For more than 100 years Washington’s Green Duwamish River system in had been altered in a way that degraded its ability to function as clean productive habitat for fish and wildlife.
To combat the degradation, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, have worked closely with communities affected by these changes to come up with a solution.
The Green/Duwamish Ecosystem Restoration Project is a comprehensive restoration program for the entire ecosystem, spanning the tidal estuaries to the spawning and wildlife habitat areas in the upper basin.
Since the program was authorized in 2000, Seattle District has built five projects of 45 separate projects identified for critical habitat restoration in the Green/Duwamish River watershed, including Upper Springbrook and Lake Meridian Outlet.
An additional five projects are in the works, with Riverview Park in Kent, Wash., nearing completion.
The $3 million Riverview Park Project, sponsored by the City of Kent, is approximately 750 feet of new stream channel flowing through the middle of what will become a city park in early December.
This is the first side channel construction under the Green/Duwamish ERP and provides critical Chinook salmon rearing habitat and establishes a winter refuge for fish during high flows in the main stem of the Green River.
“The ERP is unique in the Corps I think,” said Gordon Thomson, Seattle District’s Green/Duwamish program manager. “With its 45 elements we are attempting to have a comprehensive approach to restoring a system.”
The program has continued support from local communities.
“The projects provide ecosystem restoration, but also reduce flood risk. By giving the water more room to move around, in a more defined channel there will be less flooding,” said Thomson. “Neighboring residents have said they are very happy with the projects.”