With beach access now temporarily reopened to visitors, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell paid a visit to Snohomish County’s Meadowdale Beach Park Thursday for an update on the estuary restoration project taking place there. The project will restore a historic 1.3-acre estuary to provide essential rearing habitat for chinook, chum and coho salmon as well as cutthroat trout. Puget Sound chinook salmon are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
As we reported in our earlier story, the project will remove 128 linear feet of railroad embankment that serves as shoreline armoring and replace a 6-foot-wide culvert running under the BNSF railroad tracks to restore habitat for salmon that spawn in Lund’s Gulch Creek. Workers will install a five-span railroad bridge with a 100-foot opening to address ADA accessibility, beach access, fish passage, flooding, sediment delivery and various maintenance issues associated with the current undersized culvert.
It will also help re-establish nearshore processes considered key to the Puget Sound’s recovery. Additional habitat and stream enhancement will occur upstream of the estuary and a second footbridge will be installed to provide a platform for viewing fish migration.
Construction work began on June 15, limiting access to the park. According to the sign posted at the park, beach access has temporarily reopened to the public, with the following notes:
– The path to the beach is via a rough asphalt/gravel surface and the existing non-ADA accessible concrete culvert only. All fenced areas or otherwise marked areas are closed to the public, including the picnic shelter.
– The ADA access road at 75th Place West is open to vehicles and pedestrians with limited ADA parking available (four stalls).
– Portable restrooms are located at the 156th Street trailhead and lower park beach access.
– Beach access may be closed with limited notice under certain conditions.
According to the project website, the following activities were conducted in 2021: clearing and grubbing, demolition, tree salvage, road reinforcement, erosion and sediment control, excavation for pedestrian bridge abutments, north trail rockery and surfacing. The date for restarting construction in 2022 has not yet been determined, but activities scheduled to occur include:
- Constructing temporary embankments for railroad crossing and railroad bridge construction
- Removal of 100-feet of embankment and 6-foot wide culvert
- Beach grading
- Installation of utilities including storm, electrical, water and irrigation
- Finalizing estuary grading and removal of debris and fill materials, fabric, topsoils and planting installation
- Park elements installation including benches, picnic table, portable restroom enclosure
- Picnic shelter improvements
- Interpretive signage
The project, which is estimated to cost approximately $15 million, has received more than $6.7 million in various federal and state grants, with the remainder of the money coming from Snohomish County.