Restoring Soils and Streams

Restoring Soils and Streams

Having witnessed windstorms and landslides, as well as eroding streams, over the years, members of DCNA dedicated themselves first to two big challenges: soil and salmon restoration.

After studying the terrain, and learning about the fragile soil structure deposited long ago by the movements of glaciers, and recognizing the role of tree roots in helping stabilize the soil, DCNA worked with King County staff to create laws that would protect mature trees and native vegetation. The Significant District Overlay (SDO) zoning rules was adopted by King County Council in 1999, and later incorporated into Kirkland’s municipal code when the city annexed Finn Hill in 2011.

The salmon creek that originates at Big Finn Hill Park and runs downstream through O.O. Denny Park, had deteriorated. It no longer provided suitable habitat for salmon, having been altered in the 1930s by a dam and hatchery operation, which blocked fish from swimming upstream to spawn. DCNA raised funds to build a 150-foot ‘fish ladder,’ using imported rocks and boulders, to recreate the natural flow of the stream, thus helping salmon to gradually climb upstream, resting in little eddies and pools between leaps. Neighbors pitched in, and, for five years, incubated and released Coho fry to encourage salmon to return to the creek. They acquired large grants from King County to help fund the repairs and hired a team to rebuild the creek’s banks and streambed.

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