This web site provides information about Finn Hill surface water management project (SWAMP) activities coordinated by Lou Berner, a Finn Hill resident.
Results and recommendations for the Finn Hill neighborhood are similar to those published by the Puget Sound Action Team, Puget Sound Keepers, and the Puget Sound Partnership for watersheds across the Puget Sound basin. Initial results of our project are summarized in five categories of surface water issues: Juanita Drive and other impermeable surfaces, Denny Creek, infrastructure improvements, residential surface water concerns, and best practices for low impact development.
While we continue to gather information about surface water management, we have begun to work with Kirkland Public Works to implement solutions for known issues.
Have a suggestion?
Have a surface water issue to report?
Use the links below to find out more, communicate with the surface water team, or to get involved.
This is a marvelous document! Thanks so much for all your work in pulling this together. It will be a big help as I continue to learn about the Finn Hill Neighborhood. – Kirkland Public Works
VERY impressive report! Very professional. I hope that it can prompt some action. A great model for other communities, if they are lucky enough to have such an active community group and cooperative city staff. I will be interested to hear to what extent you are able to make progress on the issues identified – please keep me posted. – Area resident
This is a great example of a community group identifying surface water concerns and working in conjunction with their local government to address them! – Eric Adman, President of the Sno-King Watershed Council
Putting the information together in a professional package, like Finn Hill has done, can really add to the impact when presenting the material to local governments or others. – Area resident
Thanks so much for you care and passion for our neighborhood. I’m so impressed with your energy and efforts. I’m thankful because maybe someone will listen about the water problems on my property and my neighbors. I’ve spent so much money but there is only so much I can do. Maybe this will help! – Finn Hill resident
Kirkland residents are invited to provide comments by October 29th on the 2014 Surface Water Master Plan. The plan identifies programs and projects that will be used by the City to protect us from flooding and to improve and protect our streams, lakes, and stormwater systems over the next 10 years. Surface water in Kirkland is managed for public safety and for the benefit of all who fish and swim in our streams and lakes. The City has a strong connection to the water and natural environment and its Surface Water Utility is a steward of these resources with goals to manage surface water and stormwater so that: • Flooding is reduced • Water quality is improved • Stormwater Infrastructure is protected and maintained • Aquatic habitat conditions are improved Plan documents are online at: http://www.kirklandwa.gov/depart/Public_Works/Utilities/Storm___Surface_Water/About_the_Stormwater_Utility/Surface_Water_Master_Plan.htm The Finn Hill portion of the plan is included as an appendix of the plan at: http://www.kirklandwa.gov/Assets/Public+Works/Public+Works+PDFs/Surface+Water/SWMP/SWMP+-+2014/Appendix+C+-+Finn+Hill+Neighborhood+Alliance+Surface+Water+Plan.pdf Comments provided by Finn Hill residents will be included in a FHNA letter to Kirkland Public Works to communicate suggestions and changes to Kirkland’s 10-year surface water plan. To provide a comment, please use the comment feature for this...read more
UW’s Kathy Troost keynotes, with a panel including city officials, a local biologist, and a geotech engineer. Three months after the terrible mudslide tragedy in Oso, WA. the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance held a first-ever special event exploring the threats of landslides and mudslides in our corner of Kirkland and Kenmore. Held as part of FHNA’s general meeting, June 25th, 2014, the event attracted more than 125 residents and concerned homeowners, many interested in learning to identify and reduce risks of erosion or slippage on properties where they live. Kathy Goetz Troost, a senior lecturer at the University of Washington’s Department of Earth and Applied Sciences, delivered the keynote talk. One of the foremost experts in Puget Sound lowland geology, she addressed landslide risks on Finn Hill and Goat Hill, detailing what landslides are and why they predominate here where we live, in the Puget Sound. While it may come as a shock to some of us to learn this, the hills that we live on – Finn Hill and Goat Hill – are particularly prone to landslides and mudslides. “They not only appear on King County’s hazard maps, but a good portion of our neighborhood is in a high hazard area,” said FHNA board member Francesca Lyman, organizer of the event, who introduced Troost and the panelists. She noted that the Holmes Point Overlay, for