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UPDATE: Seattle Fire ‘full response’ in Upper Fauntleroy

(Added: Texted photo – thank you!)

4:13 PM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to a possible house fire in the 8400 block of 42nd SW (map). Updates to come.

4:19 PM: Crews on scene report it appears to be just a dryer fire, “confined to the laundry room.” Biggest task ahead – ventilation.

4:23 PM: Fire’s out.

4:40 PM: No injuries reported. Most originally responding units have been dismissed.

Who sailed where in 2018? Washington State Ferries reports ridership hit highest level in 16 years

(WSB file photo – M/V Tacoma in Elliott Bay, with Duwamish Head in the background)

West Seattle is unique in the Washington State Ferries system as home to the city’s only WSF dock in a residential area (Fauntleroy). So you might be interested in the 2018 ridership report just released:

Thirty-four times the population of the city of Seattle – that’s how many people Washington State Ferries carried in 2018.

Annual ridership on the nation’s largest ferry system increased by more than 225,000 last year to nearly 25 million, its highest level since 2002.

“Our ridership is up 10 percent from five years ago and it’s forecast to grow another 30 percent to all-time highs over the next 20 years,” said WSF Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton. “In order to support this projected demand with reliable service, our recently released 2040 Long Range Plan calls for 16 new vessels by 2040.”

The largest jump in 2018 came on the Southworth/Vashon route, where ridership was up 8.8 percent, or a gain of nearly 17,000 customers over 2017. This is the third year in a row that the biggest percentage increase has been on a route serving Southworth, as people move to more affordable housing in South Kitsap County.

WSF customers took more than 161,000 trips aboard state ferries last year, travelling nearly 1 million miles – enough to circumnavigate the earth 36 times.

2018 route-by-route ridership highlights

· System total: Customers up 0.9 percent from 2017 to 24.7 million, vehicles up 1.1 percent to 10.8 million.

· Seattle/Bainbridge Island and Bremerton: While it remains WSF’s flagship terminal servicing the most customers throughout the system, there was a year-to-year drop of nearly 60,000 total riders (0.6 percent) passing through Colman Dock. Vehicles down 2.3 percent on Bainbridge Island route, up 3 percent for Bremerton.

· Edmonds/Kingston: Second highest total ridership with customers up 2.2 percent. Biggest year-to-year increase in total vehicles, going up nearly 40,000 (1.8 percent).

· Mukilteo/Clinton: Welcomed system’s fourth Olympic class ferry, Suquamish, to the route in the fall. Busiest route for drivers with vehicles up 1.5 percent and customers up 1.7 percent.

· Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth: Customers up 1.4 percent and vehicles up 1.5 percent, led by the Southworth/Vashon segment, which had the largest year-to-year percentage growth with customers up 8.8 percent and vehicles up 6.8 percent.

· Anacortes/San Juan Islands: All-time record ridership with customers up 1.4 percent and vehicles up 1.5 percent.

· Point Defiance/Tahlequah: Customers up 2.9 percent and vehicles up 3.7 percent. Ridership up more than 250,000 from low point in 2008.

· Port Townsend/Coupeville: Customers up 4 percent and vehicles up 3.8 percent. Ten-year ridership increase of more than 350,000.

· Anacortes/Sidney, British Columbia: Slight drop due to a two-week suspension of the route due to vessel breakdowns with customers down 0.7 percent and vehicles down 1.8 percent.

· Route-by-route ridership numbers: Available on the second page of WSF’s Fact Sheet.

· Additional highlights: See more in WSF’s 2018 Year in Review.

From police to parking @ Fauntleroy Community Association

January 13, 2019 2:24 pm
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 |   Fauntleroy | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

Planning to spend more time on the peninsula because of the looming transportation crunch? You might consider checking out your nearest community group. We cover many of them. Here are toplines from the Fauntleroy Community Association meeting this past week:

POLICE UPDATE: Auto thefts dropped off significantly about two weeks ago, said Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Steve Strand in a quick briefing, possibly thanks to a recent arrest. He also mentioned, as he did at another recent meeting, that Automated License Plate Reader technology is being used aggressively – including some stakeouts.

