Lake Forest Park Streamkeepers Blog

Highlights—What We Did in 2018

posted Jan 14, 2019, 2:40 PM by Jean Farkas   [ updated Jan 14, 2019, 3:14 PM ]

The core mission of LFP Streamkeepers is water testing. In 2018, we sent out teams on 12 different dates to test physical and chemical water quality at a total of 32 sites. In addition, we conducted stream macro invertebrate sampling (BIBI) in September, with our results for McAleer and Lyon Creeks added to the regional Puget Sound Stream Benthos data base:

Our data is viewable here:

But our activities extended beyond water testing to encompass our Rain Garden project and participation in two other important projects.

Demonstration Rain Garden

We completed the Rain Garden project, which was constructed in 2017. We designed and installed an educational sign, prepared a brochure, and held the dedication ceremony with speakers that included King County council member Rod Dembowski and Lake Forest Park Mayor Jeff Johnson. This Rain Garden project was funded by the King County Wastewater Treatment Division.

Sign for Rain Garden   

Photo of key contributors at Rain Garden Dedication

Photos: Rain Garden sign and key contributors 
to the project

Kokanee Salmon restoration

We contributed to a new and exciting plan to bring Kokanee salmon back into our creeks. This landlocked salmon species was once the predominant native species in this watershed. Under the supervision of UW Bothell professor Jeff Jensen, students are designing Kokanee egg incubators that will be installed along Lyon Creek.

Photo: Prototype of Kojanee incubator

Filter evaluation

We contributed to a research project led by UW Bothell professor Rob Turner to determine if Catch Basin Filters for storm sewers are effective in removing heavy metals and polycarbons in stormwater runoff from our roads. The findings will be reported on this website when they are available.

Acknowledgements and more information

Many people and organizations contributed to these projects. Among them are the LFP Stewardship Foundation, King County’s Waterworks Grant Program, the City of Lake Forest Park, Snohomish County Conservation District, and People for an Environmentally Responsible Kenmore (PERK).

Here are links to more detailed information:

The Demonstration Rain Garden:

The Kokanee Project:

The Catch Basin Project (discussed within the UW Bothell Kokanee article cited above.  

Streamkeepers Now Affiliated with Sno-King Water Watchers

posted May 6, 2016, 3:13 PM by Derek Brown   [ updated May 6, 2016, 3:40 PM ]

One of Our New Monitoring KitsLate last year a new stream monitoring group was formed by the Sno-King Watershed Council ( ) to coordinate and intensify water quality efforts on streams in north King and south Snohomish counties.  This work is supported by grants from King County Waterworks and the Rose Foundation to help cover the costs of materials, supplies and training.

We were approached about being a part of this group, and said “Yes!” We are still LFP Streamkeepers, but have now adopted new monitoring procedures and equipment (provided by the City of Lake Forest Park), and will be reporting our testing results for inclusion in a broader data base along with data from a number of other area streams.

We still monitor dissolved oxygen, pH and temperature, although using new equipment that allows for more accurate and reliable results. In addition, we’ve added several additional water quality parameters: turbidity, hardness, alkalinity and coliform bacteria.

Inspiration for the formation of the Water Watchers program came largely from another organization, Global Water Watch, based at Auburn University in Alabama. GWW supports river and lake monitoring programs throughout North America as well as in Central and South America, with plans to expand to other parts of the world. For more information on GWW:

July 17, 2015 Quality Testing Notes

posted Aug 15, 2015, 9:37 PM by Derek Brown

Despite the heat, traffic congestion and detours, and faulty data sheets, we had a very successful morning on the streams on July 18th. A good turnout, including two new testers from LFP and two folks from the SnoKIng Watershed Council who were interested in observing what we do. We visited 10 sites; one of our usuals was skipped due to low water and inaccessibility.

