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Posted 7/30/2013

Release no. 13-035

Tanya King

SEATTLE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke ground in July on the first phase of construction on the Big Spring Creek Restoration Project on the Enumclaw Plateau in southeast King County.  The project is part of a larger Green-Duwamish Ecosystem Restoration Project, authorized under the Water Resources Development Act of 2000.  The bill provides for the conservation and development of water and related resources and authorizes the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors.

The Green-Duwamish 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 spawning and wildlife habitat areas in the middle Green and above Howard Hanson Dam.  The project will create 1,900 acres of new habitat for Endangered Species Act listed species including Bull trout, Steelhead trout and Chinook salmon.  Habitat improvements to more than 200 miles of river and streams will include levee setback/removal to open adjacent flood plains, reconnection of abandoned side channels and providing wood and gravel for fish habitat. To date, four of the 45 ERP projects have been completed and five projects are currently in the design phase.

Construction of Big Spring Creek relocates the current ditched system into a channel consistent with its historic route. This restoration effort will reduce pollution coming from roadside ditches, restore native vegetation, and improve fish and wildlife habitat, including coho salmon and cutthroat trout.   Currently, very little native vegetation or instream habitat features are associated with the stream.

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 comes from other amenities including the City of Enumclaw, the King Conservation District, and Water Resources Inventory Area 9.