Minutes for January 22, 2013 Meeting

Meeting Summary
Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 7:00-9:00 PM
The Hearthstone, 6720 East Green Lake Way N
Board Room

Recorder: Davis Patterson

Klaus ShelleyKaren SchurrGayle GarmanRichard FlemingKevin StoopsEllen HewittDavis PattersonRob ZisetteHanna PetrosColleen HackettDanny GarrettJustin SpinelliMarcia NormanTodd YoungAdam KlevenBrian TothDillon RothKate BechererJoel Tufel


Danny Garrett and Justin Spinelli of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Presentation on Management of Green Lake Fish.

Danny Garrett presented lake history. The WDFW has a lot of data on the lake over time—newspaper clippings, etc.

Channel catfish were first put in Green Lake in 1939; they are not native. The lake was dredged; it would be much shallower otherwise. It has been invaded by nuisance species (e.g., yellow perch, bullhead) that outcompete others. If it hadn’t been dredged, would probably be more of a waterfowl habitat.

It is a popular trout fishery, because it is a closed system (no anadromy), an urban lake, with excellent shore access. Eurasian milfoil and common carp have proliferated since 1980s. If the carp could be removed, water quality would likely improve, and other fish would flourish more. However, it is unclear how much carp contribute to water quality issues; some modeling has suggested that they are a small contributer.

The lake has been “rehabilitated” (through kill-off) to eliminate nuisance species and reintroduce fry. This is more cost effective than introducing catchables (at least 8”). Trout must be planted; they do not occur naturally. Danny traced the history of fish populations through fish kills, angling survey, electrofishing, and gill netting, 1950-1993. In 1999, sampling was conducted—the last good snapshot available. 80% of biomass was common carp. Methods to remove carp include mechanical, stocking a super predator, or rotenone (“rehabilitation”). The last application of rotenone to Green Lake was 1972.

In response to questions about the extent to which carp cause poor water quality, Danny said to keep in mind that though research has linked carp directly to poor water quality, it doesn’t mean that they are the prime cause.

Is it possible to control carp with tiger muskie by not planting trout? This would mean discontinuing trout stocking for several years, which would lead to backlash from the fishing community. The hope was that tiger muskie would help over time. 33% of carp were removed mechanically. Gayle reported that carp seem to be less numerous, and fewer people seem to be catching carp. The large carp population seems to have declined. The alum treatment may have reduced carp as well.

WDFW will probably sample Green Lake next year or the year after; this is overdue. It would require 3 days.

Channel catfish have been stocked in five lakes; this is only done in lakes without salmon. Channel catfish are probably functionally sterile in most lakes in western Washington because the water temperature isn’t high enough. They are good at controlling other fish species, though probably not carp, because carps grow too quickly. They were planted in 2000-2005, 2011 in low numbers per acre. They have a wide tolerance for the issues that typically affect urban lakes.

Fish and water quality management options for Green Lake include

  • stocking rainbow and brown trout (put and take)
  • stocking channel catfish (put, grow, and take)
  • partially removing common carp (mechanical)
  • attempting to remove all fish species, start over (rehabilitation)
  • habitat work, e.g., milfoil removal
  • chemical treatment for water quality
  • doing nothing

Questions and Discussion

Birds require smaller fish, while WDFW appear to manage for larger species, focused on fishery usage rather than other uses. Trout planted at 8 inches are too big for birds to eat, except eagles. Channel catfish are also too big.

Danny said that he may have oversold the value of channel catfish for controlling nuisance fish. They would like to move toward larger sportfish, but that won’t necessarily eliminate smaller fish.

Will fish that live a long time accumulate toxins? Ultimately it’s up to the consumer to be responsible about amount of fish they’re eating.

Most people come to lake not to fish but for aesthetic enjoyment. However, those who fish litter a great deal. Prioritizing fishing over other uses is a concern.

Danny noted that the thinking about lake management has evolved over time; what has been done in the past is not necessarily considered good practice now. The lake environment is not natural: there are lots of non-native species, and it’s hard to keep track of everything that has been done in the past. The desire is to have a conversation to look at the big picture and consider tradeoffs of various options.

