North Wind's Weir Duwamish Salmon Habitat Acquisition and Restoration Project
Duwamish Alive! Autumn 2010
The autumnal Duwamish Alive! series of volunteer projects occurred on October 9, 2010. About 400 volunteers worked at 12 sites in Seattle and Tukwila. At North Wind's Weir estuary restoration, 37 volunteers worked in the rain:
- Planting 210 native trees and shrubs
- Weeding invasive plants
- Fixing goose exclusion fences
The photo above shows volunteers planting "upland" trees and shrubs in the remaining open areas at the North Wind's Weir restoration project on October 9. New plants have pink flagging so they can be identified easily and watered next summer. Plants installed in the spring of 2010 in the background probably will not require watering in their second summer in 2011.
The October 9 event provided an opportunity to weed non-native invasive plants that had crept into the site in late summer. Weeding parties earlier in the summer had controlled the early "invaders." The photo above shows volunteers removing common tansy and Himalayan blackberrry.
The photo above shows some of the volunteers at the conclusion of the October 9 work party. Despite being wet and dirty after four hours of work, the volunteers are smiling and satisfied that they have helped to make the "Duwamish Alive!"
Volunteers are key to the success of this project. This table records their tremendous contribution to date in planting trees and shrubs, building goose exclusion fences, and weeding and mulching. Hooray for volunteers!
|Date||Activities||Number of Volunteers||Total Hours Contributed|
|February 6, 2010
||Planting upland trees and shrubs||
|February 27, 2010
||Planting upland trees and shrubs||
|April 3, 2010
||Building goose exclusion fencing||
|April 17, 2010
||Planting marsh (emergent) plants and mulching||
|June 16, 2010
|June 30, 2010
|July 16, 2010
|October 9, 2010
||Planting upland plants, weeding, repairing goose exclusion fencing||
|November 20, 2010
||Planting 90 upland plants (trees and shrubs)||
Research April - June
During April, May, and June, researchers from the University of Washington collected data at the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration during four-day stretches. Data included:
- Fish present
- Benthic (sediment) samples
This research will deepen understanding of how the Duwamish works and the effectiveness of habitat restoration/creation projects.
Duwamish Alive! on April 17
Nearly 200 volunteers planted trees, shrubs, and wetland plants and spread 75 cubic yards of mulch at the North Wind's Weir project as a part of Duwamish Alive! on April 17.
The photo above shows volunteers planting marsh ("emergent") plants inside the partially-completed goose exclusion fences at the North Wind's Weir project on April 17. Once all the plants were planted, ropes were strung across the top of the enclosure and the final side of fencing was installed. The enclosures will protect the tender young plants from grazing by Canada geese.
This photo shows the newly-planted marsh plants in the intertidal area of the project. Marsh plants will support the diverse ecosystem of the intertidal zone, which in turn will feed and shelter juvenile salmon.
Above is a photo of the completed enclosure around the newly-planted marsh plants. Ropes across the top deter Canada geese from flying or swimming into the enclosures and eating the tender young plants.
Another task on April 17 was planting the final trees and shrubs in the "upland" areas of the project. Here volunteers plant willows and other plants that will support insects that will in turn feed the salmon.
The last major task for the volunteers on April 17 was spreading more wood mulch around trees and shrubs in the "upland" areas. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture and discourages weeds.
To recognize the completion of the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration project, a celebration was held at Noon. Kathy Fletcher, the Executive Director of People For Puget Sound, is shown making remarks. Also speaking were Olton Swanson, Deputy Engineer, Seattle District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Tabb Clark, a Boeing employee.
The salmon couldn't wait to take advantage of the completed project! The photo above shows initial salmon use on April 17 of the "bench boulder habitat" provided by Boeing employees.
Hundreds of employees in Boeing Commercial Aviation Services work across the street from the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration. They have been regular volunteers and keen observers of the evolving project. A number of them recently made a generous donation to the project: two boulders to serve as very durable seating that looks out over the project.
The donation was organized by Tabb Clark. Tabb and five of his colleagues helped place the rock benches on the morning of April 13.
The photo above shows the first boulder being unloaded from the delivery truck. The buildings in the background house the Boeing Commercial Aviation Services employees who donated the boulder benches.
The first boulder is put into position.
The second boulder is placed.
The Boeing employees test out the boulder benches for the first time. The benches look south and west across the restoration project and the river, providing a pleasant spot from which to observe the dynamic ecology of the Duwamish estuary or enjoy lunch.
On April 3, 10 volunteers constructed eight fenced enclosures in the intertidal zone. Marsh plants were planted in the enclosures on April 17. The enclosures will prevent Canada geese from grazing the tender young marsh plants.
After driving fence posts into the muddy bank, the volunteers unroll the unwieldy wire mesh around the perimeter of the enclosure.
