Kirkland teams up with developer for salmon recovery at Cochran Springs Creek
September 26, 2012 · 9:33 AM
While motorists on SR-520 are watching a major road construction project that will make their commute much easier, fish are doing the same right next door only in a much more pastoral setting.
A unique public-private partnership, the City of Kirkland and Kilroy Realty Corporation, one of the West Coast’s largest commercial property owners and developers, have been working to restore a spawning creek that has some of the best water quality in the region.
Cochran Springs Creek, originally the drinking water supply for Kirkland, flows right past the highway in a wooded setting next to the Yarrow Bay Office Park in South Kirkland. For the past 40 years, it has been plugged with silt, making salmon and trout access impossible and creating flooding in the office park.
“The Cochran Spring project gives another lift to salmon recovery in Puget Sound. And it proves what can happen when business and government work together,” says Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride.
McBride and Kilroy Vice President Mike Shields will “open” the new stream channel by pulling away sandbags to allow flow into the restoration. The event will occur at 11 a.m. Wednesday, September 26, along the north side of the office park at 10230 N.E. Points Drive in Kirkland.
Problems for the Creek, which headwaters in Kirkland’s bucolic Watershed Park, were created as a result of a major landslide that occurred when the City closed its water works and hooked to the regional water supply in 1972. A saturated hill slope from the closed waterworks caused a massive bank failure, sending water, mud and tons of sand down the creek and blocking fish access from Lake Washington.
The creek has been trying to work its way free ever since. In the process, the level of the creek increased by as much as six feet over the years. So that the parking area of the Yarrow Bay complex, built in 1987, was below the creek, resulting in troublesome flooding.
Repair of Cochran Springs Creek culvert beneath Lake Washington Boulevard had been on the City’s agenda for 20 years, but it always took a backseat to more pressing items. When Kilroy stepped forward to make the $130,000 in repairs, it was a no-brainer.
“Kilroy Realty Corporation is committed to being a good steward of the environment while we build and manage the highest quality environments for our tenants. This work, that we accomplished in partnership with the City of Kirkland, is a clear example of our commitment in the Puget Sound Region.“ said Kilroy senior vice president Mike Shields. Kilroy purchased the Yarrow Bay property in 2011.
Work on the creek included construction of a sediment-catching trap and excavation of 800 new feet of channel with spawning gravels for adults and resting areas for juveniles, including habitat logs and root wads. New native vegetation will be planted this winter. Over the next several years, the City will be replacing the culvert beneath Lake Washington Boulevard and installing permanent sediment trapping facilities to protect the restored channel.
The project was designed, permitted and managed by The Watershed Company of Kirkland and Wenatchee. The environmental consulting firm has been doing salmon and wetland restoration and mitigation design and permitting for the past 30 years. Stillwater Marine is the project’s contractor
It is recommended participants wear boots and be prepared for the weather and to follow the signs for parking.