Denny Creek Preservation

When you think of the term “watershed,” you may imagine a river or creek winding through a remote wilderness. In fact, you don’t need hiking boots to visit a watershed – you’ve got one in your own backyard.

As a city like Seattle expands, more and more residential and business areas become a part of a local watershed — an area of land that channels surface water downhill into a larger waterbody, such as a river, lake or ocean. Residents of the Finn Hill/Kenmore/Holmes Point neighborhoods live in the Denny Creek watershed.

And just like in other urban watersheds, our actions have had a profound effect on the groundwater and natural habitat areas right outside our doors.

A Unique Urban Watershed

The Denny Creek watershed encompasses 860-acres of residential, commercial and natural areas between Kenmore and Kirkland. Rainwater channels into a series of tributaries that merge into O.O. Denny Creek, which flows into Lake Washington at O.O. Denny Park. The stream and its tributaries cross through a series of parklands: the 47-acre O.O. Denny Park, an adjacent 7.5. acre parcel called the Susan MacDonald Memorial Forest, and the adjoining 218-acre Big Finn Hill Park.

These parklands, revered by local residents and recreationists, support native plants and trees, such as Douglas fir, big leaf maple, and salmonberry; and an array of wildlife, including eagle, heron, owls, pileated woodpecker, coyote and a host of other species.

The Effects of Human Activity

As water flows over the ground in an urban watershed, it can pick up nutrients, sediment and pollutants, such as fertilizer and pesticides. Like many urban watersheds, human activity has had a profound effect on Denny Creek and adjoining natural areas. Development has increasingly encroached on Denny Creek as neighboring steep slopes are cleared and drainage patterns altered.

A study conducted by King County in 1987 revealed a growing threat to property from erosion and the damage to fish habitat due to barriers to fish migration and degradation of water quality. One of the visible effects of erosion was a build-up of silt at the mouth of Denny Creek, which blocked migrating fish from entering the stream.  In the years to follow, additional research noted an absence of adult Coho Salmon and resident cutthroat trout in the upper part of the stream, further raising concern for the health of the stream and its watershed.

“…to Preserve, Protect, and Restore…”

Despite the alarming results from impact studies, the county had no over-arching plan to protect the stream and its adjoining habitat. Neighborhood discussions turned to calls for action. In 1994, the Denny Creek Neighborhood Alliance (DCNA) was born. DCNA’s charter program set an ambitious goal to restore the natural habitat of Denny Creek and its watershed–including protecting the neighboring Juanita Woodlands from residential development.

Over the years, DCNA has made significant progress towards our initial goals; however, our work is never complete. That’s why we continue to appreciate the efforts of volunteers, local residents, and supportive businesses and government agencies. Together, we are helping to maintain a healthy environment for everyone who lives, works, and plays within the Denny Creek watershed.

Progress Report

Survey and Assessment of the Denny Creek Watershed

In 2008, members of DCNA completed an exhaustive survey of the watershed topography and an analysis of the natural areas’ capability to sustain a healthy habitat for native species, including salmon and trout in Denny Creek. The 2007 Denny Creek Watershed Survey provided the community and government agencies with an invaluable assessment of the impact of development and drainage engineering on Denny Creek and its 860-acre watershed.

Read the report

Denny Creek Salmon Restoration Project

From its inception, DCNA has resolved to restore the health of Denny Creek to support native fish species. In 2006, we completed a fish ladder, making the entire 1.3 miles of creek in these two parks accessible to salmon. The efforts of dozens engineers, biologists and volunteers like you have had a profoundly positive effect: salmon fry have returned to the creek, either from incubated Coho salmon eggs or from other active salmon runs.

You Can Help!

Through generous donations and on-site efforts by local residents and professionals, we continue to reach critical milestones in our effort to restore and preserve the Denny Creek watershed, and mitigate the effects of urban development. Please consider sharing your time or a tax-deductible gift–learn how you can help!

Finn Hill Plan and Re-Zoning review on Thurs, May 25

Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Blog, Neighborhood Plan | 0 comments

Finn Hill Plan and Re-Zoning review on Thurs, May 25

Dear Finn Hill Neighbors: This is a quick follow up to my previous email about the Finn Hill neighborhood plan, which the Planning Commission wil review on Thursday (tomorrow) at 7pm in the Council meeting room at City Hall, 123 Fifth Avenue in downtown Kirkland. We hope you’ll be able to attend the meeting but if that won’t be possible, you can always submit questions and comments to the Planning Commissioners by letter (addressed to the Planning Commission at the City Hall address above) or by email to...

read more

Finn Hill Plan Re-Zoning – Planning Commission Mtg May 25

Posted by on May 24, 2017 in Blog, Neighborhood Plan | 0 comments

Finn Hill Plan Re-Zoning – Planning Commission Mtg May 25

Dear Finn Hill Neighbors:  The Finn Hill neighborhood plan – which will define how Finn Hill will develop over the coming decades — will be reviewed by the Planning Commission on Thursday (tomorrow) at 7pm in the Council meeting room at City Hall, 123 Fifth Avenue in downtown Kirkland.  The Commissioners will also be giving guidance to City staff on how certain areas of Finn Hilll might be upzoned or downzoned. If you care about the future of Finn Hill, please make every effort to attend this meeting. At the beginning of the...

