The historic conditions of Big Spring Creek watershed most likely supported a larger population of coho salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat, where the upper and middle watersed consisted of numerous forested wetlands and old-growth forest that provided deep rearing pools and critical habitat for salmonids. Presently, much of the wetlands have been filled for agricultural use, and Big Spring Creek has been ditched for much of its course.
Restoration actions to improve rearing habitat and storm refuge at this site include: riparian enhancements, channel relocation and reconstruction to create a natural meander and woody debris additions. Channel relocation also will include extending the stream approximately 750 feet northeast into a forested wetland north of SE 424th. The overall project will restore approximately 3,700 feet of creek channel.
The goal of the project is to restore salmonid habitat complexity and process-based ecological functions by recreating a diverse riparian corridor along Big Spring Creek. A more robust and higher surviving population of coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat can be encouraged by re-creating Big Spring Creek wetlands and connecting them to the creek, thus creating a greater complexity of habitats for juvenile rearing and refuge.
Big Spring Creek is located within the Newaukum Creek Basin (Middle Green River Subwatershed) on the northern boundary of the Enumclaw plateau northwest of Enumclaw, Wash. King County is the local sponsor.
The project team anticipates starting construction in 2011.