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UPDATE: ‘Scenes of violence’ response in Upper Fauntleroy, unfounded

5:13 PM: SFD has a “scenes of violence” response headed to the 3600 block of SW Donovan in Upper Fauntleroy. More info to come.

5:21 PM: Per scanner, SFD reports “a non-injured patient who is refusing treatment” so their response is being downsized. No other information so far on circumstances.

5:25 PM: Our crew is told the original call was that someone had a weapon and might have been injured, but neither has turned out to be the case.

FERRY ALERT: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth returning to three-boat service

December 27, 2018 4:51 pm
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 |   Fauntleroy | Transportation | West Seattle news

4:51 PM: Washington State Ferries says it’s finished fixing the damage that had Vashon Island down to one slip for 2+ days, so it’s in the process of transitioning back to three-boat service on the “Triangle route.” It’s hoping to have full service restored by about 6:30 pm.

11:15 PM: Update from WSF – “Due to earlier two-boat schedule delays and heavy vehicle traffic, the M/V Cathlamet continues sailing off-schedule. The route will finish the service day on the weekday two-boat schedule, and resumes the regular three-boat schedule on Friday, Dec. 28.”

FERRY ALERT: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth continues on 2-boat schedule Thursday

December 26, 2018 7:57 pm
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 |   Fauntleroy | Transportation | West Seattle news

Tomorrow will be a second day of the two-boat schedule for the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route. Washington State Ferries made that announcement along with word that the damaged slip at Vashon will be repaired starting Thursday morning, “once a barge crane is delivered to the terminal.” Though you can see the two-boat schedule here, you should also keep in mind that both vessels ran behind schedule much of today.

FERRY ALERT: 2-boat schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth

December 26, 2018 1:38 am
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 |   Fauntleroy | Transportation | West Seattle news

Washington State Ferries says it will run this 2-boat schedule on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route today, but not because of vessel trouble – it’s so repairs can be made on Vashon, which has been down to 1-slip operations because of a problem WSF described as “a bent hangar bar.” The 2 boats on the run will be the Cathlamet and Kitsap, both 124-car vessels.

FOLLOWUP: Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth schedule revision finalized, will take effect next March 31

Eight days after a standing-room-only review of the latest proposed schedule revision for the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route, Washington State Ferries says it’s official. Here it is again, in PDF. It was sent by WSF’s Hadley Rodero, whose e-mail adds:

… During the most recent public comment period that ended on Dec. 18, we heard a wide range of comments on the draft schedule. A major theme was a request for WSF to sit down with the authors of the proposed pendulum schedule. This week our schedule planners did meet with the authors, and while they explained how it does not meet the capacity needs and constraints of the route, our planners committed to monitoring the performance of the schedule going forward and encouraged the pendulum schedule authors and others to continue providing feedback. …

This new schedule will begin on March 31, 2019. Once the new schedule starts, WSF will closely monitor the route’s performance in preparation for the busy summer season and beyond. In 2019, we will also be starting work on the Fauntleroy terminal project and looking at other strategies to improve terminal operations, provide additional travel options, and apply advances in technology or other operational efficiencies. We will share a progress report of the route’s performance and how the schedule is working.

Among other reasons, WSF said the schedule needed an overhaul because it will be adding capacity, expanding to three Issaquah-class vessels.

Last call for your thoughts on Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry schedule proposal

(WSB photo from August)

Six days after a standing-room-only turnout in Fauntleroy, it’s your last day to comment on the newest proposal for a major change in the Washington State Ferries schedule for the so-called Triangle Route. Here again is the proposal:

Comments can be e-mailed by tonight – WSFPlanning@wsdot.wa.gov. Ferries management has the final say, and plans to put a new schedule in place in March.

P.S. Though it’s not about the schedule, the much-anticipated UW study about improving loading at Fauntleroy is now out – you can read about it here.

VIDEO: Standing room only as state ferries’ Triangle Route Task Force gets one last say before schedule overhaul

(WSB photos)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Waiting in line is something Vashon Islanders are used to.

