Cold But Calm Green Lake
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Editor’s note: Greenlaker Karl sent us these photos from his frequent visits to Green Lake. We loved the colors – and those cairns on the north side of the lake. Thanks for the photos and cool description Karl!
Autumn is falling more slowly than usual in Seattle (although it feels a bit like winter). The fir-like cypresses and other “tamaracks” around Green Lake turn rusty and shed their needles. Plus, lots of our seasonal resident ducks, coots and cormorants are returning; and the north-side cairn builder is back.
Years ago I heard stories of a rabbit that walked Green Lake on a leash. You better believe I have been hoping to run into this adorable creature ever since.
Recently, a friend – former Greenlaker contributor Chelsea who despite moving out of state still keeps a tab on Green Lake – sent me a photo of the bunny at Green Lake.
So here’s the story: PJ is a Lion head/Rex mix who has been walking Green Lake since he was a young bunny. The 4-year-old explores Gas Works Park, Golden Gardens and all over the NW by leash. After a recent move away from and back to the area, he spends his days befriending squirrels and going with his owner to work in a veterinary practice.
Want to follow him on Instagram (because of course he has his own Instagram account), check him out at @pj_bunnylove.
Special thanks to owner Deana for the info and the photos.
Last Fall we wrote about a proposed law that was endorsed by city council member, Mike O’Brien, that would allow homeless individuals to camp legally in areas of the city that are currently illegal including some parks, greenbelts, school grounds and sidewalks. According to Speak Out Seattle, more than 21,000 signatures were gathered in just six days rejecting that proposed law. Based on the emails, calls and signatures in opposition, the Seattle City Council decided not to even take a vote on the proposal.
Now, a similar proposal is being discussed.
That proposal would defund a program that provides Navigation Teams (a group of social workers and other service providers that work with law enforcement to provide encampment inhabitants with the resources they need to find housing). According to Speak Out Seattle, the proposal would also “ban the city from providing any services that would aid in removing unsafe encampments.” The proposal would also “prevent the city from taking any action to remove dangerous and illegal encampments in “inactive” parts of parks where plants, trees and shrubs grow or in areas where an activity is not currently taking place, as well as parking strips, trailside greenspaces, hillsides, ravines and bridge underpasses, to name but a few.”
Greenlakers, here’s what you can do:
Sign the petition before the City Council’s final budget meeting on November 1. The ipetition circulating has more than 2,000 signatures and helps send a strong message to City Council members that this is not the right approach.
Stay informed: The stats are mind boggling. And the problem is only getting worse.
Special thanks to the several citizens that emailed us over the weekend to tell us about this proposal! The only way a democracy works is through informed citizens like you.
Does Green Lake’s water level seem low? You aren’t imagining it, it really is. We received a tip from Greenlaker Garet Munger who has been monitoring the water level for the past four years. He shared his data and insights with us.
Green Lake Water Level August 30, 2013 to August 30, 2017
CharlieChester (our mixed cocker and poodle) and I have been making regular, nearly daily visits to Green Lake since moving closer to the lake in 2012. Most days we make a complete circuit around the lake. To satisfy my own curiosity, I have been measuring and keeping a record of the water level in Green Lake since August 2013. I measure the level of the water at a fixed point on the dock by the boat rental at the north end of the lake.
As anybody who has visited the lake will have observed, the water level in the lake is currently at a very low level. By my records, the level today (September 7, 2017) is near the lowest level it has been over the five Septembers for which I have recorded. The lowest level came on August 28, 2015. That lowest level was about ½” below today’s level. In 2015, the water level came up after the 28th with a storm event that produced about 1 ¾” of rain.
This summer has been an unusually almost record setting year for the lack of rain. It has also been warmer than average. The last significant storm event for Seattle was June 16. Precipitation of almost ¾” fell on Green Lake during that storm. Since then there was 0.03 inches recorded at Green Lake on July 28, and .11 inches of rain on August 31.
Rain fall is recorded at Green Lake by a weather station installed at the Small Craft Center at Green Lake. Daily results are published and reported here.
