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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, awarded an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) contract Sept. 24 to begin design of the Mill Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project.  The $469,049.00 contract funds the design phase of the project. The goal of the project is to create a natural habitat for rearing and storm refuge for multiple species of fish and wildlife. The project will restore the stream to its natural channel, provide shading with new plantings, and remove non-native invasive species.

The overall restoration would extend from just upstream of the confluence with the Green River, to just downstream of Peasley Canyon, on the west side of State Route 167 in Auburn, Wash.  David Miller and Associates Inc., a small business located in Vienna, Va., received the award, announced Sept. 24.  The City of Auburn is the local sponsor for the project, and is providing the local funding required to obtain the ARRA funds using a grant the City received from the King Conservation District in 2009.

"Improving water quality, fish habitat, and flood storage on Mill Creek is an environmental priority for the City and we are pleased to be moving forward with the development of a detailed plan to achieve those things," said Chris Andersen, the City's Environmental Protection Manager. Andersen added that in its role as local sponsor, the City will also be coordinating with local property owners and other interested parties as part of the development of the design plan.

The project is anticipated to start construction in Summer 2013.

Overview

Mill Creek historically served as vital habitat for migrating salmon and provided ideal conditions for rearing and storm refuge. Due to agricultural and industrial activity, the Mill Creek region has lost this critical habitat.  The goal of the project is to create a natural habitat for rearing and storm refuge for multiple species of fish and wildlife. The project will restore the stream to its natural channel, provide shading with new plantings, and remove non-native invasive species.  The City of Auburn is the local sponsor.  The overall restoration would extend from just upstream of the confluence with the Green River, to just downstream of Peasley Canyon, on the west side of SR 167 within the jurisdictional boundaries of Auburn, Wash.

The Feasibility Report for the Duwamish/Green Ecosystem Restoration Project included recommendations for restoring select separable reaches of Mill Creek: Wetland 5K, Merlino, and Schuler Brothers.  The Wetland 5K will be the first reach to be restored.  The Wetland 5K reach extends from Main Street on the west side of SR 167 to the crossing of Mill Creek with SR 167.  The project is in the design phase.