Seattle's Thornton Creek is Restored

Thornton Creek is familiar to you as the 18-mile urban creek that runs from Southeast Shoreline through to Northeast Seattle. The creek has been manipulated extensively over the past decades as it was solely a flood conveyance system for the area; however, from these alterations, it became less hospitable for the fish and wildlife. For the fish to thrive, the water layers need to interact in a cyclical habitat, which cleanses the water of waste and regulates the temperature of the water.

Seattle Public Utilities took notice of this issue and evaluated the creek from surface to bottom. The restoration began with Xylem Rental Solutions to dewater the entire site, while the fish were moved temporarily by Seattle Pacific University biologists. This whole restoration effort took four years and cost around $11 million; in the beginning, a major storm threatened the initial progress and two Godwin pumps were used to save the project site.

The new system was built to accept many different levels of flows that the creek can experience from hillsides, pavement, houses, and downspouts. The creek is now fully restored and Chinook salmon have been seen spawning in Thornton Creek for the first time in years - a tremendous victory for the community!

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