The water level in Green Lake has gone down each day over the summer at a rate of about 1/8” per day. We can expect the water level to continue receding until the first storm event of the fall. With higher temperatures, the rate of decline has been closer to ¼” per day.
Over the five years for which I have measurements, the lowest level measured at the beginning of September has varied by almost three inches. To a large extent, these annual differences in summer water levels can be accounted for; by the variation in the amounts and pattern of precipitation over the summer, differences in temperatures, and differences in the water level at the beginning of the summer, and by slight differences in outflows from the lake during the summer months.
Thank you Garet for sharing your citizen scientist skills with us!
Earlier this week the Parks Department took down the illegally constructed skate bowl on Duck Island, a protected nature area. As we reported two weeks ago, that would likely come with some hefty costs. And this week we found out how much. The Parks Department anticipates that it will cost $33,000 to deconstruct the skate bowl and restore the area. We saw a lot of chatter on the Seattle Greenlaker Facebook page with neighbors asking why the cost was so high. One person commented that it certainly didn’t cost the “builders” that much to create it.
Thanks to a tip from local Greenlaker James C who has been emailing with Kelly Brown, a Interim Strategic Communications Advisor for Seattle Parks Department we have more info.
According to Kelly:
“The deconstruction is two-fold. There is a skate park removal component and a restoration component. The removal project itself is estimated to cost between $5,796 and $6,296. This estimate includes but is not limited to labor costs and dump fees. The restoration component is more expensive as it is a bit more involved and will take place overtime. The restoration process is estimated to cost about $26,696.56. The restoration efforts include but are not limited to replanting, replacing soil, and removing damaged trees.”
While I’m grateful that the Parks Department is willing to invest in restoring that area for wildlife I can’t help but wonder how far this money could have gone to make some of the much needed updates to the Green Lake Community Center.
We have reached out to the Seattle Police Department multiple times to find out more on any arrests or leads about this investigation and have not heard back.
As people have voiced several times on Facebook and via email to Seattle Greenlaker recently, the people that did this should pay for the repairs. Our hope is that someday they will.
This just in… the illegally-constructed Duck Island skate ramp is scheduled to be disassembled later this month. The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department confirms that the illegal skate ramp that was constructed earlier this summer on Duck Island will be removed starting Tuesday August 22.
A Seattle Parks Spokesperson tells us that park crews will use jackhammers to break it apart. They will also use two boats and a floating dock/barge to make loading easier. A staging area will be located near the Aqua Theatre and will likely be roped off. But the park, water and walking path will remain open during that time. All of the remnants will be disposed of, which may be costly.
Parks Department officials are currently working on the estimates of how much this entire “de-commissioning” may cost. We will be following up with the Parks Department to find the final number after it is disassembled.
Work should be completed by August 24.
By now you have probably heard that Green Lake’s Duck Island has an illegal skate park. And if not, here’s the CliffsNotes version: a group of individuals built a skate “bowl” in secret as part of the Nike’s SB Project 58. The Nike endorsed site has since been taken down, but according to The Seattle Times, the project “encouraged skateboard shops to either extend an existing skatepark or build their own and upload the video so fans could vote on winners.” The video showed the group mixing concrete on the island to make the “bowl” of the skate structure.
Needless to say the city and Seattle Parks Department are not happy. The island was designated as a nature reserve in the mid 1950s and humans are not allowed to step foot on the island.
We’ve reached out to the Parks Department to find out more about what kind of damage the structure caused and what their next steps are for restoring the island. When we get a response we will update this post.
According to an article in this morning’s Seattle Times, disassembling the structure could involve a floating dock.
While many have expressed interest in seeing the skate structure, the Seattle Police are getting involved and humans are still warned to stay off the island.
This photo was taken earlier this year before the white blossoming water lilies grew up around the “turtle log” at the west side of the lake. Has anyone else noticed that herons tend to congregate more on the west side of the lake? This may be why.
Did you see the Aurora Borealis from Green Lake last week? Seattle Greenlaker contributor Dustin Guy captured these photos from his home the night of May 27 during the big geomagnetic storm.