Little Bear Creek salmon migration barrier removed

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Little Bear  Creek
Courtesy Photo. Last week the 132nd Avenue Northeast crossing of Little Bear Creek was completely removed and the underlying stream channel and banks were restored back to their natural condition.
Salmon swimming up Little Bear Creek in Woodinville now have an easier path to spawning grounds in Snohomish County thanks to a cooperative partnership between the Adopt A Stream Foundation, City of Woodinville, and local businesses.  Until the project was completed, Little Bear Creek flowed under 132nd Avenue Northeast through three 80-foot long, 5-foot diameter concrete pipes. These pipes were steeply sloped and prevented salmon from passing through them during low flow or high flow conditions.

Through a Washington state-funded Puget Sound acquisition and restoration grant made available by the Puget Sound Partnership and Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and support from the City of Woodinville Public Works Department and the Washington State Department of Transportation, the 132nd Avenue Northeast crossing of Little Bear Creek was completely removed and the underlying stream channel and banks were restored back to natural condition.

In August, the Adopt A Stream Foundation removed a major impediment to fish migration along Little Bear Creek and greatly improved access to more than 28 miles of high-quality habitat for Chinook, sockeye, and coho salmon. Eliminating this fish barrier near the mouth of Little Bear Creek was the highest priority for Little Bear Creek in the Salmon Recovery Plan for the Lake Washington/Cedar/ Sammamish Watershed.

The project involved removing more than 5,000 cubic yards of dirt that buried the pipes, pulling the pipes out, and adding a mix of gravel and cobble material suitable for salmon in the newly exposed stream bottom.

Thirty full logs, half with root-balls intact, were anchored with boulders along both sides of the stream to create habitat, and jute netting was placed over the bare soil above to prevent erosion. At the end of August, all flow diversions were removed and the stream was allowed to flow into its newly restored channel, allowing salmon to freely pass upstream. This November, volunteers will assist Adopt A Stream Foundation to re-vegetate the stream banks with more than 1,000 native plants.

The project was designed, permitted and managed by the Adopt A Stream Foundation. Eddie’s Elite Enterprises was the contractor.

“... Now that we’ve successfully removed this barrier to salmon, we’re excited to work with the City of Woodinville to get the next one upstream at 134th Avenue out of the way,” said Tom Murdoch, Adopt A Stream Foundation executive director.

City of Woodinville Mayor Bernie Talmas said: “This project shows Woodinville’s commitment to improving habitat for salmon in our streams and is something city residents can be proud of.”

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