It’s an unavoidable part of getting on board ferries to get to and from the island.

Wednesday, more than 200 of them spent time in a different kind of line – one to get a seat in a meeting.

The Washington State Ferries Triangle Route Task Force met to review the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth’s first major schedule overhaul in more than a decade.

It was a workshop, not a decision-making meeting – the task force and the Ferry Advisory Committees whose other members participated are advisory, and WSF management has the final say. But tensions with island residents had long been at a high-water mark, dating back to the task force’s initial task of working with WSF on persistent problems with Fauntleroy backups. Vashon riders suggested solutions that weren’t tried. Some feel the schedule-overhaul process has gone the same way. That led to this sign outside Wednesday’s meeting:

Outside is where some would-be attendees had to stay, once the meeting room was at capacity, which was 179 people, per WSF’s meeting facilitator, Hadley Rodero.

For a standing-room-only meeting, it was mostly civil – with just one real flash of fury, and that wasn’t even instigated by attendees. We’ll get there, but first, here’s how it unfolded.

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Ferry fight: New revised Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth schedule proposal out on eve of big meeting

7:02 PM: As previewed here Monday, the Washington State Ferries Triangle Route Task Force meets tomorrow with one hot topic on the agenda – the first major revision to the route’s schedule in years. And on the eve of that meeting, WSF has released a revised version of the proposed schedule change:

(You can also see that here in PDF.) WSF also has just released this summary of comments previously received, and says it’s taking comments on the new revision for one week, through December 18th. Tomorrow’s meeting is at Fauntleroy Church‘s Fellowship Hall (9140 California SW), 4:30-7 pm.

9:33 PM: We asked WSF spokesperson Hadley Rodero for the quick-take version of what’s different:

WSF has made significant adjustments to the schedule to respond to what we heard. Such as:

o Adding a direct sailing from Vashon to Fauntleroy in the evening to avoid layover sailings that would have sent Vashon customers to Southworth on their way to Fauntleroy.

o Adding another morning sailing from Southworth to Fauntleroy during the morning commute period.

o Adding one 4:10 p.m. direct sailing from Fauntleroy to Southworth during the evening commute.

We’ve also asked Steve Stockett, a leader of the Vashon advocacy for a “pendulum” approach, for his thoughts; he’s analyzing the new version.

ADDED 7:53 AM: Stockett’s analysis of the new revision begins:

In trying to advantage Southworth even more while swatting at some symptoms that Vashon and Southworth folks, including me, have pointed out as absurdities in their previous schedule they have made it even worse.

They honestly just don’t understand the concepts of clearing the dock at Fauntleroy via an all stops (Pendulum Schedule). Your can’t have 16 direct Southworth stops, add 5 boats to Southworth and cut runs to Vashon and then do more dual loading during rush hour too. The reason Pendulum results in more, better spaced runs for everyone at every dock is because you are co-loading every boat and thus they leave fuller and have adequate time between boats at each dock to fully load. You can’t mix the 2 concepts.

They have actually reduced average dwell time by an extra couple of minutes at rush at Fauntleroy and added a direct boat for Southworth. They will average 30 or more empty space on every rush hour boat with people spilling on to Fauntleroy – even worse then now. It is so messed up I cannot coherently explain all the problems.

He wants to see the changes put on hold and “a transparent collaborative workshop (to) fix this.”

Ferry fight: Vashon residents plan to pack task-force meeting Wednesday in West Seattle

(WSB photo, Fauntleroy ferry dock, October)

The Washington State Ferries Triangle Route Task Force has been meeting for more than a year in relative serenity. But its next meeting, this Wednesday (December 12), is expected to draw a crowd.

The all-volunteer committee was originally launched almost two years ago to consider potential solutions to the problems that plague the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run, particularly during peak pm outbound periods, backing up traffic along Fauntleroy Way some days, while boats leave without full loads.

