Water Conditions in 2012

The Lake Forest Park StreamKeepers group monitors water quality in McAleer and Lyon creeks.

Lake Forest Park’s streams have some good conditions for fish but have several serious problems, according to a volunteer group that monitors their water quality.

The Lake Forest Park StreamKeepers sampled McAleer and Lyon creeks twice last year at various locations, and tests showed good conditions for fish and other stream wildlife, according to the group’s 2012 report. Other testing by King County showed elevated levels of fecal coliform on Lyon Creek after storms.

Last year, 16 returning salmon were spotted in McAleer Creek–more than in the past few years, but far lower than the hundreds that used to be seen there, the report said. Salmon returns on Lyon Creek are rare, and none was observed last year. Students at Brookside, Lake Forest Park and Ridgecrest elementary schools raised and released salmon during the year with support from the LFP Stewardship Foundation.

Despite some good indicators, the city’s streams have several serious problems, the report said.

“Excessive storm water runoff from intense development is the major threat, carrying toxins from roads, homes and gardens, as well as damaging streambeds and banks. Extensive stream armoring on both LFP streams increases flow velocity and eliminates the benefits of natural flood plains. Numerous small dams and some major obstructions present barriers to fish and other stream animals. Invasive plants like ivy, knotweed and blackberries along the streams provide poor habitat for native plants and wildlife.”

The group will be doing its winter water sampling Saturday.

To read the whole report or volunteer with StreamKeepers, visit www.lfpstreamkeepers.org.

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