Seattle Parks and Recreation applies for coverage permits from the Washington State Department of Ecology

Eurasian milfoil

Eurasian milfoil

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is seeking coverage through Washington Department of Ecology permits to use aquatic herbicides to systemically control certain aquatic weeds. The goal is to improve water quality by managing both the invasive water lilies and milfoil at City’s freshwater beaches, swim areas, moorages and high use recreation sites. This is part of SPR’s integrated weed management plan for Eurasian milfoil and other regulated aquatic weeds.

Permitted use of an aquatic herbicide is endorsed by Washington Department of Ecology as a systemic solution to control specific aquatic weeds that impact recreation and water quality. The permit will cover the City owned properties on Lake Washington, Bitter Lake and Ship Canals –Lake Union.

Fragrant white water lilies

Fragrant white water lilies

Bellevue, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Medina and Renton have current permits from Ecology. The permit allows the discharge of a specific list of herbicides provided permit conditions are met, however, the herbicides currently anticipated for use are: Glyphosate, Imazamox, Imazapyr and Triclopyr TEA.

More information about the permit

Questions and comments during the permit process should be addressed to the Department of Ecology, Water Quality Program, Attention: Aquatic Pesticide Permit Manager, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600 or

Matthews Beach Park closed to water access

Toxic algae scum spotted in Lake Washington 

As a precaution, Seattle Parks and Recreation has temporarily closed access to the water at Matthews Beach Park in northeast Seattle.

Toxic algae has been found in accumulated scum in Lake Washington along the shores of Matthews Beach, which is located at 49th Ave. NE and NE 93rd St. Toxic algae blooms are most common in the summer and fall, but can occur any time.

King County Department of Natural Resources collected water samples and submitted them to the State Toxic Algae Program. The information was reviewed by Public Health – Seattle & King County. Tests have revealed that the toxins are currently found in the scummy algae that accumulate in some places along the shore.

In general, people and pets should not wade or play in the lake, especially where the scum has accumulated, and dogs should not drink from the lake. If there is water contact, it is important to rinse well to remove all algae.

For more information on toxic algae and symptoms of toxic poisoning, please visit Washington Department of Health toxic algae website.


Work on Lake Washington Blvd in the Arboretum is Nearing Completion

SDOT News Release

For Immediate Release: September 19, 2012

Contact:  Marybeth Turner (206) 684-8548

The third and final full closure of Lake Washington Boulevard Eastfrom East Foster Island Roadto East Madison Street, through the Washington Park Arboretum, will take place this weekend to allow crews to safely work along the roadway. The boulevard will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, September 22 and 23, from 6 a.m. until no later than 5 p.m. each day. To minimize disruptions, the closure is scheduled on the same date as the closure of SR 520.   The Arboretum entrance will be accessible from Foster Island Road to the north, and the Seattle Japanese Garden will be accessible from the south, from East Madison Street, after 10 a.m. on both days.

The boulevard work includes new street lighting, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, traffic calming measures, landscaping and drainage maintenance. After this weekend, the bulk of the work will be completed, in time for visitors to enjoy the colorful splendor of autumn foliage in the Arboretum and the adjacent Seattle Japanese Garden. The remaining work on the boulevard will require occasional single-lane closures and will be undertaken in October.

The Lake Washington Boulevard improvement work demonstrates how City departments have collaborated with each other, with other organizations and with the community.  The Arboretum Foundation,  the University of Washington (UW), Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) worked together to ensure the improvements reflect the legacy of the historic Olmsted-designed boulevards. The departments came together to plan and schedule their work to minimize traffic impacts — if done separately, each of the projects would have necessitated single lane closures for weeks and caused much more disruption than three weekends of full closures. 

  • Seattle City Light is replacing the existing street lights and poles with new poles and LED boulevard-style lights that will provide better and more efficient lighting. After this weekend, all of the new lights will have been installed, but wiring will still be in progress for 20 new streetlights. The old poles will remain in place where needed to provide lighting until each new light is connected and operational.
  • The Seattle Department of Transportation, with funding from WSDOT, has installed a marked crosswalk with curb ramps, a raised crosswalk, and speed cushions.  These devices calm traffic, help pedestrians cross the busy boulevard and facilitate pedestrian access to a number of trails through the Arboretum. The department has also completed extensive asphalt repairs and installed new pavement markings including “sharrows” to remind drivers to share the road with bicyclists. In October, the department will complete installation of curb ramps at the raised crosswalk.
  • Crews from Seattle Parks and the UW pruned trees along the boulevard to enhance the health of the trees and improve sightlines. They also performed landscape maintenance work along the street, and cleaned out catch basins. 
  • The Arboretum Foundation and the UW safely led volunteer work parties throughout the Arboretum, immediately adjacent to the boulevard. The stewards were extremely grateful for the boulevard closure as they were able to perform work without being put in harm’s way.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is currently working with a consultant to develop a conceptual design for a multi-use trail from the intersection of East Madison to the north entry of the Arboretum and to the Montlake and University neighborhoods beyond.







Polar Bear Plunge Set for January 1

Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Meadowbrook Community Center Advisory Council are co-sponsoring the ninth Annual Polar Bear Swim at high noon on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 at Matthews Beach, 9300 51st Ave. NE. Registration starts at around 11 a.m. by showing your official Polar Bear wrist band ceremoniously attached to your paw. Or wrist. 

There will be refreshments and a “2011 Official Patch of Courage” for all heroic polar bears who immerse themselves neck-deep in the lake, to prove to friends and loved ones they actually braved the frigid waters, which in 2008 measured at a chilly 41 degrees Fahrenheit. 

This year, dress up in a costume! Sign our memory book at, and feel free to link information about the event on your Facebook page or tweet it! 

We’ll once again feature the new “Polar Cub Club,” a special time just before the polar bears plunge, for younger folks or people who need a little bit more room. Some people actually choose to double dip. 

At the 2010 swim, the turnout set a record, and Parks staff distributed Polar Bear Vitamins (marshmallows) to each bear who felt he or she needed an “edge.” 

Parks offers a few tips for enjoying a fun, safe swim: 

  • Come early, and carpool or take the bus.  You can plan your trip at  
  • If you have heart problems or other serious medical concerns, we recommend you consult your health care professional before taking the Polar Plunge. If you don’t go in the water, come and watch! 
  • Don’t drink alcohol – it doesn’t warm you up, and it accelerates hypothermia. 
  • Don’t stay in the water for longer than 15 minutes – you lose body heat 25 times faster in water than in air. 
  • Don’t take off your outer clothing until you’re ready to get in the water, and remove wet clothing before getting into dry clothes.

 Costumes are part of the fun, and are welcome! 

The Polar Bear Plunge was the first official event of its kind in the Seattle area. Janet Wilson, the Aquatic Center Coordinator at Meadowbrook Pool, started the event off on January 1, 2002. About 300 people participated in that first Polar Bear Plunge, and since then the attendance has soared to more than 1,000 brave bears of every age. The plunge has inspired other, similar events in the Seattle area.  

Witnesses to history will, at each participant’s request, record the names of the bold souls who complete the mission by signing our online blog.