King County Mitigation Reserves Program
King County’s Mitigation Reserves Program systematically implements projects using fees collected from permitted impacts that choose to use the program.
Taylor Creek Mitigation Project (Cedar River)
The Taylor Creek Mitigation Project will restore stream and wetland habitat within the lower reaches of Taylor Creek. The project will demolish all buildings, regrade stream and floodplain areas to emulate historic conditions and install large wood and native plants throughout the property. These actions will result in about ten acres of habitat improvement, five of which will be wetland or stream habitat. The project connects two previous King County restoration sites and will result in a 25 acre riparian corridor with high quality fish and wildlife habitat.
For more information, see the Taylor Creek (Cedar River) Mitigation Project page.
Issaquah Creek Mitigation Project
Located in the Sammamish River Watershed, the Middle Issaquah Creek Natural Area consists of 41.3 acres of public land along Issaquah Creek. Located within the Middle Issaquah Creek Natural Area, the Issaquah Creek mitigation project will remove existing fill, create wetlands, place large wood and wildlife trees, and restore native vegetation to create a riverine wetland that improves water quality and hydrology, and provides habitat for fish and wildlife.
For more information, see the Issaquah Creek Mitigation Project page.
Taylor Creek Headwaters Wetland Preservation Project
Acquired October 2015
The 11 acre Taylor Creek Headwaters Wetland Preservation property was acquired by King County in October 2015 and is in the Cedar River / Lake Washington Service Area. King County’s Mitigation Reserve Program will earn in-lieu fee mitigation credit through the preservation and stewardship of 3.66 acres of intact Category I wetland and 7.34 acres of surrounding upland in the Skyway area of unincorporated King County. The King County Mitigation Reserve Program preserved the wetland and its buffer through fee simple purchase of four parcels totaling approximately 11 acres.
Taylor Creek Headwaters Wetland is a depressional flow-through wetland with a sizable buffer of mature mixed coniferous forest that is situated at the headwaters of Taylor Creek, a perennial salmon-bearing tributary stream to Lake Washington. Taylor Creek Headwaters wetland is high-functioning, providing a range of water quality, hydrologic and habitat functions in a moderate density urban landscape. The wetland is classified as a North Pacific Hardwood-Conifer Swamp and contains forested, scrub-shrub, and emergent wetland habitats dominated by Western red cedar, Oregon ash and red alder. Standing snags, downed woody debris and other special habitat features in the wetland on the property provide an opportunity to support amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, and mammals.
This property provides a rare opportunity to save a high functioning urban wetland from imminent development.
Chinook Wind Mitigation Project
Phase I demolition and impervious surface removal completed May 2016
The Chinook Wind Mitigation Site was acquired in September 2015. The 5.83 acre project is located on the Duwamish River in the Green/Duwamish River Watershed (WRIA 9). The project site is within the Central Puget Sound Service Area of King County’s Mitigation Reserves Program. As Phase I of the project, King County’s Mitigation Reserves Program demolished the former hotel structures and removed all impervious surfaces from the site. With its location in the transition zone of the Duwamish River, the Chinook Wind Mitigation Site will provide much needed habitat restoration to this key reach of the river.
The Duwamish Estuary is vitally important to the region, both as an integral ecological link between the Green River and Puget Sound and as a center of trade and commerce that supports local jobs and strengthens Washington’s economy. But, decades of heavy industrial use in the Duwamish corridor has taken its toll. The WRIA 9 Salmon Habitat Plan notes that, “the Duwamish has lost 97% of the habitat it provided 150 years ago. The Duwamish also suffers from decades of industrial pollution that have resulted in the lower five miles of the river becoming a Superfund cleanup site. Scientific assessment work for th(e) Plan suggests that this loss, degradation, and fragmentation of estuarine habitat in the Duwamish – particularly transition zone habitat — is a limiting habitat factor for the chinook populations of the (Green-Duwamish) watershed” (Salmon Habitat Plan).
Elliott Bridge Reach Off-Channel Wetland & Floodplain Reconnection Project
Construction completed 2016
Located in the Cedar River Watershed (WRIA 8), the Elliott Bridge Reach Mitigation Project will create and enhance wetland and aquatic habitat and restore floodplain functions within the Elliott Bridge Reach of the Cedar River. The project area is approximately 11.5 acres and includes off-channel and in-channel components and riparian/floodplain type mitigation. Specific mitigation project features total more than 9 acres of restoration. Additionally, an in-stream scour structure was installed on the right bank and a portion of the rock revetment was removed.
The goal of the Elliott Bridge Reach Mitigation Project is to address needs in the Cedar River Watershed by reducing flood damage, protecting and restoring aquatic habitat, and maintaining water quality.
The majority of mitigation credit generated by the Elliott Bridge Reach Mitigation Project will offset a portion of WSDOT’s SR 520, I-5 to Medina: Bridge Replacement and HOV project.
More details on the construction of the mitigation site can be found at the Elliott Bridge Reach Project web page.
McElhoe-Pearson Off-Channel Wetland & Floodplain Reconnection Project
Construction completed 2012
Located in the Snohomish River Watershed (WRIA 7), in the Snoqualmie River Service Area, the McElhoe-Pearson Mitigation Project will create additional rearing and refuge habitat for salmonid species in the Snoqualmie River and provide needed flood storage capacity. This project restored a surface water connection between the Snoqualmie River and a portion of the historic floodplain that has been isolated for over 50 years. With the reconnection, this high quality wetland is now accessible to juvenile salmonids.
500 linear feet of channel was restored. Reconnection created approximately two acres of enhanced off-channel rearing and flood refuge habitat. Construction of the McElhoe-Pearson Mitigation Site also included enhancement of the existing wetland, riparian planting, and installation of large wood.
The McElhoe-Pearson Mitigation Site was specifically constructed to offset impacts associated with WSDOT’s Tokul Creek Emergency Project, which included 15,580 square feet of permanent stream impacts, 10,986 square feet of permanent riparian impacts and the removal of large wood.
More details on the construction of the mitigation site can be found at the McElhoe-Pearson Project web page.
For more information about King County’s Mitigation Reserves Program, please contact Megan Webb, Program Manager (in the Water & Land Resources Division’s Rural and Regional Services Section).