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Central Puget Sound

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Miller Creek Photo Tour: Follow the Stream through Burien, SeaTac, and Normandy Park to Puget Sound

Regardless of whether you've lived in the Miller/Walker Creek basin all your life or have just moved here, you'll find Miller Creek views you've never seen before!

References to "stream reaches" refer to the analysis of stream characteristics found in Appendix C of the Miller and Walker Creeks Basin Plan (Adobe Acrobat 4.6 MB).

Photos are organized going from upstream to downstream.

Miller Creek - From the Headwaters to the Sound

Photo of stream flowing out of a lake underneath a footbridge
Arbor Lake where Miller Creek begins. South-central White Center is drained by Miller Creek. February 15, 2008 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 11)

Photo of a pond surrounded by trees
Hermes stormwater detention pond on a tributary to Miller Creek in Burien. October 22, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 11)

Photo of a stream in a ditch next to a highway
Miller Creek in ditch, looking south along SR 509 from S. 136th St. overpass. Creek flows south from Arbor Lake, under overpass, and away toward the south. At clump of trees in center of photo, stream flows east (left) under SR 509. February 15, 2008 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 11)

Photo of Miller Creek showing lack of native trees and shrubs along grassy streambank
Miller Creek near its headwaters in Burien. The stream here lacks a buffer of native vegetation. Lack of shade causes water to heat up, making life difficult for young salmon. Lawn care chemicals can easily enter stream. November 22, 2002 photo. (upper Miller Creek, reach unknown)

Photo of Miller Creek east of SR509 showing mix of native and non-native trees and shrubs
Miller Creek east of SR 509 in Burien. Vegetation is a mix of alder trees (native) and English ivy and bittersweet nightshade (non-native, invasive plants). November 16, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 10)

Photo of Miller Creek at S. 144th Way where volunteers are revegetating the stream
Miller Creek at S. 144th Way in Burien. Creek flows diagonally from left to right. Over 45 volunteers replanted the south side of the creek on October 27, 2007. (Miller Creek Reach 10)

Photo of Lora Lake from SeaTac Airport third runway
Lora Lake in Burien. View looks northwest from top of SeaTac Airport third runway. Miller Creek flows from right to left at bottom edge of photo. September 17, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 9)

Photo of Miller Creek tributary east of Lake Reba, showing pollution-absorbing boom
Miller Creek tribuary east of Lake Reba on Port of Seattle property in SeaTac. White tubing is a continuously-deployed absorbent boom for intercepting pollutants. September 17, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 9)

Photo looking west across the entire Miller Creek watershed from the eastern boundary
Looking west over the entire width of the Miller Creek basin from the northwest corner of the SeaTac Airport third runway. Tree line in far distance is western edge of the Miller Creek basin. Miller Creek flows from right to left across the bottom third of the photo. The creek was placed in this location during the construction of the third runway. S. 156th St. is visible at lower left. September 17, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 9)

Photo of Port of Seattle stormwater detention ponds below the airport third runway
Port of Seattle stormwater detention pond with SeaTac Airport third runway in the distance. After being treated, stormwater is discharged to Miller Creek. (Miller Creek Reach 8)

Photo of mature and newly-planted trees along Miller Creek on Port of Seattle property
Mix of mature and newly-planted native vegetation south of S. 156th St. on Port of Seattle property. September 17, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 8)

Photo of waterfall on Miller Creek on Port of Seattle property
Waterfall on Miller Creek. Some adult trout have been seen to pass upstream of this waterfall, which is about 5 feet in height. Undated photo from the early 2000s. (Miller Creek Reach 8)

Photo looking downstream at waterfall on Port of Seattle property
Downstream view of top of waterfall on Miller Creek. Abundant cutthroat trout and coho salmon juveniles were found in the pool during May 2003 surveys. September 17, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 8)

Photo of culvert at S. 160th St. on Port of Seattle property
Culvert under S. 160th St. on Port of Seattle property. Culvert was a partial upstream fish passage barrier, in part because of the flat apron that spread out the water and made it too shallow for adult fish to swim through. September 17, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 7)

Photograph of culvert with wooden board installed at lip of culvert
Culvert under S. 160th St. on Port of Seattle property following 2008 retrofit. Retrofit consisted of installing the wooden board with a v-notch in the center.  By backing up the water, the board creates a pool into which adult fish can leap.  Eventually this culvert will be entirely replaced. 2008 photo courtesy of Josh Feigin, Port of Seattle. (Miller Creek Reach 7)