the western slope of Finn Hill, which rises to an elevation of 500 feet, was designed to particularly take into consideration steep and hazardous slopes. Troost reassured the audience that she was not finding evidence of imminent risks but added that assessing landslide risks on our very steep slopes was extremely important. “This isn’t some pointy-headed academic exercise but has real meaning here.” Residents clamored to ask questions of a panel of five experts during a nearly hour-long question-and-answer session. Among the panelists addressing landslides and erosion in various ways—were two Kirkland city officials, Jenny Gaus, surface water engineer in the Department of Public Works, and Nancy Cox, development review director in the Department of Planning. Also speaking were geotechnical engineer Charles Couvrette of Robinson Noble Engineering, and local biologist Louis Berner, former board member of FHNA and author of a report on surface water concerns affecting Finn Hill. Troost presented a custom-made series of maps, scanning the Finn Hill area under LIDAR, a remote sensing technology that measures altitude and distance, to illuminate Finn Hill’s unique topography, its signs of ancient slides and unique slopes. She revealed where, close the shores of O.O. Denny Park, a sunken forest still lies, remnants of one of those ancient landslides. A landslide approaching the scale of Oso may have occurred 1,000 years ago, with Seattle’s massive earthquakes at the time, Troost told the group. Troost cautioned, however, that while the possibility of slides of this magnitude are highly remote, it’s important to face the fact that our homes sit on highly hazardous landslide prone slopes. “Given all that we’ve learned since the terrible wreckage and tragedy of Oso, we at the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance thought it would be a good idea to really take a look at the topography of where we live, so we can better understand the hazards we may face and know how to prevent further risk,” said Lyman. “We don’t want...read more
The 6th Annual StreamFest will be held in Kenmore on November 17 to celebrate local streams! Kayaking from Log Boom Park starts at 10:15, and interactive art, a panel discussion, food & drink at the Lake Trail Taproom starts at 11:00. You can “prefunction” for the Seahawks while expanding your knowledge of local water issues! Co-sponsored by People for Environmentally Responsible Kenmore and the Sno-King Watershed Council. During this event, Lou Berner, from Finn Hill, will be presenting information about how to foster good working relationships with local government. Emphasis on building consensus, identifying shared goals, getting things done. More info. ...read more
Dear Finn Hill Residents and Friends: Here’s a reminder about our next members’ meeting on Wednesday, May 29, and a report on the GiveBIG event on May 15. FHNA members’ meeting, May 29: If you live on Finn Hill, you are a member of the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance. You are cordially invited to our next general members’ meeting, which will be held this Wednesday at 6:45pm in the cafeteria of the Finn Hill Middle School on 132nd Street and 84th Ave (84200 132nd Street NE). If you use our neighborhood’s park trails, or use Juanita Drive, or if you care about the health of our streams, we have 3 items on the agenda that you’ll want to know about: Big Finn Hill Park trails: A citizen committee has been working for nearly a year with King County Parks to develop a plan for walkers’ and cyclists’ trails in Big Finn Hill Park. Dave Kimmett of King County Parks will review the committee’s recommendations and the County’s trail maintenance plans. Juanita Drive Corridor Study: The City is beginning a study of safety enhancements for Juanita Drive. Don Anderson of Kirkland’s Public Works Department will describe the study and tell you how to get involved in providing input on problems and possible solutions. Eager to learn more right now? Check out the City’s Juanita Drive Study web page. Surface Water Management Plan: If you care about flooding, erosion, and clean water, you need to know what the City is doing to manage surface water, particularly on Finn Hill. The City’s surface water policies affect how properties are developed and whether we’ll be able to restore fish to our streams. Jenny Gaus, Kirkland’s Senior Surface Water Utility Engineer will report on the draft Surface Water Management Plan that Kirkland is in the process of updating. If you want to do a little homework in advance, take a look at the City’s surface water web page. We hope to see you this Wednesday at Finn Hill Middle School! GiveBIG report: The Seattle area’s annual GiveBIG event occurred this year on May 15. And guess what? You GaveBIG! We raised over $3000 thanks to your generosity. That’s almost two times the amount that we raised last year. We REALLY appreciate it! THANK YOU! Scott Morris Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance – President (formerly Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance) www.finnhillalliance.org| 206-972-9493 PO Box 682, Kirkland WA 98083 Members Meeting Agenda Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 6:45-8:30 pm Finn Hill Middle School Cafeteria 8040 NE 132nd Street, Kirkland, WA 98034 TOPICS 6:45 PM Meet & Greet 7:10 PM Introductions/Announcements – Scott Morris, President, Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance 7:20 PM Big Finn Hill Park Trail Plan – Dave Kimmett, King County Parks will present the Big Finn Hill Park trail plan including trail layout, trail use and trail maintenance. The trail proposal was developed by a citizen committee working with King County Parks. 