Here is a synopsis of that data posted at Quality Data 2015

Dissolved Oxygen: The highest result was 13 (mg/l.); the lowest 6. All others were in the 9 - 11 range. The 6, on Lyon Creek, just below the culvert collapse at Ballinger Automotive, is definitely lower than what is good for fish, and might warrant some follow up testing over the next few weeks.

pH (acidity): Five locations recorded this at more than 7.5, which is the value we most frequently find. This is interesting in that King County, in its stream monitoring program, notes a long term trend for Lyon and McAleer Creeks towards lower pH values, meaning the streams are slowly becoming more acidic. Go figure.

Turbidity: Two sites were cloudy; the others were clear.

Temperature: These measures were very interesting given the hot spring and summer we’ve had. The average temp for Lyon Cr. and its tributaries was 65.2F., which was noticeably warmer than the average for McAleer Cr. and its tributaries at 60F. Looking back at the July 2014 and 2013 temp readings, this relationship is also the case, although not by so wide a margin. 68F was noted on Lyon Cr. at the Town Center. That temp is close to the range where biologists say bad things begin to happen to salmon and trout.

Interesting to speculate about the different temperatures in our two stream systems. McAleer generally has a little more water volume - maybe that makes it a little cooler. McAleer starts in a lake (Lk. Ballinger) - maybe that tends to moderate the temperature towards cooler. It might also indicate that McAleer has more tree cover over its length. I think a case can be made that more shade along Lyon Cr. would improve its fish habitat function, especially in periods of extreme warm weather.

Bacteria: Several of us attended a workshop recently where we learned a simple method for screening stream water for e. coli and other bacteria. So we took samples at 5 locations in order to try it out. The samples were mixed with a measured amount of growth medium and cultured in a petri dish for 30 hours. A styrofoam box with a light inside served as the incubator. The results indicate low levels of e. coli and other bacteria at all 5 locations.  The sample from McAleer Cr. where it enters LFP at 196th St. (near the former Guitarville store) developed the most colonies - see the file below. The 2 darkest colonies are e. coli; the other red/pink colonies are non-e. coli bacteria.

Obviously great caution is needed in interpreting these results. It was our first time doing the test, so there could have been “operator errors” at several points. However it is a test that could add a new dimension to our overall monitoring program, and one that we may want to work with more in the future.

Looking to the future, the City has once again asked that we conduct an insect inventory on our streams in the fall - we collect the samples, they pay for an aquatic entomologist to do the analysis. We have set Saturday, Oct. 3, 9:00-12:00 to do this. I’ll send out a reminder as the date gets closer - hope you can join us.

Study of sockeye predation in McAleer and Lyon Creeks

posted Feb 28, 2015, 4:13 PM by LFP Streamkeepers   [ updated Feb 28, 2015, 4:14 PM ]

    The photo below is one of two cutthroat trout a UW team captured in early January on McAleer Cr.The fish were both about 14 inches in size. They were tagged and released as part of a study to learn more about the effects of cutthroat predation on Sockeye salmon numbers in Lake Washington. They’ll be tagging and releasing them for about the next two months on McAleer and Lyon Creeks.                     

Updated February 28th, 2015

Saturday January 17, 2015 Monitoring Report

posted Jan 17, 2015, 1:50 PM by Derek Brown   [ updated Feb 28, 2015, 4:03 PM by LFP Streamkeepers ]

Updated February 28th, 2015 

    Four strong teams visited our 11 test locations on Jan. 17, with the rain holding off 
just long enough for a pleasant morning on the streams. 7 veterans turned out along  
with three first-time testers including a UW fish biologist and a middle school 
    Water conditions were very good. Temperatures ranged from 42 – 45 degrees 
Fahrenheit, with the cooler temperatures generally on McAleer Cr., the larger of our 
two streams. Dissolved oxygen results were generally around 11 mg/liter – 9 and 
above are considered ideal for fish.  9 of the sites had pH (acidity) scores of 7.5 – 
again, ideal – and the other two sites were 7 and 8. 

Thanks to everyone who participated! Our summer testing is tentatively scheduled 
for July 18th.

The January 17, 2015 data can be see at: Quality Data 2015. The far right column is dissolved oxygen.