Is there a way to encourage those who fish to clean up after themselves? And are there ways to restrict fishing to certain areas rather than have the whole lake shore open to fishing? The lack of nesting of pie-billed grebes may be due to increase in activity and disturbance of habitat such as from fishing. Many anglers who access Green Lake don’t seem to practice good stewardship, compared to other lakes. Many who fish there don’t have access to other lakes. Danny noted that fishing for carp does not require any fee or permit and there isn’t any limit.

The license enforcement officer also has the authority to write tickets for litter.

A concern was raised to Colleen Hackett of the Seattle Parks Dept. about piles of concrete that have been discarded in the lake. She clarified that the Parks Department doesn’t do this; these things occurred many years ago. It was suggested to put the topic of debris in the lake on the agenda for the next meeting.

Parks Dept. workers do not go in the water. FOGL has been told it’s not part of their job description. It’s a tradeoff in priorities. Kevin Stoops said that he is not sure that they are prohibited by their job description, but they have to balance a list of priorities, and shoreline/shallow water milfoil may not be at the top of the list.

It’s become too large of a job for FOGL to handle.

Carp removal is quite expensive, whether via mechanical removal or electro-fishing. It was noted by several members that Bruce Bolding of WADFW did an electrofishing survey of the Lake in 2004 but Danny was not aware of this. Kevin Stoops noted the Parks Dept had never received a written report, although Bruce had done a powerpoint for the Sept 2004 meeting. Danny Garrett will check this data and get back to FOGL. WDFW can do a survey in Spring or Fall, 2013—they need to decide on which lakes they will choose and will let FOGL know. WDFW can also send FOGL a document every year to inform of what’s being done in the lake.

Colleen Hackett: Seattle Parks Department Report

Colleen informed FOGL about planned maintenance:

Rehabilitation on paths was done last year and they will not be doing a lot more this year. They will focusing along the south side where there is trenching and puddling between the asphalt path and gravel path. A heavy equipment crew will do a slight grading to slope back toward the lake. There is a significant grass buffer there. They will also break up compacted areas, which is called “aravating.”

In addition they will fill low spots in other parts of the gravel path, particularly on the north side between the Bathhouse and tennis courts. The wall along shoreline doesn’t allow lots of opportunities for drainage. On the outer path there’s not much to do. The desire is to keep vegetation areas along the shore at least as wide as they are now. There is no intention to widen the gravel path. They will grade at a 2% slope toward lake.

Gayle noted that not containing the gravel has widened path unintentionally. The design criteria specify 5.5 feet. If it needs to be widened to accommodate traffic, then the design criteria need to be modified. Otherwise there need to be barriers to prevent widening and erosion, which leads to poor water quality, and preserve bird habitat in vegetated areas.

Colleen said they could see if they can do something to prevent more areas from turning into new fishing sites. She would be interested in knowing if FOGL wants to help identify a site for preservation. This could include installing “coconut” logs. The intent is to create a barrier to keep people out of restoration areas.

Could coconut logs be put along the path to inhibit gravel toward lake to define edge of trail? Kevin noted that this would only be a temporary solution, the coco logs are designed to degrade.

Colleen noted that staff don’t have a lot of extra time to tackle special projects.

If FOGL came up with money and volunteers, could we do this?

Kevin: it could be a couple of hot spots.

Colleen noted that it would require some design money to help create a barrier in problem areas. There is a good turf area where she intends to work.

Tree pruning will be done along path between wading pool and tennis courts. Colleen can email a list of trees and locations.

Two concrete pads have yet to be taken out. This should be done soon. Colleen thinks they are the pads on each end.

Treasurer’s Report   Gayle Garman

There were no expenditures or deposits during November and December 2012, so the final balance of $6,116.49 reflected the addition of $0.97 interest.

Continuing Discussion of Green Lake Management Plan: Rob Zissette

Issues and Stakeholders Committees have met and come up with lists. Rob distributed the list of Issues.

9:00 Adjourn