7:45 PM Juanita Drive Corridor Study – Don Anderson, Project Engineer, City of Kirkland will present on the City’s master plan for future improvements to Juanita Drive. The City is encouraging residents to get involved. 8:15 PM Surface Water Master Plan – Jenny Gaus, Senior Surface Water Utility Engineer, City of Kirkland will present on The Surface Water Master Plan (SWMP) which sets the stage for future surface water management in...read more
Finn Hill Neighbors and Friends: April-May 2013. Here’s a quick report on notable events and developments on Finn Hill. There is a lot going on: Saturday, April 27 – Fabulous Finn Hill Garage Sale Extravaganza: If you looking for deals this weekend, or just need an excuse to hopscotch around Finn Hill, check out all of Finn Hill’s garage sales this Saturday. You’re bound to find that lava lamp you’re looking for. A map and details on what’s being sold are available on our website. (Note: you’ll find 3 garage sales in Hermosa Vista alone. Expand the map to see all 3.) Juanita Drive Corridor Study – Sign Up & Get Involved: As City officials announced at last month’s FHNA meeting, Kirkland is looking at enhancing safety for all users of the Juanita Drive – drivers, cyclists, and walkers. They are assembling a list serv and also are collecting names of residents who want to attend community meetings to provide input and respond to proposals. The City is particularly interested in hearing from people who use Metro on Juanita Drive. You can learn more on the City’s web page describing the study. Surface Water Management Open House, Wednesday, May 1 – 6:30pm : It doesn’t sound exciting, until your backyard slides down the hill or your road floods. But surface water management is a big deal around here, and continued development is changing how rainwater flows down our streets and slopes. The City is holding an open house at the Finn Hill Middle School cafeteria – at 8040 NE 132nd Street – to update the neighborhood on Kirkland’s new surface and storm water management plan. The event will run from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Here’s the invitation. You can learn more about the planning process on the City’s surface water management web page. Big Finn Hill Park Work Party, Sunday, May 5 – 9am-Noon: Build your biceps, and beautify our corner of the world, by pulling ivy and other invasives. Volunteers will meet in the woods north of the soccer/lacrosse field. Bring gloves and water, and wear a long-sleeved shirt. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. DennyFest Organizational Meeting, Wednesday, May 8 – 7pm: DennyFest, our annual celebration in O.O. Denny Park, is scheduled for Sunday, September 8. We are starting to plan the event now, and we need volunteers. Our first organizational meeting will convene at Urban Coffee in Juanita Village on May 8 at 7pm. Contact: email@example.com. GiveBIG! – Wednesday, May 15: FHNA is working hard to be a responsive neighborhood group that represents your interests and enhances our quality of life on Finn Hill. It takes money to do this, so we count our your financial support – which is tax deductible, by the way. If you want to help us, please mark May 15 on your calendar for a donation on behalf of FHNA. Donations made to FHNA made through the GiveBig website on May15 will qualify FHNA for additional contributions from GiveBIG sponsors. This is a great way to put more punch into contribution. We’ll send out more information in May, but if you want to learn more about GiveBIG now, click here. Next FHNA Members’ Meeting – Wednesday, May 29 – 7pm: Our next monthly meeting is scheduled for the last Wednesday in...read more