The task force’s current focus is on the first major change in the route’s schedule in years. WSF says a change is necessary for a variety of reasons, including an upcoming increase in capacity on the route’s assigned vessels, and faster growth on the west end of the route. After several task-force discussions, the ferry system published and sought comment on a draft revised schedule. But a Vashon citizens’ group is unhappy with the proposal – saying it has a better idea that’s been ignored – and it’s calling for a big show of island residents – and anyone else interested – at Wednesday’s meeting, set for 4:30-7 pm at Fauntleroy Church (9140 California SW). The schedule change is currently planned to take effect in March.

UPDATE: Driver jailed after crash in Fauntleroy

10:29 PM: This damaged car was the last one left at the scene of a crash tonight outside the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse by the time we were able to get there. Our first tipster reported by text:

Hit and run outside of Fauntleroy Hall. Two cars pushed up on curb. Suspect fled with car. Didn’t get far. Ditched it in the Y parking lot and fled on foot. Called the cops.

Another tipster via Twitter reported seeing an arrest in progress when he went by. When we got there, in addition to the car, we found one officer who told us he was on scene awaiting the last tow truck, but he was able to confirm that three vehicles were involved and that one person had been arrested. No SFD callout logged, so apparently no injuries of note.

2:28 AM FRIDAY: Cross-referencing jail and Municipal Court records, we’ve discovered that the driver who was arrested is a 28-year-old woman booked into King County Jail, under investigation for DUI, driving without an ignition interlock, and driving with a suspended license. Records show a prior DUI, from 2014, also in West Seattle.

HAPPENING NOW: Unique holiday shopping @ West Seattle Alternative Giving Fair

More than 20 nonprofits await you right now at the only “shopping” event of its kind this season – the third annual West Seattle Alternative Giving Fair, happening in the Fellowship Hall at Fauntleroy Church. It’s a simple idea – you make a donation to a nonprofit in the name of someone on your list, and you’ll get something to give them to explain the gift. Our preview has the list of who’s participating. You can even meet Ivy!

Ivy’s from Reading with Rover. More photos later. The fair continues until 4 pm today.The church is at 9140 California SW.

About the helicopter: No, it’s not breaking news

In case you wondered (we’ve already received a few questions) – that helicopter is just a TV chopper checking on pre-Thanksgiving Fauntleroy ferry-terminal traffic. (One-hour wait right now, says WSF.) No breaking news.

18 coho salmon spawners answer the call at Fauntleroy Creek

(Photo by Steev Ward)

By Dennis Hinton and Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog

The annual salmon watch on Fauntleroy Creek began on October 29, the morning after the drumming to call in the coho, and that very day, salmon watchers documented the first six to do so.

(Photo by Gordon Thomas)

By Sunday (November 18), when the watch ended, 18 had taken advantage of favorable tides, ample rainfall, and ideal habitat conditions to made their way into the lower creek – the most in four years.

The spawners were all vigorous and three pairs are thought to have left fertilized eggs to germinate in the creek. Four were “jack” salmon – small males that returned to fresh water after one year instead of the usual two in salt water. Full-sized spawners ranged up to 6 pounds. Most were released as smolts by hatcheries (as identified by missing adipose fins) but at least two could have originated in the creek as Salmon in the Schools release fish.

Nearly 100 students from two area schools came in hopes of seeing fish living or dead. Two “open creeks” drew 120 people and another 120 stopped by to chat with one of the 16 volunteers who took turns watching. Ferry foot passengers even got in on the action, cheering fish navigating through drift logs to enter the creek from Fauntleroy Cove.

Next up for local volunteers will be distributing eyed eggs in early January to 14 West Seattle schools for students to rear and release as fry in May. They will be among 70 schools citywide to rear coho, chum, or Chinook through the Salmon in the Schools program.

Fauntleroy Community Association: Police, ferries, festival …

November 13, 2018 10:47 pm
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 |   Fauntleroy | Neighborhoods | West Seattle news

Toplines from tonight’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting:

POLICE: Southwest Precinct operations commander Lt. Steve Strand presented updates. Person-to-person crimes such as assaults and robberies are dow in the Fauntleroy area, while auto theft is up. Squatters were cleared from a vacant house. Some reports have come in about camping in Lincoln Park but police haven’t found anyone yet. One board member mentioned an uptick in car camping near the park and Lt. Strand said they’d investigate, as it was a problem toward the north end of the park a few months back. Though it’s not in the Fauntleroy area, he mentioned that Myers Way, where campers were cleared earlier this fall, will be revisited as there are reports that campfires are being seen in the area.

