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Central Puget Sound

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Stream Blog for Miller and Walker Creeks:
Observations from the Stream Bank During 2012

This Web page records observations of Miller and Walker Creeks from the people who live, work, and play alongside them. Observations during 2012 are on:

  • Water quality and quantity
  • Fish presence
  • Efforts by people to improve the heath of the stream basin

View the 2010 stream blog.

View the 2009 stream blog.

View the 2008 stream blog
.

View the 2007 stream blog.

Date: October 25, 2012
Location: Miller Creek at the Cove in Normandy Park
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: This male coho salmon in the lower part of Miller Creek was still alive, but just barely. 2012 coho salmon are returning to spawn in large numbers, but many of them are dying before they get a chance to spawn due to a toxic reaction to the polluted water in Miller Creek. This salmon likely did not yet spawn, but it is much easier to tell whether female salmon have spawned than males.
CSI_DyingcohoMale-10_25_12

Date:
 October 22, 2012
Location: Miller Creek at the Miller Creek Sewer Treatment Plant in Normandy Park
Source: Joy Neubauer, CSI volunteer and Burien resident
Observation: Piles of "bubbles" were seen in a few places along Miller Creek. These were reported to the cities in the basin (Burien, Normandy Park and SeaTac). A possible source was found at a car dealership in Burien, and the city and the dealership are working cooperatively to resolve the problem.
Bubbles-MillerCr-JoyNeubauer10_22_12

Date:
  October 15, 2012
Location: Miller Creek at the Cove in Normandy Park
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: Three volunteers from the Community Salmon Investigation (CSI) for Highline program prepare to necropsy a dead salmon to see whether it died before it spawned. Rains over the preceding two days attracted coho salmon to the stream, and many were found dead before they had a chance to spawn. The cause of pre-spawn mortality continues to elude researchers, but King County staff collected water samples from Miller and Walker Creeks this week to test the hypothesis that the type of dissolved organic carbon (from dead leaves or other sources) can affect the toxicity of the water.
CSI-NecropsyJoyRogerMichael-10_15_12

Date:
  July 17, 2012
Location: Miller Creek in Burien
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: King County's Noxious Weeds Control Program finished up their last year of a multi-year grant to control four nasty noxious weeds in the basin:  policeman's helmet, knotweed, purple loosestrife and giant hogweed. Here in the Miller Creek ravine, Maria Winkler stands near a Douglas fir that fell over the creek and is partially covered with another invasive weed, English ivy, which is quickly spreading across towards the other stream bank.
millercrnoxweedsurvey_7-17-12

Date:
April 22, 2012
Location: Walker Preserve in Normandy Park
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: Four volunteers helped finish removing ivy from the south side of the trail (the side closer to the stream). We pulled in areas where there weren't any blooming flowers to keep from pulling them up along with the ivy. 
Ivy Removal Walker Preserve 4-22-12

Date: April 10, 2012
Location: Walker Preserve in Normandy Park
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: Spring has come to Walker Preserve! Native Pacific bleedingheart and trilliums are in full bloom. The native plants are flourishing where the ivy has been pulled out.
trillium at Walker Preserve, April 2012

Date: March 27, 2012
Location: Tributary from Lake Burien to Miller Creek, upstream of SW 158th Street in Burien
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: For our second work party here to remove ivy, five volunteers participated, including the homeowner. The now experienced crew rescued several trees by removing ivy from around the base, and removed ivy from the ground over a large area next to the stream.


Date:  March 17, 2012
Location: Walker Preserve in Normandy Park
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: Eight hardy volunteers showed up on this cold, rainy day! Much progress was made on the ivy closer to the beginning of the trail. The dense ivy means several more large piles were left to compost, in full view of the trail.
Ivy Removal Walker Preserve 3-17-12

Date:
February 18, 2012
Location: Walker Preserve in Normandy Park
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: Removed invasive English ivy and Himalayan blackberry alongside seven hard-working volunteers. During this third work party of the winter, we focused on an area of dense ivy closer to the footbridge near the start of the trail. Several large piles of ivy were left behind - these were piled on top of a rack of dead sticks to keep the stems from contacting the ground and rooting again.

Ivy Walker Preserve 2-18-12
Two young volunteers stand on top of the spoils for the day - a pile of ivy that was pulled and piled on top of dead sticks to compost on site.

Date: February 4, 2012
Location: Southwest Suburban Sewer District plant, on Miller Creek in Normandy Park
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: Trout unlimited raised over 80,000 coho from eggs to fry, hatching them in incubator trays in a shed at the Sewer Plant on Miller Creek.  Many volunteers arrived to help deliver buckets of tiny fish to be released in Miller Creek, Walker Creek, Salmon Creek, and Des Moines Creeks. 

Date: January 31 and February 2, 2012
Location: Miller Creek and Walker Creek at various locations
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: In response to multiple observations over the past year of periodic large amounts of foam in Miller Creek, I investigated some accessible areas of the stream during a day when no large foam piles in the stream were present. I noted the location and that only small amounts of foam were present, and looked as far upstream as SW 140th Street and 8th Ave SW in Burien (upstream of the airport, downstream of 1st Ave South). Two days later, large foam piles were present at the Southwest Suburban Sewer District, and sure enough, there was more foam at the most upstream location I had investigated. Some staff from the City of Burien joined me, and we found a car detailing business on 1st Avenue South that was washing cars in its parking lot - which drained to a storm drain and to Miller Creek without being treated!  The car detailing business agreed to wash its cars in a gravel area that doesn't drain to the stream instead, and will eventually install a treatment system in the storm drain.

Date:
January 31, 2012
Location: Miller Creek, the downstream end of the Southwest Suburban Sewer District property
Source: Darren Hill, Southwest Suburban Sewer District
Observation: Darren reported that the small log jam at the downstream end of the property had plugged near the bottom, and high flows had caused a waterfall to begin to form. The waterfall was about four feet high, and a small side channel on the right bank was forming. High flows were also threatening to back up the pump at the sewage treatment plant, which could have caused raw sewage to flow into Miller Creek. Elissa called Larry Fisher, the Hydraulic Permit Approval coordinator for the basin from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, to get his advice.  During a site visit, he recommended pulling only sticks that were smaller than four inches out to restore fish passage through the area and prevent further erosion. A couple days later, the log jam was back to normal, and the threats to fish passage and raw sewage entering the creek were averted.

Date: January 14, 2012
Location: Walker Preserve in Normandy Park
Source: Elissa Ostergaard, Stream Steward
Observation: Eight volunteers helped out with the third ivy pull of the winter.  It was cold, but everyone wore plenty of layers and worked hard!  Volunteers laid sticks down on the ground and piled the pulled ivy on top of it, to keep it from rooting again. The work was done near the start of the loop trail, at the top of the ridge between Miller and Walker Creeks.

Stewardship of the Miller/Walker Creeks basin is jointly funded by the City of Burien, City of Normandy Park, City of SeaTac, King County, and the Port of Seattle. On behalf of the partners, this page is proudly hosted by King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks - Water and Land Resources Division.