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Bear Creek sampling A Watershed-Scale Stormwater Plan is currently being developed for the Bear Creek Basin in the Greater Lake Washington (WRIA 8). The goal of this Project is to produce a watershed plan that outlines actions and strategies that will restore Bear Creek to existing and designated uses, so that it provides healthy habitat for Chinook salmon and other aquatic species.

This watershed planning process is intended to create a more direct link between stormwater management and salmon recovery and identify a stormwater management strategy or strategies that would result in hydrologic, water quality, and stream channel habitat conditions that fully support existing and designated uses.


The specific objectives of the project are as follows:
  • Demonstrate the ability of multiple jurisdictions to collaborate on a watershed basis: Establish multi-jurisdictional partnerships focused on working together to restore Bear Creek.
  • Holistically assess existing conditions of in-stream habitat, near-shore buffer integrity, wetlands, and watershed/stormwater characteristics: Look at existing data and studies; initiate the collection of new data; and develop the necessary mapping for accurate watershed characterization.
  • Model existing conditions and future conditions: Develop the analytical tools to estimate both hydrologic and water quality issues.
  • Model potential solution suites: Identify the land use and stormwater management strategies to achieve established goals for restoring Bear Creek, while recognizing possible economic constraints.
  • Collaboratively develop an implementation plan that transcends jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Complete an implementation plan that is realistic and achievable by all local governments involved.



King County will lead the planning process in collaboration with Snohomish County, City of Redmond, City of Woodinville, and the Washington State Department of Transportation to develop the Bear Creek Watershed-Scale Stormwater Plan.

Bear Creek Basin Stormwater Plan study area

Public Involvement

To inform the Plan, and ensure that a multitude of perspectives are considered, King County and its Watershed Planning Partners is actively seeking input from the public, local groups and organizations, state and federal agencies, and tribal nations throughout the process.


Get involved

Because the outcomes from this Watershed Planning process may influence Stormwater Management Policies locally and for the decades to come, we are very interested in hearing your input and feedback as the Plan is developed.


  • King County is required to conduct a watershed-scale stormwater planning effort to satisfy permit obligations under section (S5.C.5.c) in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase I Municipal Stormwater Permit.
  • The NPDES was established by Congress in 1972 as part of the Clean Water Act. The municipal NPDES program issues permits to municipalities and requires them to undertake efforts to reduce stormwater pollution by implementing steps referred to as best management practices (BMPs), which refer to a wide variety of pollution prevention systems or efforts. The Clean Water Act allows the EPA to delegate NPDES permitting to individual states that meet specified requirements.
  • The current NPDES Phase 1 Municipal Stormwater Permit was issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology, effective August 1, 2013 through July 31, 2018, and was modified January 16, 2015.
  • King County selected Bear Creek watershed for the watershed-scale stormwater planning effort because it was identified by the Washington State Department of Ecology as a targeted watershed for stormwater retrofit planning due to its “high integrity.”
  • Substantial development has occurred in the watershed and more is expected to come, with expansion of disturbances emanating from redevelopment and new development.
  • This work builds upon the Bear Creek 1995 Basin Plan that recommended ways to protect valuable stream, wetland and fishery habitat and reduce flooding, erosion and sedimentation.

For more information about the Bear Creek Watershed-scale Stormwater Plan, please contact Jeff Burkey, Project Manager, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks Science and Technical Support Section.