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Watersheds, rivers and streams

Central Puget Sound

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Monitoring Information:
How Are Miller and Walker Creeks Doing?

This page provides information on:

Community Salmon Investigation for Highline

During the autumn of 2010, 2011 and 2012, volunteers surveyed Miller and Walker Creeks each day to count returning adult salmon.  They also conducted necropsies of salmon carcasses to determine if the fish had been able to spawn before dying.

The results of the 2010 season are summarized in a presentation given to the public on January 26, 2011 (Adobe Acrobat, 11 MB).

Detailed information on the CSI: Highline program is available here.

Final Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan

In 2009, the Final Monitoring Coordination Recommendations were completed.  The recommendations proposed that a Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan (also known as a Quality Assurance Project Plan) be developed based on the recommendations.

The Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan describes proposed monitoring in detail.  It is largely a technical document that flows from the policy direction contained in the 2009 recommendations.  The draft Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan was circulated for public review in March 2011 and subsequently revised in April 2011.

View the Final Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan (Adobe Acrobat, 1.9 MB).

Final Monitoring Coordination Recommendations

Three workshops occurred in fall 2008 where interested citizens and staff discussed coordination of monitoring of water flow, water quality, and habitat conditions on Miller and Walker Creeks.  Basin Steward Dennis Clark drafted recommendations based on input from these workshops.  These recommendations were posted for public review in June 2009 before being finalized.  The final versions include:

In 2009, these recommendations were forwarded to the Project Management Team consisting of the Cities of Burien, Normandy Park, and SeaTac; King County; and the Port of Seattle.  The Project Management Team agreed to move forward with developing a Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP - also referred to as a Quality Assurance Project Plan).  The SAP is a plan for monitoring that answers the following questions:

  • What questions is monitoring intended to answer? (for example: are efforts to clean storm drains reducing the pollution entering the stream?)
  • What will be monitored and where? (for example: dissolved copper at X, Y, and Z locations)
  • Who will do the monitoring?
  • How will the monitoring be done? (for example: continuous sampling using a fixed station versus "grab" samples collected by staff on field visits)
  • How will the resulting data be managed and analyzed?

The Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan was completed in April 2011.

Ultimately, monitoring should provide information that identifies and helps solve problems and allows the community to observe improvements to stream health.

Background Information on Monitoring Coordination Workshops in 2008

Monitoring Workshop #1 occurred on September 24, 2008.   Materials for and from the first workshop included:

The approved summary of Workshop #1 is available (MS Word file).  This summary includes input received from people after the workshop as well.  View the stream blog entry and photos of Workshop #1.

Workshop #2 occurred on October 29, 2008.   View the stream blog entry and photo of Workshop #2.  Materials for the second workshop included:

Workshop #3 occurred on December 4.   Materials for the third workshop included:

The workshops were sponsored by the basin partners: the City of Burien, City of Normandy Park, City of SeaTac, King County, and the Port of Seattle.

Current and Past Monitoring

Water Quantity (Hydrology or Flow)

Stream Gage Information
There are five active gages and additional inactive gages that record flow in Miller and Walker Creeks. At the King County website, type in the number "42" to list all gages on Miller and Walker Creeks. This Web site will allow you to display information in graph form to illustrate the dramatic peaks of stormwater runoff.

Hydrologic Modeling
While not a source of current data from the stream, this page provides background on how land uses affect flow in the streams by influencing the volume of stormwater runoff.

Water Quality

2012 Miller Creek Water Quality analysis for Prespawn Mortality - King County (Adobe PDF)

Miller Creek Water Quality Information - Department of Ecology

Walker Creek Water Quality Information - Department of Ecology 

Habitat Quality

Miller and Walker Creeks Basin Plan - Appendix C: Habitat Characteristics and Identified Problems of Miller and Walker Creeks (PDF 4.6 MB)
This appendix to the Miller and Walker Creeks Basin Plan uses multiple information sources to characterize stream reaches and summarize habitat conditions/problems in each.

Wild Fish Conservancy Stream Typing
Wild Fish Conservancy (formerly Washington Trout) conducted stream typing surveys on Miller/Walker Creeks in 2003. These surveys categorized reaches of the stream based on size, access, and/or fish presence. Photos and reports characterize habitat conditions.

Report on King County Noxious Weed Control Efforts in Miller and Walker Creek Basins  (PDF 1 MB) 
Noxious weeds play a big role in the ecology of the stream by altering the riparian (streamside) vegetation, which provides habitat for fish in the stream itself.  This November 2008 report summarizes several years of control work carried out by the King County Noxious Weeds Control Program under contract to the Port of Seattle.  In addition to describing the control work, the report summarizes and shows on maps where weed infestations are located.

Miller Creek - Fish/Habitat Relationships: Measures, Analysis and Report (Adobe PDF)
In 1993 and again in 2008, volunteers from Trout Unlimited and the Stewards of the Cove measured the stream channel of Miller Creek. This report by Andy Batcho explains the measuring process, summarizes the data, and offers analysis of how well the stream meets the needs of salmon.

Chronicle of Miller/Walker Creek Events Affecting Stream Ecology and Fish Populations (Adobe PDF)
This narrative records significant events affecting the ecology and fish populations in Miller and Walker Creeks.  Recording these events as they occur is intended to:

  • Record progress and setbacks in restoring the creeks and the surrounding watersheds
  • Help identify factors affecting adult fish populations (for example, floods during the incubation period for a year-class affecting the number of outmigrants, which in turn affects the number of adults returning in future years)

Fish Use

Community Salmon Investigation (CSI) for Highline - annual count of adult salmon returns to Miller & Walker Creeks

Stream Blog

Wild Fish Conservancy Stream Typing
Wild Fish Conservancy (formerly Washington Trout) conducted stream typing surveys on Miller/Walker Creeks in 2003. These surveys categorized reaches of the stream based on size, access, and/or fish presence. There are many photos of fish found in Miller and Walker Creeks.

Stewardship of the Miller/Walker Creeks basin is jointly funded by the City of Burien, City of Normandy Park, City of SeaTac, King County, and the Port of Seattle. On behalf of the partners, this page is proudly hosted by King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks - Water and Land Resources Division.

Miller and Walker Basin Stewardship Sponsoring Jurisdictions

Miller-Walker Creek Questions

  • Contact Elissa Ostergaard with questions about Miller and Walker Creeks, (206) 477-4792

Lake Burien Questions

  • Direct questions about Lake Burien, including toxic algae testing, to Sally Abella, (206) 477-4605