A project to restore salmon habitat on Fennel Creek where it joins the Puyallup River will begin July 1 and continue through the end of August. Truck traffic along McCutcheon Road between 96th Street East and 128th Street East may increase during the work.
Crews will build a new, meandering stream channel for Fennel Creek. The new channel will be approximately 1,880 feet long and 20 feet wide. They will also remove portions of the man-made berm that separates Fennel Creek from the wetlands to the west, reconnecting the creek with its floodplain.
“This project is part of a larger effort by Pierce County to restore the natural Puyallup River floodplain and restore fish habitat on Fennel Creek,” said Harold Smelt, Pierce County Public Works surface water manager.
In addition, crews will add large pieces of wood and logjams to the new and existing channels to redirect water to the new channel, slow the water’s flow and provide fish habitat. They will also plant native plants along the stream banks and in the floodplain.
Fennel Creek is an important salmon-bearing stream that flows to the Puyallup River. It provides valuable spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead, which are endangered species. Chum, coho and pink salmon and coastal cutthroat trout also use Fennel Creek.
The project is located on a 40-acre property owned by Pierce County where Fennel Creek joins the Puyallup River. Properties along Fennel Creek were purchased by Pierce County after flooding damaged homes in the area in 1996. Pierce County is implementing new projects to remove the homes and restore natural floodplain functions, reducing flood risk to other surrounding properties.
The project is funded by a $535,000 grant from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board because of its benefits to salmon habitat, especially endangered species. Pierce County Surface Water Management fees are providing $100,000 match to the grant.
More information is available at www.piercecountywa.org/fennelcreek.