Golden shovels hit the dirt on June 6, as the city of Sammamish and several of its partners gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Zackuse Creek Fish Passage and Stream Restoration Project.
The city of Sammamish has partnered with the Snoqualmie Tribe, Kokanee Work Group, King County and local property owners to restore the Zackuse Creek as a spawning ground for Kokanee Salmon and to replace the box culvert that leads from the creek to Lake Sammamish to improve access for the fish.
Tawni Dalziel, restoration project manager and stormwater program manager for the city of Sammamish, explained that the steep ravine has filled channels of the creek with sediment that has lowered the creek’s quality as a habitat for salmon to return.
The restoration project will construct 400 feet of newly recovered stream channel and a new 12-foot wide box culvert will be installed under East Lake Sammamish Parkway to improve salmon passage from the lake to the creek, as it has been a huge issue for salmon to navigate through.
“We worked with the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers, we worked with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to really get the design right and get what we think is a stream channel that is going to be resilient,” Dalziel said.
Sammamish city manager Lyman Howard and Mayor Christie Malchow introduced the event and thanked the various partners involved with the event. Snoqualmie Tribe vice chair Michael Ross addressed the importance of acting as a steward of the environment and discussed some of the work that will be done.
The Snoqualmie Tribe has contributed $300,000 in grant funding to the project, Ross said. The tribe’s Environmental and Natural Resources program will also remove invasive species from the area, plant native vegetation and monitor and maintain the creek for the next five years, he explained.
David St. John of King County and the Kokanee Work Group spoke about the years of work to get the project to this point. Without the partnership of several organization, he said, the creek restoration would not have been able to happen. However, he said, there is still more work to be done at other creeks and streams in Sammamish and the surrounding area.
Wally Pereya, community Kokanee activist and the owner of the property where the restoration will take place, also spoke at the event about how this project, and the protection of salmon, was an important factor in buying the property in 2012.
“This is the culmination of a dream that I’ve had for many, many years,” Pereya said. “I purchased (the property) and the one objective I had in mind was to protect this property forever and also to do what’s necessary to have the Kokanee return.”
Dalziel said they will begin after July 4 and sometime in August, a portion of East Lake Sammamish Parkway will be closed for crews to replace the box culvert.
“We are going to wrap up everything by Sept. 30, so the tribe can do the plant establishment. Because it has to be done in the fall,” she said.