Seattle Public Utilities is happy to have a law that only they can make exceptions to:

Mr. Scott:

Thank you for your comments on the draft 2019 Water System Plan.  Below are responses to your questions and comments.

  1. How does SPU rationalize restricting access by the public (with manageable physical and sanitary security risks) while permitting hunting access for selected community groups (with arguably greater physical and sanitary risk)?

The Cedar River Watershed in accordance with the provisions of WAC 246-290, is designated as a Limited Alternative to Filtration Source and regulated by Washington Department of Health.  This designation mandates complete closure to the watershed lands to demonstrate control and protection for any activities that may impact water quality.  On a limited, controlled and supervised basis, based upon the 2006 Settlement Agreement with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, tribal members are allowed to hunt and gather while complying with our Water Quality and Protection Regulations, but no public or community hunts are allowed.

  1. How does SPU justify granting on-going, unsupervised trail access to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance if similar access on designated trails cannot be afforded to the greater bicycle community?

The EMBA through agreement, which expired in 2017 and included WA State Parks, was granted limited construction access permits into the Cedar River Watershed to construct the North Ridge Ollalie Trail on the northern boundary outside the hydrographic boundary.  EMBA, along with all of the contractors and consultants conducting approved work within the closed boundaries, were vetted and permitted for the scope of work as contracted.  No recreational use or otherwise unauthorized personnel were allowed under these access permits.  The construction has been completed, and there is no on-going access.

  1. How did SPU arrive at the conclusion that land acquisition in the Kerriston Road enclave is an appropriate capital expenditure as opposed to pavement and fencing to manage limited access?

Seattle Public Utilities has proven for many years that complete ownership of the land and the ability to control access to that land is the overall best long-term strategy to manage a closed watershed boundary.  With Kerriston however, significant private, county, and state property still exists within that community, so working toward this will require a long-term approach that proactively monitors these access points.  We are currently analyzing additional temporary options to control access on this public right-of-way.

  1. What is the process SPU would use to develop management plans to address limited access to this segment of the trail?

As mentioned above, maintaining a closed watershed and controlling all access is the only way to maintain our compliance with the Limited Alternative to Filtration rule regulated by Washington Department of Health.

Although no changes have been made to the text of the plan, I hope that the above information provides you with a better explanation of SPU’s policies and practices regarding watershed access.  Should you have additional questions, feel free to contact me at this email address.

Joan M. Kersnar, P.E.

Drinking Water Planning Manager

City of Seattle, Seattle Public Utilities

O: 206-684-0839 |