Saturday September 28 2013 BIBI Monitoring Report

posted Sep 29, 2013, 12:11 PM by Derek Brown   [ updated Sep 29, 2013, 12:11 PM ]

Despite constant drizzle, two groups of BIBI samplers got out for our yearly  monitoring effort.  The macroinvertibrate samples that we collected are on their way to the lab for analysis. 

Car in Creek Followup

posted Aug 6, 2013, 10:28 PM by Derek Brown

Of interest to folks interested in the streams of Lake Forest Park, here is a little more info about the city's response to the accident in McAleer Cr. during the early morning hours of July 26, 2013, via Scott Walker, the Public Works superintendent. For the back story see Car Crashes, Burns in McAleer Creek on the Patch website. 

DOE and DFW were called immediately and consulted about the response. The city had a vacuum truck in the scene within several hours, and removed surface water in the immediate area where contamination was observed. They also removed contaminated sand and rocks from the immediate site, as well as contaminants on the rocks and dirt of the embankment that was damaged when the car went into the stream. City crews also inspected downstream to Animal Acres and removed some surface contamination along the way where access to the stream was possible. The inspection went down to the by-pass just on the downstream side of 522. Also in the immediate area of the crash and for 100 feet downstream, overhanging foliage that dipped into the stream, and showed signs of contamination, was removed. Several large boulders that made up the bank of the stream were knocked into the stream by the impact. The city is responsible for repairing that damage to maintain the integrity of the roadway. Scott said they will consult with DFW about whether those boulders need to be removed from the stream, or whether they can be left in place and other boulders brought in to repair the bank. Scott was pretty confident that the driver of the car will eventually pay for all the decontamination and remediation work.

So our BIBI testing this year may be especially interesting as a measure of possible effects from the crash on the stream. One of our regular sites is at Animal Acres, about a quarter mile downstream from the crash site.

Saturday July 20, 2013 Monitoring Report

posted Aug 6, 2013, 10:11 PM by Derek Brown   [ updated Aug 6, 2013, 10:12 PM ]

(Mark Phillips) Despite the absence of a couple of our "regulars," July's water testing went well. Water temperatures were mainly at 60 degrees, with several sites a degree or two cooler. DO readings were 9 - 10 mgs/liter, with one exception, a small tributary of Lyon Creek with only a trickle of flow tested at 6. pH was 7.5 at all sites. (King County, using more precise testing methods, detects a slow trend in many area streams toward greater acidity, i.e., readings lower than 7.5.) We started new procedures to minimize risk of spreading New Zealand Mud Snails, recently confirmed in McAleer Creek: limiting direct stream contact to one team member, and brushing off boot bottoms when leaving a site. No snails of any kind were observed. This year's BIBI sampling may be especially important in helping get a better idea of the extent of mud snail presence in the streams.

Saturday January 19, 2013 Monitoring Report

posted Jan 28, 2013, 9:57 PM by Derek Brown   [ updated Jan 29, 2013, 10:20 PM ]

(Mark Phillips)  Air temperature was a nippy 32 degrees for our Jan. 19th water testing. Water temps were mainly 40 - 41, with one small tributary at 43 degrees. A lot of 12's (mg/l) were recorded for dissolved oxygen, with one 9 and one 14. The streams were running clear, and relatively low, with no rain for the preceding week.
Before setting out we discussed the Lyon Creek by-pass which is scheduled to be built this year, and agreed to lobby city hall regarding the need for a thorough EIS. Also discussed the Patch article about our 2012 Streams Report, and felt that the headline gave too rosy a picture of stream conditions. Since then the Shoreline Area News also published the report.
With several stalwarts out for one reason or another we were a little short-handed, but managed with just three teams and some creative reallocation of test sites. Thanks to Jim, Tyson and Dave for taking extra sites, and Ed for handling one box by himself!

The January 19, 2013 Basic Quality data can be seen at: Quality Data 2013

LFP Streams Report 2012

posted Jan 7, 2013, 9:22 PM by Derek Brown   [ updated Jan 9, 2013, 7:56 PM ]

Mark Phillips lead the collaboration of the production of a report of the years activities and analysis: Lake Forest Park Streams Report 2012 .

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