A map of the Laughing Jacobs Creek watershed area as it sits between Sammamish and Issaquah. Courtesy image.

A map of the Laughing Jacobs Creek watershed area as it sits between Sammamish and Issaquah. Courtesy image.

Issaquah and Sammamish partner for watershed analysis

Cities will work together to develop a Laughing Jacobs Creek Basin Plan.

Laughing Jacobs Creek, running from Sammamish to Issaquah, will be the site of the latest collaboration between the two cities intended to assess the environmental health of the watershed.

At the June 17 Issaquah City Council meeting, an interagency agreement (IAA) was approved to partner with the city of Sammamish to develop a basin plan for Laughing Jacobs Creek.

Allen Quynn, senior stormwater engineer at the city of Issaquah, said Laughing Jacobs Creek sits at a nexus between Sammamish, Issaquah and unincorporated King County. The majority of the 3,600-acre watershed area is in Sammamish and flows off the plateau into Issaquah’s jurisdiction.

The city of Sammamish contacted Issaquah in 2018 with news that they would be hiring a consultant to develop a basin plan for the watershed area. According to Quynn, Sammamish proposed an IAA to have both cities partner on the plan. Because about 10 percent of the watershed area is in Issaquah, the city will reimburse the equivalent portion of the cost for the consultant contract.

Issaquah partnered with Sammamish due to the joint interest in the health of the creek and the habitat it provides for wildlife. In particular, much of the habitat that supports Kokanee salmon spawning grounds is in the Issaquah section of the watershed.

Geosyntec Consultants will evaluate the condition of the watershed including water quality, erosion prevention, flooding risk and habitat health before coming up with a prioritized list of projects to improve the area.

The consultant contract totals $328,860, and Issaquah’s share is $32,800. According to the staff report, modifications are allowed but the agreement states that Issaquah’s contribution to the consultant costs are not to exceed $40,000.

Issaquah representatives will participate in ongoing meetings as the project is implemented and will work with Sammamish in future decision making processes.

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