Photo of small stream flowing through forest
Miller Creek, looking downstream, on the Port of Seattle property at about S. 165th St. This stretch of creek includes both mature native vegetation and vegetation planted several years ago as part of mitigation for the construction of the Third Runway.  April 11, 2009 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 7)

Photo of willows planted along Miller Creek on Port of Seattle property
Willows planted as mitigation along Miller Creek at about S. 160th St. on Port of Seattle property. September 17, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 7)

Photo of small waterfall in forested stream created by weir constructed of concrete-filled sandbags
Small weir in Miller Creek just downstream of SR509.  Weir is made of concrete-filled sandbags and may be a barrier to adult fish passage at high flows. June 30, 2008 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 6)

Photo showing man with machete standing knee deep in water in front of a culvert
Stream basin steward Dennis Clark at upstream end of Ambaum Blvd. culvert on Miller Creek in Burien. Machete is used to cut through blackberry and other vegetation during weed surveys of stream properties. June 30, 2008 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 6)

Miller Creek - Culvert at 1st Avenue South
Miller Creek culvert under 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 6)

Miller Creek - Culvert at 1st Avenue South
Miller Creek culvert at 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park. October 25, 2002 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 6)

Photo of two women looking at surrounding vegetation while standing on small dam in stream
Miller Creek just downstream of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park, showing one of four small weirs. Photo shows King County Noxious Weed program staff surveying for weeds such as policeman's helmet. June 30, 2008 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 5)

Photo of Miller Creek west of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park
A rain forest stream on the Olympic Peninsula? No, it's Miller Creek downstream of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park. August 22, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek west of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park
Miller Creek downstream of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park. August 22, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek west of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park
Miller Creek downstream of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park. Note invasive English ivy at left of photo. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of nurse log over Miller Creek
Nurse log over Miller Creek downstream of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek in Normandy Park showing trees shading gravel-lined stream
No, it's not some pristine rural stream. It's Miller Creek downstream of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park. Note abundant gravel available for salmon spawning. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of ivy-covered trees along Miller Creek
Ivy-covered trees along Miller Creek downstream of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park. Keeping ivy out of the tree canopy is a priority for stream stewardship. Ivy can kill trees by constricting the trunks and increasing "sail area" so that they are more easily toppled during high winds. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek showing abandoned shopping cart
Animal scat found on moss-covered log along Miller Creek downstream of 1st Ave. S. in Normandy Park. Scat contains bones of small animals, bits of fur, and crayfish shell. Notify the basin steward if you can tell what animal this came from. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek showing abandoned shopping cart
Miller Creek between 1st Ave. S. and the sewer plant in Normandy Park, showing "urban artifact." Despite such examples, Miller Creek has relatively little litter compared to other urban streams. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek showing stand of knotweed that has been controlled with herbicide
Miller Creek between 1st Ave. S. and the sewer plant in Normandy Park, showing Bohemian knotweed that has been killed by King County crews. Stems have been injected with herbicide to kill the plants. Stems that have been injected are painted to avoid duplicate treatment. Stem injection of herbicide reduces the risk herbicide will enter the creek. The control program was funded by the Port of Seattle. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek
Large trees that have fallen over Miller Creek between 1st Ave. S. and the sewer plant in Normandy Park. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek showing eroded bank
Miller Creek between 1st Ave. S. and the sewer plant in Normandy Park, showing bank slowly being eroded by stream. Note gravels suitable for salmon spawning at bottom of photo. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek showing trees and gravel
Miller Creek between 1st Ave. S. and the sewer plant in Normandy Park, showing good shade cover and abundant spawning gravel. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek showing concrete block in stream with tree growing on top
Miller Creek between 1st Ave. S. and the sewer plant in Normandy Park showing concrete block sitting in stream channel. Purpose of block is unknown. It has been there many years as evidenced by 8 inch diameter alder growing on top of it. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of small waterfall tributary to Miller Creek
Miller Creek between 1st Ave. S. and the sewer plant in Normandy Park showing small tributary waterfall. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of sun on hemlock tree overhanging Miller Creek
Miller Creek between 1st Ave. S. and the sewer plant in Normandy Park showing large pool created by natural log jam. October 12, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo showing exposed sewer pipe in Miller Creek
Exposed sewer pipe in Miller Creek upstream of the sewer plant in Normandy Park. The week after this photo was taken, Southwest Suburban Sewer District covered the pipe with rock and re-channeled the creek to reduce the risk that continued erosion would rupture the pipe. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo showing restored section of Miller Creek at 2007 pipeline repair
Miller Creek following repair/restoration of pipeline by Southwest Suburban Sewer District in September 2007. October 12, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo showing restored section of Miller Creek at 2007 pipeline repair
Another view of Miller Creek following repair/restoration of pipeline by Southwest Suburban Sewer District in September 2007. October 12, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo showing sand, gravel, and rock at bottom of Miller Creek at 2007 pipeline repair
View of Miller Creek showing mix of sand, gravel, and rocks installed to recreate natural stream channel following repair/restoration of pipeline by Southwest Suburban Sewer District in September 2007. October 12, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo showing sand, gravel, and rock at bottom of Miller Creek at 2007 pipeline repair
View of Miller Creek following repair/restoration of pipeline by Southwest Suburban Sewer District in September 2007. Boulders and rocks in stream were transported to the site by helicopter to reduce impact on the stream corridor. October 12, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo showing tributary stream to Miller Creek
Elsey Creek tributary to Miller Creek above the sewer plant in Normandy Park. Such tributaries convey stormwater from Burien and Normandy Park streets to the stream. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek showing revetment constructed of large boulders
Miller Creek upstream of the sewer plant in Normandy Park showing revetment. There are several locations where revetments have been installed to channel the stream. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4)

