Look around your home. Do you know where your water came from? As your washing machine fills with hot water, imagine this year’s heavy March snow falling in the Cedar River Watershed. That cold, voluminous precipitation helped our snowpack reach near-normal levels. Frosty and solid, this water sat quietly in the mountains until the warm temperatures of May transformed it into burbling liquid, filling Chester Morse Lake.
Your washer’s spin cycle wasn’t the first time your water churned and tossed. As water flowed out of Chester Morse Lake, it tumbled through the Masonry Dam, plummeting 620 feet to the Cedar Falls Power Plant, spinning turbines to generate electricity. Once released from the powerhouse, your water flowed down the lower Cedar River, washing over and cleaning the gravel for rearing salmon.
Next, at Landsburg, in Maple Valley, your water passed through screens to remove twigs and other debris. Now protected within giant pipes, your water traveled to Lake Youngs, near Renton, where it was treated and streamed through a network of pipes until it reached your house to clean your clothes.
The journey doesn’t end there. As your washer drains, the wastewater flows to a new stage of treatment before entering Puget Sound. It will take a while before that water falls again as snow or rain in the mountains. Support your water on its journey by conserving water.
The completion of the Restoration Thinning Program(pdf) in 2013 marked a milestone accomplishment in the City of Seattle’s 50-year Cedar River Watershed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).
Between 2000 and 2013 more than 10,000 acres of dense second-growth forest, with trees less than 30 years old, were thinned to stimulate growth, increase plant diversity, and accelerate forest development.
The overarching goal of the thinning program is to accelerate development of complex forest habitat in the near-term and late-successional and old-growth forest conditions in the long-term.