LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Please Help The Fish In Miller Creek & Puget Sound’

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A recent article in the Highline Times illustrates how little we as humans really understand of nature and salmon recovery: http://www.highlinetimes.com/2012/01/09/news/csi-highline-investigation-uncovers-more-salmon-s. This year Miller Creek has shown a remarkable amount of salmon returning to the creek.  There are far more fish returning than the Port of Seattle, the Cities of Normandy Park and Burien and the citizens of the area ever expected to count. When the third runway was under dispute, the Port of Seattle claimed that there were no fish in Miller Creek and therefore claimed there was nothing worthy of protection in the creek. Only through the constant efforts and insistence of the two groups-Trout Unlimited and CASE-was the Port forced to do a study on the fish populations in the creek. When the scientists came out to do an electric shock treatment on the creek, they found that Miller Creek was a creek that had fish population worthy of saving. Of course those of us who have lived around the creek-citizen scientists-knew this from their own personal observations.

While more fish are returning to the creek than ever expected, there are still some big problems for the fish. 40% of the fish are dying before they can spawn due to polluted storm water.For sure Burien needs to improve its Storm Water management system. Burien has known this for a long time but simply has not allocated the adequate funding to do the job correctly-to keep the waters clean. As individual citizens we can still do our part to help in the recovery of Miller Creek and the entire Sound. Please follow these simple practices in your own neighborhood and help to keep the fish that manage to make it back to the creek alive and spawning in Miller Creek.


  • Preserve plantings next to streams, lakes, wetlands and the Sound.  Plant trees and shrubs native to the Northwest whenever possible.
  • Control pet access to streams and lakes.  Pet wastes-poop-degrade water quality.
  • Maintain your vehicle regularly.  Leaking substances from vehicles contains toxic metals and are a major source of water pollution.
  • Wash your vehicles on the grass, over dirt or at a commercial car wash.  Keep suds out of streams, lakes and the Sound.
  • Recycle your motor oil at the nearest gas station.  Don’t dump it down the storm drain or pour it on the ground.
  • Sweep your walks and driveway instead of hosing them down.  Dirt, gravel and debris from these paved surfaces contain contaminants that pollute water.
  • Reduce the use of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers.  If you fertilize your lawn, use a fertilizer with the lowest numbers available.  Try to use a fertilizer with a zero as the middle number-example 3-0-3.  The middle number is the amount Phosphorus in the fertilizer and it is this element that causes toxic algae problems in the shorelines.  By the year 2014, this element will be outlawed in fertilizers.
  • Maintain your septic tank.

Linda Plein

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2 Responses to “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Please Help The Fish In Miller Creek & Puget Sound’”
  1. AD says:

    Great letter! I really appreciate the reminder about how little steps can combine to make a big difference. Miller Creek’s story is one of community grassroots efforts leading to positive change. Bravo!

  2. Rainycity says:

    We used to fish Miller creek a lot when we were kids and almost caught fish.

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