The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to break ground July 7 on the second phase of the Big Spring Creek Restoration Project to benefit fish and wildlife, including salmon, on the Enumclaw Plateau in southeast King County. This project is being implemented about one mile northwest of the City of Enumclaw.
The first phase of this project was completed in 2013 and included relocating 2,500 linear feet of ditched and straightened stream channel into 2,800 linear feet of restored, meandering stream channel, connected to 1.7 acres of constructed wetlands and re-vegetated 15 acres of stream, wetland, and riparian habitat.
The second phase includes creating a new stream channel and installing two culverts that fish will be able to pass through. The new channel and culverts clears the way for getting the stream out of roadside ditches and into a restored stream channel that is consistent with its historic route.
The benefits of this move include reduced pollution coming from roadside ditches, restored native vegetation, and improved habitat for fish and wildlife habitat, such as coho salmon and cutthroat trout. Currently, Big Spring Creek offers very little native vegetation or in-stream habitat.
In order to construct the two culverts (under SE 424th St. and 244th Ave. SE) the roads will be temporarily closed and traffic re-routed during the summer.
The project is part of a larger Green-Duwamish River Ecosystem Restoration Project (ERP), authorized under the federal Water Resources Development Act of 2000. The bill provides for the conservation of water and related resources and authorizes the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects to improve habitat. The ERP is a combination of 45 site-specific projects that span tidal estuaries in Elliott Bay, juvenile rearing habitat throughout the lower Green River, and salmon spawning and rearing habitat areas in the middle Green and above Howard Hanson Dam.
The project is sponsored by The Army Corps of Engineers and King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. The Corps is responsible for project implementation. Support for this project also comes from the City of Enumclaw, the King Conservation District, and Water Resources Inventory Area 9.
USACE, July 3, 2014; Image: king county