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King County to Boaters: Avoid Data Buoys on Lake Washington

A King County environmental monitoring buoy on Lake Washington had to undergo extensive repairs recently after it was struck last week by a boat in broad daylight, according to a county press release.

A King County environmental monitoring buoy on Lake Washington had to undergo extensive repairs recently after it was struck by a boat in broad daylight, according to a press release.

County officials said the monitoring buoy, which is painted bright yellow to help boaters avoid it, was damaged on April 23 sometime between 4 and 6 p.m.

The impact of the strike caused the buoy to flip over and submerge some of the sensitive data-collection equipment. County staff can estimate the approximate time of the collision because all of the buoy’s data-collection equipment ceased functioning at the same time.

The buoy provides a variety of real-time data, including wind speed and direction, air temperature, atmospheric pressure and other environmental conditions. Repairs have not yet been completed, and they are expected to range up to $5,600 or more, depending on how much of the sensitive monitoring equipment can be brought back to life.

The buoy is part of King County’s Major Lakes Monitoring Program, which is designed to protect the significant investment in water quality improvement and protection made by the people of King County by recording and analyzing the long-term environmental quality of lakes Sammamish, Union and Washington. Data collected by this and other buoys are available to the public at http://green.kingcounty.gov/lake-buoy/default.aspx.

King County scientists have also been sharing buoy-collected information with the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (http://www.gleon.org/) in the hopes of contributing data to a broader scientific investigation of the effects of local human activity and climate change on lake ecosystems.

Anyone with additional information about the vandalism is asked to call the King County Sheriff's Office at 206-296-3311.

— Information was provided by King County

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