The volunteers splice together the vertical mesh fencing around the perimeter of the enclosure.
The enclosures were left open on the uphill side to allow easy access for volunteers on April 17 to come in to plant emergent marsh plants. Once the plants were in the ground, the enclosures were completed to keep the plants safe from grazing Canada geese.
The fence construction was scheduled on April 3 because of the low tides. The photo above looks southeast from the entrance across the mudflat exposed by the -1 foot tide.
The photo above shows the site exposed by the -1 foot tide. Compare the photo above with a December 21 view.
The view above shows how completely the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration project can empty out during a very low tide. The photo above was taken at about a 0 foot tide with the river running 1,000 cubic feet per second (low for this time of year) on the afternoon of March 4. You can see the mudflat that -- when inundated as it is most of the time -- provides optimal rearing habitat for juvenile salmon. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
On February 27, 116 volunteers planted trees and shrubs at the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration site on the Duwamish River in Tukwila. Their efforts built on the volunteer plantings begun February 6 and largely completed planting in the "upland." Several corridors through the upland down to the large wood clusters have been left unplanted at this time to allow access for installation of additional anchors on the wood clusters. These corridors will be filled in with plants when the re-anchoring is complete.
Thank you to the volunteers on February 27 who came from People For Puget Sound, Boeing, University of Washington, Ikea, and Disney Day of Service!
Work on February 27 consisted of planting "upland" trees and shrubs around the east and north sides of the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration project. This view looks south along the east side of the project.
This view shows volunteers planting trees and shrubs along both sides of the gravel path along the north side of the project.
Planting trees is fun (especially when it's warm and dry)!
On February 17, crews installed additional anchors on several of the large wood clusters. The additional anchors will compensate for the loose soil that allowed a few of the clusters to float more than was intended. During the last week in March, further re-anchoring occurred.
On February 6, 132 volunteers continued transforming the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration site by planting hundreds of 600 trees and shrubs and 900 willow/dogwood stakes.
In the morning of Saturday, February 6, the plants were set out, waiting for the volunteers to arrive. The beauty bark will help suppress weeds, retain soil moisture, and reduce soil erosion.
After an orientation to the project and safety briefing, the volunteers get to work planting potted plants and bare root plants in the "upland" or portion of the site farthest from the water.
Family members gaze on their contribution to the future of the restoration site -- a carefully-planted shore pine tree. The trees and shrubs will provide a home for terrestrial insects that in turn will feed the young salmon that swim in the nearby shallow waters.
Over 125 volunteers participated in the February 6 tree planting at the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration project.
In addition to potted and bare root plants, volunteers planted willow and dogwood stakes. This planting task involves driving a hole with a rock bar and then inserting a cutting from a willow or red osier dogwood bush. The stakes are planted close to the high tide mark because they need to be in contact with groundwater.
Keeping a close eye on the planting on February 6 was this bald eagle, which reminds us that in the Duwamish River, wildlife habitat exists alongside vibrant industrial and commercial activity.
Construction Concluded December 18
Construction finished on December 18 and inspection took place December 21.
On December 17, KING 5 news reported on the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration project as construction was wrapping up. View the KING 5 story on North Wind's Weir restoration.
The photo above shows the completed project on December 21, looking east. The upper limit of tidal action coincides with the lower boundary of the brown beauty bark. The beauty bark suppresses weeds and reduces erosion. The tree trunks chained to anchors will provide shelter for young fish during high tide.
The photo above looks west across the project site on December 21. The area covered in beauty bark will be planted with trees and shrubs in February.
The photo above shows the northern portion of the project at the conclusion of construction on December 21. The "trees" installed vertically are perching trees that also will provide a habitat for cavity-dwelling birds such as woodpeckers.
The photo above provides an aerial view of the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration during the morning of December 18. At low tide, the project will be nearly completely drained. Photo by Ned Ahrens, King County.
A second view of the project on the morning of December 18. Coincidentally, these aerial photos were taken not long after the following two photos. Photo by Ned Ahrens, King County.
The photo above shows the North Wind's Weir restoration project on the morning of December 18. Most of the mudflat habitat that is most beneficial to young salmon is underwater in this picture. Beauty bark is being blown down to stabilize the soil and suppress weeds. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
The photo above shows the North Wind's Weir restoration project on the morning of December 18. The beauty bark is placed above the high tide line. The area covered in beauty bark was planted with trees and shrubs in February 2010. The area between the lower limit of the beauty bark and the water's edge will be planted with marsh plants in April 2010. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
The photo above shows the site on December 16. The chain link fence along S. 112th St. in the foreground had just been removed and the split rail fence is under construction. The yellow material around the east and north edges of the excavated area is coir fabric, a coconut-based fabric used to stabilize the soil. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
As of December 15, the earthmoving was nearly entirely completed at the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration project. Tidal cycles were filling and draining the site as intended.