And a reminder: The Public Safety Survey conducted by Seattle University to assess attitudes on crime, safety, and policing, is still open – go here to answer it before November 30th.

(WSB photo, Fauntleroy ferry dock, last month)

FERRIES: With Gary Dawson‘s retirement from the board, Frank Immel is now the point person on Washington State Ferries issues. WSF is working toward its next Long-Range Plan, with a comment period on the draft version earlier this fall. Immel suggested FCA should work on its talking points regarding the ferry system’s future. He’ll summarize the major issues and suggested positions the board can discuss at its next meeting.

(WSB photo, Fauntleroy Fall Festival, last month)

FAUNTLEROY FALL FESTIVAL: Though FCA doesn’t organize this, it provides major support, and the board heard tonight that the October 21st festival (WSB coverage here) was a big hit. Attendance was estimated at 2,000 people. The supplies of 800 pumpkins for decorating and 200 kits for birdhouse-making were both fully utilized. New features – “Elvis” (Bret Wiggins) and a pie-eating contest – were hits too. And $800 was donated to help with future festivals.

NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse conference room (9131 California SW).

HAPPENING NOW: 2018 Fauntleroy Fine Art and Holiday Gift Show, night 1

(WSB photos from final show setup this afternoon)

Looking for something to do before/after dinner? The Fauntleroy Fine Art and Holiday Gift Show has begun! Open until 8 tonight at Fauntleroy Church‘s Fellowship Hall – free to stop in and browse:

Courtesy of Judy Pickens, here’s the list of this year’s participating artists:

Melissa Aaron – Spice blends & teas

Michelle Aitken – Beach-inspired ceramics

Mary Anderson – Whimsical cashmere & fleece hats

Leslee Avery Beausoleil – Cold-pressed soaps & dog shampoo

Sonja Bergstrom – SheepPAL footstools

Saki Uehara-Bingen – Hand-designed mandala products

Gretchen Curtis – Hand-knitted textiles

Josephine DeLellis – Collages, shadow boxes & collage kits

Natalie Fobes – Prints, mobiles & notecards

Esperanza Robles-Lazo – Delicate wire-wrapped jewelry

Johanna Lindsay – Playful glass & wire jewelry

Kate Lorenzini – Fine greeting cards, packaging & paper sundries

Dee Miller – Garden art

Marise Miville – Nature-inspired handmade jewelry

David Somers – Wood turnings, engravings, carvings & paintings

Linda Thorson – Molded concrete yard art & birdhouses

The church is at 9140 California SW. The show/sale continues 10 am-4 pm tomorrow and 11 am-2 pm Sunday, one of the first events of the season – here’s our calendarized list of holiday events (more to come, in the calendar and our almost-ready Holiday Guide).

UPDATE: Salmon spawning season continues; ‘open creek’ set for Saturday

10:51 AM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for the photos from Fauntleroy Creek earlier this week. Spawning season continues and she photographed those eggs, explaining, “Some critter had dragged them up on the banks. Eventually they were eaten but it took a few days … which surprises me! Seeing that we have otters and raccoons and birds a plenty.” She also shared this photo of the 13th coho counted in the creek, a ~3-pound female:

We’re checking on where the count stands. (UPDATE: Creek steward Judy Pickens tells us it’s at 18 – that’s more than 4 times last year’s four-fish count.)

ADDED 3:55 PM: Judy has since announced there’ll be another “open creek” tomorrow:

We’ve seen 18 coho to date, witnessed active spawning, and continue to have favorable tides for bringing in more fish. Volunteers will host an “open creek” Saturday (11/10) afternoon from noon to 3:00 at the fish ladder (SW Director and upper Fauntleroy Way SW). Come to the viewpoint there and a watcher will invite you down. Children need to bring a parent and dogs should be leashed and well behaved. Decking and steps will likely be wet, so use caution.

