WA - Warm Beach Area Creek Restored for Salmon Habitat, Flood Prevention
Martha Creek didn’t really resemble a creek.
When it wasn’t in a culvert, overgrown invasive plants in its ditch-like channel provided no shade for juvenile salmon trying to safely migrate from the Stillaguamish River.
Now, after two years of planning and design work, the Warm Beach area creek has been restored to a more natural state, the latest piece of new habitat in Port Susan that juvenile salmon can call home.
This project, funded with $180,000 from the state Recreation Conservation Office, started in 2018 with design work to restore a 500-foot section of Martha Creek that meanders between several homes from a steep ravine to Port Susan.
The Tulalip Tribes managed the restoration project, part of a handful of large and small efforts to repair salmon habitat throughout Western Washington.
Neil Shea, forests and fish watershed scientist for the Tulalip Tribes, said he hopes the results mirror the restoration of nearby Greenwood Creek that experienced the return of a surprising amount of juvenile fish just a year after the project.
“For the tribes, especially, salmon is kind of a way of life," Shea said. "They really invest in the wild population of chinook and coho and other salmon to maintain and improve.”
In recent years, the state and tribes have restored and protected local sites such as the 250-acre Leque Island estuary between Stanwood and Camano, the 88-acre zis-a-ba estuary site south of Stanwood and the 4,122-acre Port Susan Bay preserve. Earlier this year, the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians agreed to buy about 248 acres of farmland to restore to fish habitat near the mouth of the Stillaguamish River adjacent to the Port Susan Bay preserve.