A glimpse into the past – a very low tide on Foster Island

November 4th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John Wott, Director Emeritus

For many years both Lake Washington and Union Bay had variable water levels throughout the year.  The Army Corps of Engineers allowed the water of the Lake Washington system to drop several feet in order to have enough capacity for heavy spring rains and snow melt.  This frustrated many dock owners and also led to significant shoreline erosion.  Today they try to maintain a steady level, although it is difficult to predict both rainfall and rate of snow melt.

The photograph taken on September 12, 1958, show an extremely low water level on the north end of Foster Island. Currently the water level is usually near the top of the large stone works.  The gentleman standing there gives a perspective of at least a six foot drop.

photo

Low tide on Foster Island in September 1958.

Looking west is the University of Washington Stadium, which depicts only the southern section (now demolished and rebuilt in 2012). The campus buildings are quite low and mostly indistinguishable, and the smoke stack from the UW heating plant has been replaced with the newer large one.

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Foster Island landscaping prep work begins 12-18-2013

December 17th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

Foster Island Landscaping – Dec. 2013 preliminary fieldwork

What is the work and why is it being done?

  • Crews will conduct archeological evaluations on Foster Island in the Washington Park Arboretum to prepare for landscaping improvements that will be implemented as a part of the SR 520, I-5 to Medina: Bridge Replacement and HOV Project.
  • Landscaping improvements will include planting native plants in the area.
  • WSDOT is assisting with landscape improvements in coordination with the Arboretum as part of a mitigation plan for effects to Foster Island developed in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
  • This work is necessary so crews can better understand sediment profiles that will help inform additional archeological investigations in spring 2014 for the proposed landscaping improvements.

How will the work be done and what will I see?

  • Work is planned for Dec. 18, 2013. In the event of poor weather conditions, work could be delayed up until Jan. 31, 2013.
  • Crews of approximately three people will be on site using small diameter hand augers to examine soil samples. A maximum of ten auger test bores will be placed.
  • This fieldwork will be completed within one day.
  • No trail closures or other public space closures will be required to perform this work.
  • Crews will re-fill the sample areas and replace sod at the auger locations.

What are the next steps?

  • The next phase of archaeological work required for the proposed landscaping treatments is planned for spring 2014. Crews will fence off work areas during this time.

Who can I contact for more information?

  • SR 520 contact information:
    • 24-hour construction hotline: 206-708-4657
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Foster Island spider appears to be new species

February 16th, 2011 by Jennifer Youngman, Communications Specialist

You may recall that last spring’s BioBlitz in the Washington Park Arboretum resulted in some interesting finds, thanks to the efforts of more than 100 citizen scientists, university students and professionals. Here’s an update on one of those discoveries.

Foster Island Philodromus spiderRod Crawford, Curator of Arachnids at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, reports, “I just finished fully curating the spiders from last May’s Foster Island bioblitz. The unusual Philodromus crab spider from the Waterside Trail, is not P. imbecillus nor is it P. insperatus (only member of the imbecillus group known from Washington). It is very similar to an Atlantic-states species Philodromus marxi, but is more likely to be an altogether new species. Full confirmation will have to await more specimens including males, but we can tentatively consider it new.”

The Foster Island female spider’s reproductive organs don’t match those of Philodromus insperatus, a spider found in this state but mainly in sagebrush country. And the Atlantic states’ P. marxi’s body coloration is metallic, very different from that of the spider found on Foster Island. And so the research continues.

Rod Crawford maintains a website called The Spider Myths Site. Interestingly, two of the myths are “Spiders are easy to identify” and “The spider you found has to be a species you’ve already heard of.”

Photograph by Rod Crawford

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WSDOT conducts cultural resources study on Foster Island

July 28th, 2010 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

WSDOT Foster Island Study Area map

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is conducting a cultural resources study on Foster Island as part of the I-5 to Medina: Bridge Replacement and HOV Project. This important safety and mobility project will build a safer floating bridge and give new options to people crossing Lake Washington.

Foster Island Study Fact Sheet

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