Lake Sammamish loses its best friend

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on January 13, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 7 at 4:35 PM

ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- It seemed like any time any city bordering Lake Sammamish wanted to put in a new street, or a developer wanted to break ground on a new project upstream, Joanna Buehler was there standing in the way.

The founder and president of the group, Save Lake Sammamish, spent 22 years charging in, challenging, and changing the best laid plans for anything Lake Sammamish.

Biologists installed locator chips in kokanee salmon in her front yard, she sat at the table with developers of some of Bellevue's most luxurious neighborhoods, and led discussions in high school classrooms with students who took for granted the metro area's "other" big lake.

But now it's time for Buehler to walk away from the post and the lake she has protected. Buehler is stepping down from the group and, having raised her family, is moving into a smaller home away the lake.

"It's very strange, it's been such a part of me for 22 years," said Buehler, as she stood on her dock at the south end of Lake Sammamish. "I'll miss the lake."

There will be no lasting monument to what she accomplished here, just a legacy of the damage that never happened because Buehler stood in the way.

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