About Ebright Creek
Ebright Creek is located on the east side of Lake Sammamish, and drains a 1.4 square mile watershed. It is one of just four remaining kokanee spawning streams of Lake Sammamish, and the mouth of the creek is important for rearing juvenile Chinook salmon. In the 1800s, the surrounding area and riparian land was deforested, the creek bed was channelized, land was converted to farmland, and a railroad crossed the creek approximately 500 feet upstream of Lake Sammamish to serve the nearby lumber mills along the shoreline. Today, pipe culverts under East Lake Sammamish Parkway (ELSP) and the East Lake Sammamish Trail (location of the former railroad) present barriers to fish migration, and much of the habitat remains degraded.
Restoration and planning for Ebright Creek has been ongoing since the 1990s
King County first restored a section of the creek in the 1990s. Beginning in 2012, a private landowner, the City of Sammamish, the Kokanee Work Group and its partners developed restoration plans and restored some sections of the creek. (Detailed timeline included below.) In 2021 and 2022, the City of Sammamish and King County will remove pipe culvert barriers. Combined, these upcoming projects will open up 1.11 miles of quality spawning habitat upstream to kokanee.
Details of the Upcoming 2021/2022 Restoration Projects
In 2021, the City of Sammamish will:
- Replace two 30-inch concrete culvert pipes under East Lake Sammamish Parkway with a fish-friendly 14’ wide x 9’ tall box culvert. The new culvert will feature “meander bars” to create channel sinuosity through the passage.
- Re-align the creekbed east of ELSP to the new box culvert.
- Enhance and restore riparian habitat of the new creek channel with large woody debris (LWD) structures and boulders.
In 2022, King County will:
- Replace the two culvert pipes under the East Lake Sammamish Trail with fish-friendly box culverts. Details pending.
Timeline: The History of Restoration on Ebright Creek:
1990’s: Habitat improvements upstream of ELSP.
King County installed 20 pieces of large woody debris (LWD).
2012: Notable homeowner conservation effort.
Wally Pereyra, a landowner committed to kokanee conservation, replaced a __ inch culvert on his property with a concrete archway bridge to provide unimpeded fish passage. The new passage will also prevent sediment deposition. Invasive plants were removed from the middle reach and replaced with native trees and shrubs.
2012: City develops Ebright Creek Enhancement Plan
The City of Sammamish contracted environmental engineering consulting firm David Evans and Associates, Inc. to produce the Ebright Creek Enhancement Plan, which evaluated the creek from Lake Sammamish to approximately 800 feet upstream of ELSP. The plan listed these issues and recommendations:
- Issue: The reach just upstream of ELSP was braiding and meandering.
- Issue: The reach downstream of ELSP to Lake Sammamish was channelized and “incised” by development.
- Recommendation: regrade in order to: 1) re-establish the floodplain riparian zone, 2) reduce scouring and incision, 3) provide diverse channel habitat, and 4) improve opportunities for spawning.
- Issue: A portion of the north side of the creek, upstream of ELSP, had been filled in the past.
- Recommendation: Remove the fill and regrade the north side of the creek in order to: 1) increase riparian wetland-type habitat and 2) reconnect it to the floodplain.
- Recommendation: Add large woody debris (LWD) structures along approximately __ feet of creek upstream of ELSP. This would add to the enhancement work performed by King County in the 1990’s, and provide habitat diversity and bank stabilization.
- Issue: The riparian zone along the creek lacked conifers and was overgrown with invasive species.
- Recommendation: remove invasives, plant natives and over 650 conifers.
2014: The Kokanee Work Group produced a strategic plan to help kokanee.
The Kokanee Work Group produced Blueprint for the Restoration and Enhancement of Lake Sammamish Kokanee Tributaries, which identified specific conservation measures to enhance and protect kokanee habitat around Lake Sammamish. A top priority of the plan was the restoration of Ebright Creek and removal of the culvert barriers.
2017: Removed invasives; planted 2,327 natives.
Mid Sound Fisheries, the Snoqualmie Tribe and Trout Unlimited collaborated with a private land owner to remove invasive species along 600 feet of Ebright creek and replace them with native plants. To ensure success, the Snoqualmie Tribe conducted follow-up maintainance and provided mulch.
2019: Development of plan to replace the culverts under ELSP.
The City of Sammamish contracted Osborn Consulting, Inc. to develop a final plan to replace the two 30″ culverts at ELSP and restore a portion of the creek in the project vicinity.
2021: City will remove the culverts and replace them with a fish-passable box culvert.
As discussed aboove, the City of Sammamish will begin construction in June, 2021, and expects to complete it by early fall, in time for kokanee migration in November.
2022: King County will replace culverts under the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
King County will replace the pipe culverts under the trail with a 14′ wide box culvert.
* The City of Sammamish maintains a web page for the Ebright Creek Fish Passage project to keep the community up to date on every phase of the 2021 project, including regular public presentations and discussions, and comprehensive project documentation.