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What is the Lake Sammamish Initiative?

The Lake Sammamish Initiative is an interjurisdictional effort started by former County Executive Gary Locke in August 1995 to control the water quality degradation of Lake Sammamish. It includes a set of short term actions to reduce the amount of phosphorus (an algae-producing nutrient) flowing into the lake by approximately five percent and a citizen task force, Partners for a Clean Lake Sammamish, who are charged with developing a long term action plan to protect the lake into the twenty-first century. The final recommendations, included future water quality goals for the lake, a set of management options to achieve those goals, and a financial plan to pay for the options.

Why is it important?

Lake Sammamish is an invaluable natural resource for the citizens in this area. Past investments of public dollars to protect its water quality are threatened by the combination of old and new development in the watershed. The Initiative represents a real opportunity for a public/private partnership to take actions to reverse the projected degradation and to ensure that the beneficial uses of this lake are maintained into the future. These actions will cost money - perhaps tens of millions of dollars - and may require all of us to change our habits. The Partners for a Clean Lake Sammamish evaluated the cost-effectiveness of all current and future activities that protect the lake - both structural and non-structural. They recommended a program that meets public goals for the lake and uses public and private dollars wisely.

What was the outcome?

The Partners heard support for establishing non-degradation goals for Lake Sammamish from over 100 citizens in November 1995. They also heard support for increased education, increased enforcement and compliance of existing regulations and increased stewardship of the watershed and lake by governments, businesses, and citizens. In response, the Partners evaluated the costs and effectiveness of current programs, regulations, existing and proposed facilities for water quality control. They recommended a range of actions based on their relative cost-effectivess and feasibility.

In August 1999, the area incorporated in the the City of Sammamish. King County continues to monitor the lake. For more information visit King County's lake services and information page.

For questions about Lake Sammamish, please contact Debra Bouchard, Water Quality Planner or Curtis DeGasperi, Lead Hydrologist, King County Science and Technical Support Section.