Cedar River Watershed newsletter, Issue 14
Discover Learn Connect
Connecting people to the source of Seattle's drinking water, inspiring confidence, stewardship and sustainability.
Questions? Comments? Contact Cedar River Watershed Education Center
or (206) 733-9421

Flowing Water for Fish and Families

Pump Plants 1 and 2 in Youngs Cove

Pump Plant #2 and Pump Plant #1 staged in Youngs Cove, Spring 2014.

Chester Morse Lake is the primary storage reservoir in the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. It can hold up to 22 billion gallons of water, whether for drinking, for fish downstream, or absorbing winter floods. However, when full, only about half of the water is available by gravity flow alone. There is a natural, shallow channel at the mouth of the lake that prevents this water from flowing out of the Lake. Since 1987, one, and then two floating electric pumps have been ready to help move water through the channel to provide water for fish and for people. These pumps are a critical fail-safe that ensure Seattle Public Utilities can meet its legal requirements to provide minimum flows of water for anadromous salmon (chinook, coho, steelhead, and sockeye) in the Cedar River, while also keeping water flowing to our customer’s taps, into Lake Washington, and through the Chittenden Locks in Ballard. When connected to a discharge dike, the pumps can push up to 240 million gallons of water a day out of the Lake and into the Masonry Pool. From the Masonry Pool water flows into the Cedar River. SPU is currently working to replace these pumps with modern floating pumps that will be more efficient and effective than the current ones.

Did You Know?

Bull Trout

Bull trout are actually char. Unlike other salmon species char do not have teeth in the roof of their mouth. Photo credit: Joel Sartore/ National Geographic & Wade Fredenberg/ USFWS

While the Cedar River Watershed contains 17 documented native fish species only three of these exist in the Upper Cedar River Watershed. Bull trout, pygmy whitefish, and shorthead sculpin have been isolated for at least 13,000 years by Cedar Falls. Pygmy whitefish occur in only nine Washington Lakes. Bull trout are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The protection found in the closed Cedar River Watershed may help these species survive for many more years.

Breaking News

Salmon Journey

See spawning salmon at select sites along the Cedar River in the Renton/Maple Valley area! This is the only time of year you can visit Landsburg Diversion Dam. Free programs every weekend in October, from 11AM – 4PM. For more information, visit Cedar River Salmon Journey

Paul Bannick’s Owl & Woodpecker Programs

Through two separate programs offered on November 8th, award-winning author and photographer Paul Bannick will take you on visual explorations of these iconic birds. Sign up for both programs and get a discount. Bring your copy of his new book, “Woodpeckers of North America, A Naturalist’s Handbook” to be signed!

Get tickets now

Teach a Class at the Watershed Next Year

If you're a scientist, educator, historian, or artist whose work is aligned with the Cedar River Watershed Education Center, we want to hear from you. We are seeking proposals for 2015 Public Field Programs. To request a proposal form, or for questions about the application process, contact Julie Stonefelt

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Visit Us

Education Center

19901 Cedar Falls Rd SE
North Bend, WA 98045

April thru October
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

November thru March
Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area

19901 Cedar Falls Rd SE
North Bend, WA 98045
All Year
6:00 a.m. – Dusk

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Cedar River Watershed  email   |  (206) 733-9421  |  (425) 831-6780