Photo of Miller Creek showing revetment constructed of large boulders
Looking down Miller Creek at upper culvert at the sewer plant in Normandy Park. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 4

Photo of fish ladder on Miller Creek at sewer treatment plant
Fish ladder on Miller Creek at Southwest Suburban Sewer District Treatment Plant. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 3)

Photo of tree trunks cabled in place in Miller Creek
Tree trunks and rood wads ("large woody debris") were installed on Miller Creek at the sewer treatment plant in August 2007 by the Southwest Suburban Sewer District. Wood in the channel creates pools and provides shelter for fish. Wood also can be used as a "fish friendly" way to protect stream banks from erosion. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 2)

Photo of tree trunks cabled in place in Miller Creek
Another photo of tree trunks and rood wads installed on Miller Creek at the sewer treatment plant in August 2007. Chains are used to hold the wood in place during high flows. The snake-like brown tube on the right is fabric for preventing sediment from soil disturbed by the construction equipment from entering the creek. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 2)

Photo of mixed native and non-native trees along Miller Creek
Miller Creek between between the sewer plant and 175th Pl. S.W. in Normandy Park. This reach is characterized by more non-native, invasive plants than reaches upstream. English laurel is on left. A stand of invasive Bohemian knotweed, dying following herbicide injection, is at right. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 2)

Photo of footbridge over Miller Creek
Miller Creek between between the sewer plant and 175th Pl. S.W. in Normandy Park. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 2)

Photo of racoon footprints in mud on shore of Miller Creek
Footprints of racoons on the bank of Miller Creek between between the sewer plant and 175th Pl. S.W. in Normandy Park. Neighbors also have reported sighting otters upstream of the sewer treatment plant. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 2)

Photo of Miller Creek showing sandbags installed by property owner to protect against flooding
Miller Creek just downstream of 175th Pl. S.W. in Normandy Park. Note sandbags installed by neighbor to combat flooding during high flows of the creek. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 1)

Photo of Miller Creek showing gravel bar and mature trees along streambanks
Miller Creek just downstream of 175th Pl. S.W. in Normandy Park. Note abundant spawning gravel. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 1 )

Photo of Miller Creek showing mature trees along the widening stream
Miller Creek on the Cove property downstream of 175th Pl. S.W. in Normandy Park. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 1)

Photo of Miller Creek showing mature trees along the widening stream
Another view of Miller Creek on the Cove property downstream of 175th Pl. S.W. in Normandy Park. October 12, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 1)

Photo of Miller Creek salt marsh at the Cove
Miller Creek on the Cove property in Normandy Park just above the mouth. Vegetation includes salt-tolerant grasses and sedges. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 1)

Photo of Miller Creek near its mouth on Puget Sound
Miller Creek on the Cove property in Normandy Park looking toward Puget Sound. Vegetation includes salt-tolerant grasses and sedges. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 1)

Photo of beach showing Miller Creek flowing across it at low tide
Miller Creek as it flows across the beach at low tide. Adult fish enter the stream at high tide. September 14, 2007 photo. (Miller Creek Reach 1)

Photo of Miller Creek salt marsh at the Cove
Miller Creek at the mouth. Note classic alluvial fan as stream deposits sediment on the beach. July 26, 2006 photo courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology. (Miller Creek Reach 1)

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