The photo above shows the project on December 15 during an 8 foot tide (5.7 feet on site plans). The traverse berm that formerly ran left to right in the middle of the excavated area has been completely removed. Tree trunks ("large wood") have been placed in their final locations and anchored in place.
The photo above looks west through the opening to the Duwamish River on December 15. The yellow boom is the float for the silt curtain intended to minimize the spread of turbidity from the project area to the river.
This December 15 view looks southwest along the eastern edge of the project. The black object in the lower left is a culvert for stormwater from a neighboring property. The culvert has a Tideflex duckbill check valve to keep tidewater from backing up to the neighboring property. The white material on the quarry spall below the culvert is ice from the previous week's cold weather.
This final December 15 view looks southwest across the majority of the site. The tree is a snag that has been placed to provide perching habitat for birds.
The photo above shows the project on December 9. Ice is floating in the middle of the excavated area and has accumulated around the edges. Even though this part of the river is tidally influenced, fresh water -- which freezes more easily than salt water -- sits on top of the salt water that fills most of the site. Three snag trees can be seen at the right and upper parts of the site. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
The photo above shows the site on the morning of December 7. The northern berm is out of view under water, having been graded to its final elevation. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
The photo above also was taken on the morning of December 7. Although not quite complete, the project now was functionally part of the Duwamish estuary. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
The photo above looks northeast across the site at low tide in the afternoon of December 7. The material in front of the man will be excavated. The darker material that looks like "ring around the bathtub" shows the extent of high tide in the site to date.
This photo looks west across the site to the entrance to the Duwamish during low tide on December 7. The log at left has been driven into the ground to serve as a snag for birds and insects.
The photo above shows the southern cell during the morning of December 4, the first day tidal waters completely filled the site. Earlier in the morning, tidewaters covered the berm on the right. The ultimate main entrance to the river -- which will allow the site to drain completely at low tide -- still remains to be dug. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
The photo above shows the central temporary berm between the southern (left) and northern (right) cells on the morning of December 4. The morning high tide covered the central berm and although the tide is going out in this photo, still covers the berm between the northern cell and the river. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
The December 4 milestone of first complete tidal inundation was reached during the final earthmoving phase of the project which began three days prior. Beginning in the evening of December 1, crews began the final phase of earthmoving to open up the project site to the Duwamish River. At 10 p.m. on December 1, a small group of Boeing employees (who work across the street) and project supporters went on a tour of the site to see the work kick off. They walked through a surreal landscape as construction equipment roared and rolled across the site under bright construction lights.
During the following days, work occurred both during the day and at night during low tides to allow equipment to work in the dry.
The photo above shows construction on the morning of December 2. The track hoe is moving the logs to place them in clusters, where they will provide shelter for fish.
The photo above shows a trackhoe making final contours to the bank of the Duwamish on December 2. The area where the photographer is standing had been further excavated overnight.
The photo above shows the project team and contractor meeting on December 1 to assess progress. At this meeting, they decided to go ahead with the final grading work during the low tides and dry weather of this week.
Construction Progresses During November 2009
The photo above shows the site on November 25. The majority of the grading was complete and large wood was being placed on the slopes. Compare this view to a photo of the same location taken two weeks prior. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
This photo shows workers securing large wood pieces together. The wood will provide shelter for young salmon. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
The following photos were taken on November 11. Water in the excavated areas is a mix of stormwater, water from a broken water pipe (fixed when the photo was taken), and seepage through the sandy soil from the high water table. Water is pumped from one pond to the other to give crews space to work.
View on November 11 looking north toward the project site from the Boeing Customer Services Building located south of S. 112th St. Compare this view to a photo of the same location taken one week prior. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
View looking northwest across the site on November 11. The Duwamish River is beyond the construction equipment. Pump in the foreground is used to shift water between the ponds as needed. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
A bulldozer grades the eastern slope of the site on November 4. Tree trunks piled up in far distance eventually were placed in the large open area to provide refuge habitat for young salmon.
This photo looks southwest on November 4. The eventual opening to the Duwamish River will be located between the construction trailers and the excavator on top of the bank in the center distance of the photo.
This photo looks south and shows the north-south extent of the project on November 4. Water in the bottom is from seepage. The open area was further deepened during November before an opening was excavated to the Duwamish in early December.
Approximately every 10 minutes during the November excavation, a dump truck entered the site and was loaded with excavated soil. This soil was used for clean fill.
This photo looks northeast across the extent of the site on November 4. The eventual opening to the Duwamish was located between the photographer's location and the trackhoe on the far left. Note that some large pieces of wood already have been placed on the southern slope at right.
This photo looks south (upstream) on the Duwamish River. Contaminated soil from this stretch of the river bank was removed during the winter of 2009. Compare this November 4 view to a picture taken at this location in February.
