Corps awards $5.5 million contract toward Mountlake Terrace Lake Ballinger aquatic ecosystem restoration project

USACE, Seattle District
Published Jan. 11, 2023
Photo of Lake Ballinger with invasive plant species encroaching its banks.

Photo of vegetation and invasive species that covers Hall Creek and Ballinger Park, in the city of Mountlake Terrace, Washington. The $5.5 million ecosystem restoration project will remove non-native riparian (aquatic) vegetation and re-vegetate with native species.

Drone photo of Ballinger Park looking north.

Drone photo of Ballinger Park looking north, Nov. 22, 2022. The photo was part of a series taken by the city of Mountlake Terrace to analyze and record future improvements to the area. (Photo courtesy city of Mountlake Terrace Police Department Sgt. Moss)

Illustration of a rendering of a pedestrian boardwalk

A rendering image of a pedestrian boardwalk to be installed as part of the restoration project at Ballinger Park, in the city of Mountlake Terrace, Washington. Along with the pedestrian boardwalk, the $5.5 million project includes replacing a vehicle crossing, both to ensure access and limit plant damage. USACE Seattle District's team of architects and structural engineers collaborated with the city of Montlake Terrace representatives to create renderings that accurately reflect the project's goals.

Illustration of an aerial rendering of Ballinger Park

A plan view (aerial) rendering image of the aquatic restoration project site within Ballinger Park, in the city of Mountlake Terrace, Washington. The project will restore wetlands, riparian corridors, and fish and wildlife habitat. The rendering, created by USACE Seattle District's team of architects and structural engineers, showcases the variety of plants and their location on the landscape plans, to give an accurate color representation.

Photo of various invasive plants covering the public trails in Ballinger Park.

Photo showing the overgrowth of invasive species along the banks of Lake Ballinger, in the city of Mountlake Terrace, Washington. The aquatic ecosystem restoration project will restore wetlands, riparian corridors, and fish and wildlife habitat within Ballinger Park.

Photo of overgrown plants on trails and buildings around Hall Creek

Photo showing the overgrowth of invasive species encroaching Hall Creek and Ballinger Park, in the Lake Ballinger/McAleer/Hall Creek Watershed, in the city of Mountlake Terrace, Washington. The aquatic ecosystem restoration project includes a created wetted creek channel, removing invasive plants, and installing diverse plants.

A contract to restore wetlands, riparian corridors, and fish and wildlife habitat within Ballinger Park in the city of Mountlake Terrace, Washington, was awarded by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials, January 10, 2023.

Tunista Construction, LLC of Federal Way, Washington, received the contract award for their $5.498 million bid. The project will create and preserve critical habitat for species of concern (e.g., amphibians) and provide significant habitat for migrating birds and many species of waterfowl on the Pacific Flyway.

“This project has a rare opportunity to create and preserve critical habitat in a rapidly developing urban area,” said Jeff Dillon, USACE Seattle District program manager. “The local community is actively engaged and motivated to move forward with this restoration opportunity. Downstream habitats are the subject of future restoration actions to establish safe long-term connectivity to the site for Endangered Species Act listed fish species.”

The riparian ecosystem restoration plan includes a created wetted creek channel, removing invasive plants, and installing diverse plantings. Additional tasks include replacing a vehicle crossing and adding a pedestrian boardwalk, to ensure access and limit plant damage. Minor enhancements to pond habitat are also planned.

“This project, which was partially funded through a grant from Washington State taxpayers, will create more places for birds, fish, turtles, salamanders, and aquatic mammals to live,” said Laura Reed, city of Mountlake Terrace stormwater manager. “Visitors will be able to interact with a more contemplative park that’s close to home. Collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers makes habitat restoration possible for over 16 acres of a previous golf course."

The Continuing Authorities Program (CAP) authorizes the Corps to plan, design, and construct small scale projects under existing program authorities from Congress. Local governments, agencies, and tribes seeking assistance may request the Corps to investigate potential water resource issues that may fit a particular authority.

Under CAP Section 206 (Aquatic Habitat Ecosystem Restoration), the Corps can restore and protect aquatic ecosystems and wetland habitats to improve the quality of the environment. Examples of projects include channel modifications and wetland restoration. The maximum federal limit is $10 million per project.

Construction is scheduled to begin summer of 2023 and anticipated to run through spring 2024.

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Contact
Nicole L. Celestine
206-554-1894
nicole.l.celestine@usace.army.mil
or
Laura Reed, City of Mountlake Terrace
425-744-6226
LReed@mltwa.gov

Release no. 23-002