The City of Kirkland has asked me to provide surface water management priorities for the Finn Hill neighborhood via a survey developed by Kirkland Public Works. The survey will be used to update the Kirkland Surface Water Master Plan to guide work that will be done across the City for the next five years. The survey is useful to Finn Hill residents because it helps us to clarify and communicate surface water priorities for our neighborhood. I have provided a draft of my survey responses in the space below. The statements I have drafted are for our Finn Hill neighborhood, not for any other neighborhood. Each area of Kirkland is unique. I encourage you to use the comments feature in this blog to provide your comments, opinions, and suggestions. I plan to update the survey responses to include feedback from the neighborhood and then submit the survey to Kirkland sometime during the week of 25-Mar-2013. Thank you for your participation in this process. Respectfully, Lou Berner For background information on the Finn Hill Surface Water Management Project, see: FHNA Surface Water Management Surface Water Management & Drainage Concerns (PDF) FHNA Surface Water Management: Project Update Report a surface water issue. To launch the survey, click here. Kirkland Surface Water Master Plan – Stakeholder Survey for Public Involvement Needs You have been identified as a stakeholder in the Surface Water Master Plan. As you probably know, Kirkland’s Surface Water Master Plan is a 5-year plan that sets the priorities for the Surface Water Utility. The major goals of the Surface Water Utility are flood reduction, water quality improvement, habitat improvement, and infrastructure maintenance. The plan will include a mix of programs and projects that is developed based on your interests, the need to comply with state and federal mandates, and the need to keep utility rates reasonable. The plan will also recommend Surface Water Utility rates to support the recommended program. The last Surface Water Master Plan was developed in 2005, and can be viewed on the city website: 2005 Surface Water Master Plan. Today, Kirkland is looking to you to provide input on how the community wants to be involved in the development of the Surface Water Master Plan. EXTERNAL Q.1: Name of stakeholder: Lou Berner, Program Manager for Finn Hill Surface Water Management Q.2: Do you represent an organization as you provide input on the Surface Water Master Plan? If so, what organization? Yes, Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance (http://finnhillalliance.org/) Q.3: How have you been involved with the Kirkland Surface Water staff, infrastructure (streams and lakes as well as pipes and ditches), or programs before? Since 2001, I have been a consultant to the DCNA or FHNA Board of Directors, and I have also served on the Board. I have been a volunteer or project leader for habitat assessments, restoration projects, and various discussions about planning and zoning policy since moving to Finn Hill in 2001. For recent work and results in the Finn Hill/Holmes Point area, see documents online: FHNA Surface Water Management Surface Water Management & Drainage Concerns (PDF) FHNA Surface Water Management: Project Update Report a surface water issue. To launch the survey, click here. Q.4: What do you know about surface water issues in Kirkland? Kirkland has a progressive and proactive approach to surface water management. Kirkland Public Works resources are enabled to identify state-of-the-art surface water and...read more
Fall/Winter Update After submitting the Finn Hill Surface Water Management Project (SWAMP) report to Kirkland in June 2012, I was invited to meet with Kirkland Public Works to review our requests and to develop a list of projects and maintenance activities that would improve surface water management in our neighborhood. I met with Jenny Gaus and Seppo Tervo to discuss the variety of maintenance, repair, education, monitoring, and capital improvement projects reported by residents across Finn Hill. At the time of our meeting, many of the maintenance and repair activities we had recommended were either underway or already complete. Kirkland Public Works did not waste any time before getting to work in our neighborhood! Examples of repairs or improvements to surface water management in the Finn Hill neighborhood since June 2012: Rogue runoff under the roadway at the 9600 block of 141st Place on the east side of Finn Hill required that the street be peeled back to repair the stormwater conveyance under the street. Water had been seeping up through the asphalt and, because of the steep grade of the hill, any time there were freezing temperatures, a dangerous icy spot formed in the street. The underground conveyance was repaired in Aug-2012 and residents are happy with the result. Several culvert inlets have been repaired or modified, and a low spot in a sidewalk that was flooding has been modified. Stormwater catchments across Finn Hill are being systematically inspected, cleaned, and repaired. New signs are being installed to mark the ponds as community assets. Seppo – the Public Works water quality specialist and field engineer – has met on site with homeowners across the neighborhood to look at specific areas of concern and to make recommendations that individuals can implement on their properties to remedy surface water problems. As part of a new residential construction project, the contractor repaired roadside drainage at the 11100 block of Champagne Point Road, enabling Kirkland to reroute drainage as