Adopt a Stream to survey Edmonds streams

We plan to walk the creeks from their headwaters to Puget Sound
Feb 12, 2013
Adopt a Stream Foundation plans to survey two Edmonds streams, Shell and Shellabarger Creeks, to determine vulnerabilities and suitability to restore salmon runs

The Adopt A Stream Foundation (AASF) will present plans to conduct ecological surveys of Shell and Shellabarger Creeks this winter on Wednesday Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., in room 302 of the Edmonds Francis Anderson Center at 700 main street in downtown Edmonds,

“These  two small streams flow through the the heart of Edmonds into Puget Sound,” said AASF Director Tom Murdoch.  “According to several local watershed residents, they used to support pretty good runs of salmon.”

Thanks to a grant from the Rose Foundation, AASF is about to examine the current ecological health of these streams as part of its Puget Sound Coastal Streamkeeper Program (

Murdoch advises that everyone who lives next to Shell or Shellabarger Creeks or  in their surrounding watersheds is invited to attend.  “Before we ‘get our feet wet,’ we want to learn more about these streams from the people who live, work and recreate near the creeks,” said Murdoch.  “Then we plan to walk the creeks from their headwaters to Puget Sound.

Along the way, AASF will follow procedures it used evaluating other coastal creeks between Edmonds and Everett.

The first streams examined were Perrinville, Lunds Gulch, Picnic Point, Merrill and Ring, Japanese Gulch, Narbeck, and Powder Mill Gulch Creeks.

“As you might expect in a very densely populated areas, the ecological conditions were generally poor, however, we also found some incredibly beautiful salmon and trout habitat,” says Murdoch.

The problems discovered, such as pockets of pollution and man-made barriers to fish migration, can be solved.

Ecologist Walter Rung advises that the Adopt A Stream Foundation examined each stream following part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Rapid Bio-Assessment Protocols (

Rung said, “We photographed each survey location and created maps of each watershed... now you can take a “virtual tour” of each stream by going to”

The field data is also available for viewing as well.

“Fish habitat in all of these coastal streams was degraded,” says Rung, “but, we also found cutthroat trout in every stream we examined.”

AASF expects to find trout in Shell and Shellabarger Creeks as well.  And Rung says that when trout are found in urban streams there is a lot of potential to restore salmon runs as well -imagine a salmon run in the heart of Edmonds!

Background Information: Two years ago, AASF began walking several small coastal streams that flow directly into Puget Sound between Edmonds and Everett.  The purpose of that survey was to gather current information about the ecological health of those streams and to identify opportunities to improve fish and wildlife habitat and to reduce water pollution.

Another objective was to inform streamside landowners on easy steps that they can take that will benefit their stream and to create partnerships with support groups that lead to improved fish habitat.

In addition, AASF plans to present its stream survey findings to the local governments that make land use decisions in the surrounding watershed and provide recommendations on how to prevent future water quality problems.

One recommendation that will be made is for all new development constructed in these watersheds to be constructed using low impact design techniques.

Another is for these agencies to consider establishing a “salmon and trout relief fund” to provide owners of existing developed properties small grants and technical assistance to help them reduce their stormwater runoff.

The Puget Sound Coastal Streamkeepers, was initially funded by grants from the Russell Family Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The expansion into Edmonds is funded by the Rose Foundation (


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