Council approves habitat restoration

Native salmon populations are expected to reap immediate benefits from a major Kelsey Creek habitat restoration project approved Monday by the Bellevue City Council.

The $1 million project on the west tributary of Kelsey Creek at Kelsey Creek Community Park calls for the restoration of 760 feet of historic stream channel, the replacement of three bridges to improve stream flow and various wetlands improvements.

When completed, the project is expected to provide better fish passage conditions, spawning habitat and cooler water temperatures that will help juvenile fish survive and develop. Flooding in the park also is expected to be reduced as a result of the project.

The Kelsey Creek work comes at a time when a number of environmental stewardship activities are underway or being planned throughout the city. The activities are part of a broader initiative approved last year by the council.

Historically, significant numbers of coho, chinook and sockeye salmon returned to spawn in the west tributary at Kelsey Creek Park and various points upstream.

However, over the past two decades or so, sediment deposits caused by development upstream raised and narrowed the channel to levels detrimental to healthy fish populations.

Ohno Construction Co. is expected to complete the Kelsey Creek project by late fall.

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