Employees join clean sweep of Union Bay

Employees from Water and Land Resources Division (WLRD) were among the more than 300 volunteers who removed trash and debris from Union Bay as part of the 12th Annual Puget Sound Keeper’s Lake Union Sweep on May 17.

Environmental Lab Scientists Bob Kruger and Stephanie Hess used the lab’s 25-foot aluminum research vessel Chinook to pick up trash collected by kayakers and keep a general eye on safety, with Bob skippering the boat and Stephanie serving as a deck-hand.

They joined volunteers in kayaks, row boats, canoes and motorized craft for the annual clean up event, and were able to use some of the Chinook’s unique features to pick up larger items that smaller vessels were unable to pick up.


“The bow door opens and folds down and allowed us to roll a 50 gallon black plastic drum that was full of water and sediment (disturbingly marked ‘poison’!) from the water level onto the deck,” Stephanie said.

The pair were also able to extract a tire found by some kayakers that was embedded in the shallow water and too heavy for them to pick up.

“We were able to use the Chinook’s hydraulic winch and A-Frame to have the kayakers attach the hydraulic wire with a hook on it to the tire which we then were able to safely lift onto the deck using the boat’s power.”

The Lake Union Sweep was a great success, with volunteers removing more than a ton of trash from Lake Union, Portage Bay, Union Bay and the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

(Photo of The Chinook courtesy of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.)