P.S. Bonus video from Kersti:

She explains, “It’s from yesterday, a spawning pair activity making a nest, with a little Jack trying to have a turn but getting turned back by the larger male.” (A “jack” is a salmon returning a year earlier than they usually would.)

More Fauntleroy fish, on eve of Saturday ‘open creek’

(Salmon creating a redd in Fauntleroy Creek, photographed by Dennis Hinton)

Planning on visiting Fauntleroy Creek during Saturday afternoon’s “open creek”? Your chance of seeing salmon spawners keeps rising along with the water – creek steward Judy Pickens tells WSB that as of late today, volunteers have counted 12 fish, three times last year’s total. Again, you’re invited to visit 1-4 pm tomorrow – go to the fish-ladder overlook at upper Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Director, and a volunteer will take you down creekside. If the weather gets mega-stormy, they might have to cancel for safety results, so if that happens, check here for an update before 1 pm.

Want to see salmon? You’re invited to visit Fauntleroy Creek to look for fish Saturday

markahlness(“Wally,” a 2016 Fauntleroy Creek coho photographed by Mark Ahlness)

With the first spawners spotted in Fauntleroy Creek – as reported here earlier this week – you’re invited to visit, to try to see for yourself. Creek steward Judy Pickens says her fellow volunteers Dennis Hinton and Pete Draughon will staff an “open creek” time this Saturday (November 3), 1-4 pm. While on one hand stormy weather is a boon – Judy says they’re hoping the next wave of rain will “bring in another wave” of fish, as they haven’t seen new arrivals since Tuesday – if it’s too stormy on Saturday, she notes, “we’ll have to cancel as wind could bring down limbs and heavy rain will muddy the water and cause dangerously high flow.” (If that happens, check here for an update.) But in the meantime, you can tentatively plan to visit: “All are welcome and children should come with a parent. People should dress for the weather, including boots or old shoes. Dogs must be on a leash and well behaved.” Come to the fish-ladder viewpoint (SW Director & upper Fauntleroy Way SW, across from the ferry terminal) and a volunteer will invite you down.

FIRST FISH! Salmon show up in Fauntleroy Creek, one day after community drumming

“The drumming worked!” So exults Fauntleroy Creek steward Judy Pickens after the first fall sightings of coho salmon in the creek, the day after the annual drumming/singing gathering to ceremonially call them home (WSB coverage here). Whitney Fraser provides the photo and video:

Judy first reported that fellow longtime volunteer Dennis Hinton “had the honor of spotting the first coho spawner of the season … It’s a beautiful female between the two lower bridges, which means unlike last year, we have a spawner in the natural creek upstream of the fish ladder.” Then a “jack” – a male who returned a year earlier than the usual rhythms – was spotted, and then four more. That’s already surpassed last year’s entire total of four. Salmon watch on Fauntleroy Creek will continue into mid-November – or until an entire week has passed with no fish sightings – whichever comes first.

West Seattle weekend scene: Calling coho home to Fauntleroy Creek

October 28, 2018 9:36 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle weekend scene: Calling coho home to Fauntleroy Creek
 |   Fauntleroy | West Seattle news | Wildlife

(WSB photos)

While some were cheering for the Boston Red Sox or Los Angeles Dodgers earlier tonight, this group was cheering for the Fauntleroy Creek Coho. No spawner sightings yet this season, but hopes remained high during the annual gathering to drum and sing and welcome them home.

Some of the younger participants wore salmon hats made during last Sunday’s Fauntleroy Fall Festival with the help of creek steward Judy Pickens, whose creekside carport hosted the gathering, providing cover from the showery weather.

This year added some fish jokes (example: Why don’t fish play basketball? They’re afraid of the net). But caring for the creek is serious business. Hundreds of students visit every spring to release fish they’ve raised via the Salmon in the Schools program, with which Judy and husband Phil Sweetland are also closely involved. (See its newest annual report here [PDF].)

Judy promises updates as always if and when spawners are sighted. You can peek at the creek from the public fish-ladder overlook at Fauntleroy/Director – across from the ferry dock – any time.