read more

Giving thanks and making plans

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Giving thanks and making plans

Just two quick messages to start your week: giveBIG results: FHNA raised $4500 in the giveBIG campaign on May 10. That’s more than we have raised in previous years, and we are very, very grateful to our generous donors for their support. We’ll use the money to refresh and rebuild our website and to expand communications to the neighborhood. THANK YOU!! Finn Hill neighborhood plan review at Kirkland Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, May 25: The Kirkland Planning Commission will review the latest draft of Finn Hill’s...

read more

GiveBIG is Wednesday, May 10 — please give bigly (or big league) to FHNA

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Blog, Communication Committee | 0 comments

GiveBIG is Wednesday, May 10 — please give bigly (or big league) to FHNA

Dear Finn Hill neighbors and friends, the Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG event is happening on Wednesday, May 10, and we hope you’ll use this chance to help out the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance — your neighborhood association — with a generous contribution. You can click here to make a tax-deductible gift. You don’t need to wait until the 10th. You can donate now! Would you like to know more before deciding? Please read on. If you aren’t familiar with it already, GiveBIG is an annual campaign sponsored by...

read more

June 3 workparty Juanita Woodlands

Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Juanita Woodlands, Parks, Stewardship Committee | 0 comments

June 3 workparty Juanita Woodlands

Volunteer Event Information – Juanita Woodlands Park, June 3, 2017 from  9am-1pm King County Parks Day of Event Contact – Lina Rose 206.491.5014 Please RSVP directly to Lina prior to the event if you are planning on attending so that they know how many tools to bring to remove Himalayan blackberries. The event will be rain or shine.  In the event of hazardous weather, the King County staff member leading your project will be in contact via email the morning of the project if weather conditions dictate any changes to event plans. Plan to check...

read more

Big Recycling Collection Event in Kirkland May 13

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Big Recycling Collection Event in Kirkland May 13

Where: Lake Washington High School Parking Lot 12033 NE 80th Street When: Saturday, May 13, 9am – 3pm No vehicles will be admitted after 3pm, sharp. No exceptions. Accepted items include: Air conditioners & dehumidifiers – $33/each Batteries (including rechargeable) Bulky wood (untreated, not painted or stained, no particle board) – limit two loads per household Car seats – $5 each Electronic equipment and computer peripherals (no TVs, computer monitors or laptops) Fluorescent tubes and bulbs (unbroken) –...

read more

Mountaineers hike Finn Hill

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Blog, Parks | 0 comments

Mountaineers hike Finn Hill

25 Mountaineers hiked over the top of Finn Hill from Kenmore to Kirkland on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. The Wednesday hike was one of a series of Mountaineer day hikes around Lake Washington. The Kenmore to Kirkland hike was designed to avoid Juanita Drive and find a way through the neighborhood forests from Kenmore to the Kirkland Marina. The hike was more than 12 miles through Big Finn Hill and Juanita Heights Parks. The hikers passed the lagoon in Big Finn Hill Park getting up close to a Great Blue Heron. Near Kenmore they spotted an...

read more

Recap of Friends of Big Finn Hill Park Trails 2017 annual meeting

Posted by on Apr 28, 2017 in Blog, Parks, Stewardship Committee | 0 comments

Recap of Friends of Big Finn Hill Park Trails 2017 annual meeting

Bill Blanchard opened the well-attended meeting at 7:05 by welcoming attendees and guests. After a brief presentation outlining the origin, vision, accomplishments, and challenges of the Friends of Big Finn Hill Parks Trails group, Bill called the evening’s guests to the stage. Kevin Brown, Director, King County Parks and Recreation Division Michael Cogle, Deputy Director, Parks for the City of Kirkland Jon Pascal, Kirkland City Council   Each of the guests introduced himself with a personal story of their interest in and commitment to...

read more

Join the gardeners at Thoreau Sat, April 29

Posted by on Apr 27, 2017 in Blog, Schools | 0 comments

Join the gardeners at Thoreau Sat, April 29

Join the Herbicide-Free Thoreau Elementary School Committee in helping get the school ready for spring! There will be weeding and mulching around the school grounds so bring your gardening gloves and small weeding tools. This is a fun opportunity to help beautify Thoreau elementary school and the community. For more information contact Amy at Finnhillalliance.org Who:  Thoreau Elementary School What: Mulching flowerbeds, general weeding around the buildings Where: Thoreau Elementary School on the corner of 138th Street and 84th Avenue When:...

read more

How the Himalayan Blackberry came to be

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in Blog, Featured, Juanita Woodlands, Parks | 0 comments

If Luther Burbank could see what his Himalayan Blackberry invention did to the Pacific Northwest, maybe he wouldn’t have tinkered with the berry. Because he did there is a big workparty in the Juanita Woodlands on June 3.  Please volunteer and help the woods. “Down the coast in Santa Rosa, Calif., an eccentric guy named Luther Burbank was hard at work on his experimental farm. Burbank didn’t have any formal training, but he was working feverishly to breed strange and wonderful new kinds of plants”….the rest of...

read more