requested by a neighbor who had been negatively affected by stormwater runoff across part of their property. The work is not yet complete, but resources from Kirkland Public Works and Planning departments have followed through to ensure that this issue will end with a positive result. The new fieldturf lacrosse/soccer field at Big Finn Hill Park has a state-of-the-art water filtration system that treats runoff from the field before it flows to the storage pond and Denny Creek. A capital improvement project at 91st Place NE on the east side of Goat Hill improved drainage that had been flooding several residences over a period of many years. Additional drainage modifications may be necessary on some private property. Kirkland will provide guidance and assist with design of additional surface water modifications. Faith Pardue Debolt coordinated a project with Betsy Adams from Kirkland Public Works and Rain Dog Designs to install 8 rain gardens along NE 138th Street in September 2012. Rain gardens are small areas with amended soil, planted with native plants and hardy cultivars, and covered with a finishing mulch. Rain gardens gather and filter rain water from roof downspouts and hard surfaces that would otherwise pollute creeks, lakes and, ultimately, Puget Sound. Public Works has added several hot spots to their “watch” list. Hot spots are visited during significant rainfall events to clear debris from culvert inlets that might cause residential flooding. Seppo is investigating multiple issues along NE 135th Place in the Highlands subdivision, consulting with the homeowners’ association there to provide...read more
Yes, it will start to rain again. But we can make the most of it with rain gardens. They are a great way to optimize our region’s bountiful rainfall for growing plants and vegetables, while controlling surface water runoff. Kirkland is creating rain gardens at various properties around town, and several will be installed on Finn Hill on October 13 (revised date) at 138th Street between 88th and 90th. Click here for details. You’re invited to stop by and learn how you can create your own rain garden. (And the city wouldn’t mind a bit if you decided to roll up your sleeves on the 29th and volunteered to help...read more
Finn Hill Surface Water Management and Drainage Concerns From Dec-2011 to May-2012, residents of Finn Hill collected information about surface water concerns in our Kirkland, Washington neighborhood. Data collection methods included field reconnaissance, telephone interviews, e-mail correspondence, and a targeted Internet survey. Our results and recommendations for the Finn Hill neighborhood are similar to those published by the Puget Sound Action Team and the Puget Sound Partnership for watersheds across the Puget Sound basin. Initial results of our project are summarized in five categories of surface water issues. We include recommended actions for each category: Juanita Drive and proximity – Juanita Drive and other impervious surfaces are the primary sources of polluted runoff in the Finn Hill neighborhood… Denny Creek – We propose a capital improvement project to Daylight the creek crossing under Juanita Drive, and to install check dams to slow water flow downstream of the road and to improve fish habitat… Repair old infrastructure – Storm water retention ponds throughout the neighborhood need maintenance or repair… Concerns raised by individual land owners – These concerns include mud slides, rogue runoff, and culvert inlets that are prone to failure… Best practices for low impact development – We provide several examples of poorly implemented surface water management in new residential developments… Communication with Kirkland Public Works is underway to discuss results and recommendations. Solutions will be discussed and implemented on an ongoing basis. Solutions will be funded by the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance, private funding, grant money, the City of Kirkland, and other government agencies. Prepared by Lou...read more
In 2007, a team of DCNA volunteers–George Ploudre, Kurt Seiffert, and Jim Sproull–completed a three-year study of Denny Creek and the 860-acre watershed surrounding it to assess the creek’s health and identify reasons why salmon and cutthroat trout were absent from it. Through extensive scientific testing and observation, the team concluded that housing developments above the creek were impeding the watershed’s ability to supply a controlled flow of water to Denny Creek, and also that King County drainage plans were moving water to other watersheds, leading to a loss of wetlands and wetland buffers. Their watershed survey offered several recommendations for policy makers and politicians, concluding that effort and cooperation could help return fish to the stream. Read the Denny Creek Watershed Survey. Today, their work is being carried forward by FHNA as it coordinates surface water management projects with the City of Kirkland —Francesca...read more