Restoration of Glendale Creek moves forward

This road repair is for fish.

The first phase of a three-pronged project to restore Glendale Creek to make it more salmon-friendly will be presented to Island County commissioners next week.

The creek was heavily damaged in the flash flood in early April 2009 caused by a breached beaver dam and a clogged culvert. It washed out a portion of Glendale Road, forced Glendale beach residents from their homes and did more than $5 million in damage.

Trees, mud and debris clogged the creek, blocking the annual migration of chum salmon. County crews worked to clear the creek in the aftermath of the flood, but portions of the stream remain in disrepair, Bill Oakes, Island County public works director, said Thursday.

“This project is to make the creek passable,” Oakes said. “There are several areas that are still blocked.”

County commissioners are expected to review the first phase of the project at their regular Wednesday workshop, April 6 in Coupeville.

Oakes said the first phase is expected to cost between $65,000 and $100,000, money already allocated in the public works department road-fund budget.

The project includes placing rocks, timbers and pilings to create a fish-jump pathway along approximately 800 feet of the lower portion of the creek ending near where Glendale’s houses begin.

Vegetation also will be replaced along the banks, Oakes said.

He said the project will be put out to bid, and the work done during the “fish window” from July through September, when the salmon suspend their annual migration.

The remaining two phases, farther up the creek, would be completed in succeeding summers in the next two years, Oakes said.

He said the estimated cost of the entire three-phase restoration project is about $350,000.

Earlier this month, county crews removed mud and debris from a landslide in the area caused by recent periods of heavy rain.

Oakes said additional restoration of the creek has been done on private property upstream by members of the Tulalip Tribes.

The restoration project will be the second major renovation of Glendale Creek in the past 14 years.

A new salmon run was constructed after the equally devastating Glendale flood on New Year’s Eve 1996.

The county has been focused on the habitat aspect of the creek after a study in the early 1990s identified it as a fish-bearing stream.

“An important part of our road system is to support several crossings of fish-baring water,” he said. “We’re always cognizant that we need to protect our resources.”

Meanwhile, Oakes said that the 25-foot-deep gap about 200 feet wide in Glendale Road near its intersection with Holst Road will remain as it is, with motorists protected by warning signs, wood barricades and mounds of earth on each side of the hole.

He said further protection on the Holst Road side of the gap will be provided by a new guardrail, allowing access only to the one home in the area at the edge of the creek canyon.

He said the guardrail will be installed in late summer.

As for the upper end of the creek, Oakes said the culvert put in earlier this year under Frog Water Road has reduced the potential of another flood from above.

He said the culvert is working as designed to keep water accumulating during heavy rain from washing out the road and putting pressure on two beaver dams below.

“The wetland itself is full of water,” Oakes said, “but there’s very little likelihood that the road is in danger of overtopping.”

“We’re continuing to work to keep the roads open and to restore the creek,” he added.


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