Taylor Creek Restoration Project

Photo of Lower Taylor Creek flowing into Lake Washington.
Lower Taylor Creek flowing into Lake Washington.

Project Description

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is planning to improve and restore Taylor Creek, located near the south end of Lake Washington in southeast Seattle. The project will address localized flooding and sediment deposition by improving drainage infrastructure, remove fish passage barriers, improve salmon habitat, and increase publicly accessible open space. SPU purchased properties at the lower reaches of Taylor Creek, which will allow SPU to increase the quality and size of habitat along Taylor Creek and Lake Washington shoreline, particularly for threatened juvenile Chinook salmon. It will include approximately 3,300 feet of creek restoration and improvements.

Location

This project stretches from the shoreline of Lake Washington, south across Rainier Avenue S, and into Lakeridge Park (Dead Horse Canyon) at the south end.

What's Happening Now?

The project is in the design and permitting phase through 2023. While most of the project scope remains the same, we are now planning additional work in Dead Horse Canyon. Our engineering team is evaluating a different approach to sediment management within the creek system.

In Dead Horse Canyon, we've decided to place large woody materials within the mainstem of the creek to naturally trap sediment and help rebuild the eroding canyon valley, thus providing richer habitat and a more stable channel. The large woody materials will also help protect areas downstream from getting too much sediment too quickly. Our team is evaluating different configurations and placements of the large woody materials along the creek to best control sediment, naturally maintain the banks of the creek, and create habitat. This sediment management effort has resulted in some changes to the design and extends the project area into Lakeridge Park. This summer, the project team will be conducting outreach and requesting community feedback on the sediment management strategy within the canyon.

SPU will also install micropiles (small diameter metal tubes pushed in the ground to provide stability) in a portion of the steep slope of Dead Horse Canyon. Micropiles will help stabilize the slopes and prevent damage to the sewer line and pedestrian trail. This work is part of the Lakeridge Slope Stabilization project. We have combined the two efforts to be more efficient with rate payer dollars and to minimize construction impacts.

As we continue with the design process, please visit our Online Open House to learn more about Taylor Creek and why restoration is needed, view the latest site designs, and provide feedback on the project.

Community Benefits

The Taylor Creek Restoration project will:

  • Address storm-related flooding and sediment disposition at the mouth of the creek
  • Manage and reduce sediment input to the lower reaches of Taylor Creek by installing large woody materials to retain sediment in Dead Horse Canyon
  • Revegetate and install woody material structures along the creek bed to further mitigate erosion in the canyon
  • Increase the quantity and quality of spawning, rearing, and refuge habitat for salmon in the lower channel and delta
  • Remove fish passage barriers
  • Replace the culvert under Rainier Ave S
  • Provide public access to the new natural area north of Rainier Ave S once construction is complete
  • Construct corridor safety improvements along Rainier Ave S in coordination with the Seattle Department of Transportation

Community Engagement

SPU is committed to providing timely information and updates on project activities. Updates may be available in multiple formats: the website, emails, drop-in sessions, briefings, and/or public meetings. There will be several opportunities for the public to engage and provide feedback throughout the project. Check back for more information about upcoming opportunities to get engaged and sign up for the project listserv.

Schedule

2022

  • Community outreach and engagement
  • Sediment Management Strategy decision for Dead Horse Canyon

2023

  • Design complete (entire project)
  • Permit applications

2024

  • Project advertisement and bid

2024-2026

  • Construction

Background

Taylor Creek originates from its headwater wetland in unincorporated King County near Renton Ave S. The creek passes through a natural area known as Dead Horse Canyon within Lakeridge Park. It then passes through residential yards and an aging culvert under Rainier Ave S before discharging into Lake Washington. The culvert under Rainier Ave S, along with other barriers in the creek, prevents fish passage to good quality habitat in Dead Horse Canyon.

Between 2010 and 2012, SPU began developing stream improvement concepts and discussing those concepts with the community. Questions were raised during this early engagement about how the site should be used in the future and the potential for negative neighborhood impacts if the site became publicly accessible. In 2013, SPU, in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks), undertook a collaborative process with the community to evaluate future public access at the site.

In January 2015, SPU approved public access to the Lower Taylor Creek site, and in 2016 SPU purchased two additional properties adjacent to the creek alignment, providing more flexibility for the design process and resulting in a final design that minimizes impact to neighbors. Project design began in 2017.

Public Art

In fall 2018, Brooklyn artist Olalekan Jeyfious was selected by the Office of Arts & Culture to create wayfinding artwork for the project site. Olelakan visited the Taylor Creek site and met with community members from the Vietnamese Friendship Association, Rainier Beach Community Action Coalition, and the East African Community Service Organization to gather their ideas and input. In 2019, Lek/Olalekan presented his initial ideas to the Public Arts Advisory Committee and they were approved to move into design.

Budget & Funding

The project is primarily funded by SPU drainage and wastewater rates with additional funding from the King County Flood Control District’s Cooperative Watershed Management Grant Program, the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration.