b'PUBLIC WORKS2019 was a bittersweet year. The 10th year of the community salmon surveys provided reason to celebrate. The program has been a huge success by many measures and exceeded all expectations. Over 120 local volunteers have participated in the program and contributed over 4,000 hours of time. Think about thatover 4,000 hours of community service! Its a testament to the importance of salmon to the community. Give yourself and your neighbors a hand! The Miller Walker watershed has become one of the most intensively studied creeks with respect to urban runoff mortalitythe phenomenon where coho salmon exposed to stormwater runoff die prior to spawning. A collaborative partnership spawned (pun intended) with University of Washington professor Ed Klodziej has thrust the watershed into the forefront of this research. The partnership has improved our understanding of sources of contaminants impacting coho salmon (likely one or more chemicals within tire rubber) and the transport of such contaminates through the watershed. It also guides strategic stormwater investments designed to improve water quality and restore local salmon runs. Despite the success, 2019 was also a difficult year. If you regularly walk or live adjacent to Miller or Walker Creek, you understand why. Only 25 salmon were observed in daily surveys between October and December, the lowest number reported during the 10 years of surveys. This decline hasnt been unique to our watershed. Over the last few years, low returns have been reported across Puget Sound. One factor contributing to the decline has been warm ocean conditions that have disrupted local and regional food webs (remember the Blob of 20142016?). This is reflected in our local salmon returns. Not only are fish numbers down, but the average size of coho salmon is also down. Biologist forecast 2020 willIf you are interested in joining the be another difficult yearCommunity Salmon Investigation and/or for salmon. Despite of this,learning more about what you can do to scientists are getting closer tosupport salmon recovery, please contact identifying the culprit behindMatt Goehring (mgoehring@kingcounty.gov).urban runoff mortality, and we continue to restore habitat and reduce stormwater runoff. There is a cyclical element to Puget Sound salmon returns. In 2010, only 25 coho were observed. One year later over 400 hundred returned. Although Im not suggesting a similar rebound is likely in 2020, I expect the dedicated local residents will be there to observe it when it does. NORMANDY PARK CITY SCENE|SUMMER 2020 21'