Construction Began in Early October
The contractor began work at the beginning of October by clearing the remaining rubble and several trees from the property.
July 28, 2009 Groundbreaking
A celebratory groundbreaking for the final, main construction phase of the North Wind's Weir estuarine restoration project occurred July 28, 2009.
Download the program for the groundbreaking (Adobe Acrobat).
Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton welcomed people to the site for the July 28 groundbreaking.
State representative Zack Hudgins, whose district includes the project site, spoke about the various ways Washington State is helping local partners recover the Duwamish River and Puget Sound.
Representatives of the many organizations that contributed to the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration project helped with the ceremonial groundbreaking.
Those breaking ground found "buried treasure": a box containing chocolate salmon symbolic of the rewards to come when the site is providing habitat for millions of young salmon.
February-April 2009 Soil Cleanup
In 2008, most of the remaining contaminated soil was removed from the site. To remove the last remaining contaminated soil in the riverbank itself, it was necessary to construct a temporary barrier. This photo shows the "Portadam" being assembled in February 2009.
This photo shows how the "Portadam" sits right at the edge of the river at low tide. At high tide, river flow backs up enough to cover the rocks in the foreground and much of the Portadam. February 2009 photo.
This view, looking upstream, shows the "Portadam" in action, holding back the river water and allowing excavation work to continue. Pumps are used to remove water that seeps around the Portadam. February 2009 photo.
This March 2009 photo shows the site after the remaining contaminated soil and Portadam have been removed.
This April 2009 photo looking downstream shows the new northern berm constructed during the removal of the last contaminated soil earlier in 2009. Coir fabric and straw are used to reduced erosion. The patch of green on the mudflat is emergent marsh vegetation.
This April 2009 photo looks upstream during low tide. The straw-covered area is part of the newly-constructed northern berm. The eventual connection between the off-channel, shallow water habitat project and the river will occur upstream of the rocky promontory at the end of the straw-covered berm.
View looking toward project site on April 20, 2009, from roof of Boeing Customer Services Building located south of S. 112th St. Photo courtesy of Norbert Woloszyn.
2008 Soil Cleanup
The majority of the contaminated soil was removed in 2008. Contamination consisted mostly of oil-soaked soil from previous industrial uses of the property. In addition, there were large (refrigerator-sized) chunks of concrete that had been buried on site. May 2008 photo.
Four habitat types have been created at the North Wind's Weir estuary restoration:
- Riparian/upland: 0.69 acres -- habitat for terrestrial insects, birds, small mammals
- Emergent/marsh: 0.56 acres -- habitat for aquatic and terrestrial insects, birds, small mammals, freshwater and marine fishes
- Mudflat: 1.29 acres -- habitat for birds, freshwater and marine fish, benthic organisms (shellfish, worms)
- Trail: 0.23 acres -- habitat for people to access and enjoy the site
The figures above do not include the immediately adjacent habitat existing prior to the project such as sandbar/emergent marsh at the northwest corner of the site.
Download a vicinity map (Adobe Acrobat).
North Wind's Weir Estuarine Habitat Project Plans "As Built" 2010 (Adobe Acrobat 4.2 MB)
- Located in the Duwamish Estuary Subwatershed
- Project is project DUW-10 in the 2005 Salmon Habitat Plan (page 7-93)
- Project formerly was known as "Site 1"
- This project consisted of acquiring one of the few remaining undeveloped properties in the Duwamish estuary and restoring it to create shallow water habitat (mudflat ringed by marsh)
- The first phase, completed in October 2001, involved purchase of 2.5 acres along the Duwamish River from a willing seller
- The second phase, begun in 2008 and completed in April 2009, removed contaminated soils from the site
- The third phase, currently underway, is constructing an off-channel habitat that will benefit juvenile threatened Chinook salmon and other fish and wildlife. The Army Corps of Engineers is leading this phase in its role as a partner in the Green/Duwamish Ecosystem Restoration Project. Excavation and grading was completed in mid-December 2009. Planting of the site with native upland and emergent (marsh) plants began in February 2010 and will continue throughout the year.
Partners and Funding
- Partnership of King County (design lead) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (construction lead)
- Acquisition: $500,000 funded by SRFB (first round), $611,000 funded by the Elliott Bay/Duwamish Restoration Program, $500,000 funded by the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, $100,000 from the City of Seattle, $100,000 from King County, and $100,000 from the City of Tukwila
- Restoration: $1,700,000 funded by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, $950,000 funded by Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration(SRFB eighth round), $635,000 from King County, $413,500 from King Conservation District, and a total to be determined from the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account
Importance for Salmon
- Site is located at the zone of salt and freshwater mixing that is especially important to juvenile salmon in the watershed.
- Critical transition area for juvenile salmon produced higher in the Green/Duwamish River watershed