Minutes for April 22, 2014 Meeting

Meeting Summary
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 7:00-9:00 PM
The Hearthstone, 6720 East Green Lake Way N
Board Room

Recorder: Ellen Hewitt

Kathleen ConnerGayle GarmanEllen HewittBrian deLucaRichard FlemingMaureen KwolekSusan LevyGaret MungerMarcia NormanAndrea WattsRob Zisette

Meeting came to order with welcome and introductions

Richard Fleming Presentation on Lake Monitoring Methods and Results

  • Richard discussed the King County Lake Stewardship Program and explained what measurements and samples are involved at Level 1 and Level 2.
  • Level 1 includes measurements of surface temperature, water clarity (Secchi disk depth), and wind, cloudiness, surface state of the water, bird count and boating activities. Level 1 measurements are made weekly from the dock outside of the boat rental facility year round.

  • Level 2 includes collection of water samples to provide pH, potassium, nitrogen, chlorophyll, and others, as well as temperature of the water. Samples are collected one meter below the surface every other week from early May to late October. Three times during the sample season, surface, mid depth and bottom (27 feet) water samples and temperatures are taken. Wind, clouds and surface state, unusual conditions, etc. are also noted. Level 2 measurements are done from kayaks at the deepest point of the lake across from The Hearthstone. Level 2 measurements are taken bi-weekly from May through October each year.
  • Richard also showed charts of Green Lake water conditions going back to before the alum treatment ten years ago, to the present, showing correlations between weather conditions as well as a dramatic improvement in clarity after the alum treatment in 2004. With last year’s increase in blue green algae, and closures required by toxic algae measurements, the time is approaching for the next alum treatment.
  • Richard also keeps a daily log of rainfall from his home north of Green Lake.
  • He also reported on a Green Lake water level study he is completing. Water surface level is maintained by the Parks Department using a benchmark at the Small Craft Center. The Department goal is to keep the water level about a foot below their dock.
    • Green Lake is the most heavily planted lake in King County, so another concern while keeping water level at a consistent level is protecting the planted fish from exiting the lake. The principal outlet (opposite Meridian Ave) has a screen to prevent passage of fish out of the lake. An auxillary drain (opposite Sunnyside Ave) has no screen. The auxillary drain is used only after major storms, in order to return the lake to its target level.
    • There are two other now abandoned drains opposite 77th Ave and 66th Ave. The Densmore “Drain” near the Wading Poll is a surface runoff drain for several areas north of Green Lake and occasionally provides water to the lake from as far north as Bitter Lake. These contributions occur only during major storm events.
    • The Hearthstone Outlet must be manually adjusted by removing wood boards (stop-logs) when it is necessary to lower water level following heavy rainfall. When the lake has returned to its target level the stop logs are replaced. The stop-logs are removed for only a few days each year.

Garet Munger Presentation on Methods of Measuring Algae Scum Present on Green Lake

  • Garet walks the lake nearly every day with his dog, Charlie Chester, and has recorded the presence of the algae scum at 31 locations around the lake shore. During his walks Garet rates the amount of scum on a scale of 1 to 5. He records the nearly daily values on an Excel chart. The data can be graphed to illustrate the growth and decline of the scum in the lake. The scum is wind driven and accumulates along the shore depending on the wind direction. The ratings of daily scum level are subjective but are a useful record because of the level of shjoreline coverage and the regularity and frequency of the observations. The preliminary rough chart that Garet prepared demonstrates that from Feb. 2013 to April 2014 there were no months when the scum was absent. The highest levels of scum came during the winter months, with a peak in November, 2013. King County was collecting samples for microcystin testing during the months September to December. Based on the level of microcystin warning signs were posted around the lake. The warning signs cautioned visitors to avoid contact and to be especially careful about letting pets enter and drink the lake water. There were times in Nov. and Dec. when the scum observations were especially high and were “off scale” relative to what Garet had seen previously. Rob Zisette wants to do further analysis, including a GIS analysis.
  • More information is available on the King County website. A report, by Sally Abella, of Green Lake Water Quality for water year 2013, can be accessed here. This report presents the results of water quality sampling as well as toxic algae test results for the year 2013,. FOGL sampling and preliminary toxin analysis was very effective in triggering King County to investigate further, resulting in timely warnings and caution signs being placed to protect the public. The information was added to the state toxicology database.
  • Garet will attend a King County workshop on lake sampling on Sat. Apr. 26, 2014 conducted by Sally Abella.

March 29 Work Party Summary

  • About a dozen enthusiastic volunteers turned out on Saturday, March 29 help clean up the blackberry, weeds and other non-native invaders in the habitat restoration site on the East side of the lake. This area was originally cleared and planted with native plants in 2010. The work area is along the shoreline across from the intersection of Kenwood Place North and East Green Lake Way North, about ¼ mile north of the small craft center.
  • Maureen Kwolek asked if more work parties were planned, and suggested some groups that would possibly be interested in working on them – Scout troops, etc. Green Seattle Partnership is run by Seattle Parks and we do work with them. Work parties will be able to resume after birds have completed their mating season and made their nests.

June 7 – Seattle Works Day Milfoil Removal Plan

  • Rob Zisette and his crew from Herrera have volunteered to participate in a work party focused on Milfoil removal. These very active folks include 5 divers, 4 snorkelers, and 4 shore crew. They will be pulling milfoil, including as many of the roots as possible, get it to the shoreline, and pile it up to be picked up by Seattle Parks. Rob and his crew will be in the lake from 12 noon to 3 pm at the cove north of the boat rental area. Clark Gray, owner of the boat rental may provide a boat to use. They will be pulling up milfoil around the dock and embayment. Rob will monitor the conditions before the effort and after.

Report by Kathleen Conner of Seattle Parks

  • Seattle Parks will have the money to do another study and do have money to do the alum treatment that will be needed in the near future, according to Kathleen Conner. The study is expected to be done during 2014 and permitting for the alum treatment is expected in 2015. Treatment should be done by 2016. This is a better way to handle it than the last alum treatment which had to be done on an emergency basis after two consecutive years of beach closings, bad smells and toxic conditions.

Planning for Next Meeting

  • Possible programs / speakers for the May 27 meeting were discussed. We will follow up on suggestions made, and announce the results before the next meeting.

The Meeting Was Adjourned at 9 pm.