King County Department of Natural Resources and the US Army Corps of Engineers partnered the preparation of the Sammamish River Action Plan in support of the Lake Washington GI study. The report was prepared in close coordination with local municipalities and stakeholders, and provides guidance on restoration needs and projects for the Sammamish River Corridor.
The plan focuses on the Sammamish River's role as a necessary migratory corridor for anadromous salmon in the Sammamish Watershed. Implementation of the plan, however, would benefit more than just salmon and a wide range of other wildlife; it would also enhance the river corridor's ability to serve as a place of pleasure and refuge for the surrounding human community.
The Action Plan views the Sammamish River Corridor's most important ecological role as a link between other habitats. It is primarily a link between Lakes Washington and Sammamish, but it also links major tributaries and upland habitats with each other and the lakes. Many species other than salmon use the river as a critical migratory corridor. The fundamental goal of the Plan is to make the Sammamish River Corridor a strong link, rather than a weak one, in this larger ecosystem. To meet this goal, the plan recommends the following programmatic strategy:
- Restore riparian areas throughout the river corridor to provide shade, cover and enhanced habitat for all fish and wildlife;
- Create and enhance pools in the river channel to provide cool-water refuge and cover, particularly for migrating adult salmon;
- Explore engineered solutions to cool the river upstream of Bear Creek confluence to reduce thermal stress for migrating adult salmon where it is greatest;
- Protect all major tributaries to the river, particularly Bear Creek, as sources of cool water for the river and as habitat for other life stages of fish and wildlife using the river; and
- Systematically apply adaptive management across jurisdictions, monitoring projects closely compare both to each other and to baseline conditions, to identify features of greatest values to include in future projects.