The goal of the Qwuloolt
Project is to restore historic tidal circulation and other natural processes
and functions to the site.
Project objectives established by the partners include:
- Create a self-sustaining project requiring minimal construction and maintenance
- Create a physical, chemical, and biological template on the site that allows natural processes to occur and critical functions to improve
- Promote natural channel formation
- Create areas for the development of diverse plant and forest communities
- Facilitate the rate of recovery and revegetation of native species
- Maintain migratory pathways for existing fish populations
- Maximize cover, forage, and other habitat functions for fish
- Balance public access and aesthetic considerations with ecological objectives
-- GO TO TOP --
The overall approach of the Qwuloolt Project is to create a
cost effective, self-sustaining, and resilient estuary system on site that requires minimal construction and maintenance and allows natural
processes to occur and critical functions to improve over time.
More specifically, restoring the Qwuloolt will involve restoring
and typical site relief on the site, constructing setback levees to
protect neighboring properties within the floodplain, planting native
vegetation to promote habitat recovery, and removing four tide gates
and levee sections along Ebey Slough to restore tidal connection with the broader Snohomish River estuary system.
The Qwuloolt project involves relocating one mile of stream
channel in lower Allen Creek
and Jones Creek to its historic alignment based on a 1938 aerial photo that
depicts remnant channels. The relocation
of the channels will restore stream
habitat quantity and quality.
Material extracted during the stream
relocation will be used to fill the current ditched channel and other
drainage ditches as well as to create typical topographic relief on the
site. Filling low areas and adding site relief along the channel edges will promote the return of natural
processes such as tidal channel formation and sheet flow exchange once tidal influence is restored.
These actions will create a physical foundation on the site that will allow natural processes to occur
and critical functions to improve over time.
Riparian areas along the stream
channels, slough, and perimeter of the project area will be planted with native
vegetation to facilitate the rate of
recovery of plant and forest communities.
Levee Setback and Removal
Interior setback levees will also be installed or upgraded to protect neighboring industrial, sewage treatment,
and other infrastructure and property located in the floodplain. Once
setback levees are constructed, levees along Ebey Slough will be removed. As
much of the levee as possible will be removed because experts recommend
full levee removal to reestablish historic and natural tidal exchange.
Levee removal will restore fish access to estuary and side
channel habitats and re-establish historic
tidal influences. Levee removal will also allow fish to access Jones and Allen Creek stream systems.
The restoration of physical, chemical, and
biological estuarine processes, such as tidal
circulation, are essential to restoring
a critical estuary system that will improve water quality,
production and transport of plant material and nutrients, utilization by
estuarine dependent species, and other ecological functions.
Over the past few years, project partners have worked
cooperatively to develop a restoration plan for the Qwuloolt. In early 2006, partners held a public informational meeting and open house to solicit
feedback from the community on several
levee breach alternatives. You can view restoration
alternatives evaluated as part of this process, including trail and public access alignments, on the Maps & Documents page. Based
on input from the community, planning partners selected a large levee
breach alternative as the preferred alternative for further
2006, project partners have worked to refine the preferred alternative
to enhance ecological and biological objectives and to reduce overall
project impacts and costs In early 2009, with the engineering and
design assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, project partners
completed the following design for the Qwuloolt:
The Qwuloolt Project will be implemented in two phases:
- Stream Restoration
In 2007, one mile of stream channel in lower Allen
and Jones Creeks was restored to its
historic location and natural
alignment. The project involved excavating 5,000 feet of new
channel and filling in the old
ditched channels to ensure that the creeks functioned properly.
Look at Photos.
- Estuary Restoration
This phase of the project aims to restore tidal
connection and a functioning estuary system
Qwuloolt. It will include levee setback construction and levee
Designs for this phase are outlined below.
Construction is planned for 2012-2013.
The stream restoration component of the Qwuloolt
Project restored one mile of stream channel in lower Allen and Jones Creeks. Ditched portions of the streams were realigned to their historic locations as seen in this 1938 aerial photo.
project included excavating 5,000 feet of new stream channel
within the project area. Some of the existing ditched channels were
also filled to ensure that the creeks function properly. The
tide gates and levees on Ebey Slough at the mouths of Allen
and Jones Creek were not altered. The figures below
illustrate the new stream channel alignments for Allen and Jones
The work on Allen Creek involved excavating 1,400 feet
of channel that will act as a backwater channel for the main stream channel.
It was connected to a remnant portion of the historic Allen
Creek channel at the downstream end but was not connected to the
main Allen Creek channel on the upstream end. The existing Allen
Creek channel was not altered.
The work on
Jones Creek required
excavating 2,500 feet of stream channel in order to match historic
stream channel meanders. The new channel was connected to
Jones Creek on the upstream and downstream ends. A small
tributary, approximately 1,300 feet in length, was also be
excavated south of the main channel. Existing ditched channels
were filled to ensure that the creeks functioned properly.
You can view Restoration Photos or Contact Us for more information.
The estuary restoration phase of the Qwuloolt
Project will restore tidal processes and an estuarine marsh system to
340 acres of floodplain. The following project elements will be
- Removal of 1,800 linear feet of levee along Ebey Slough
- Construction of setback levees (1,700 ft and
4,000 ft) and a 0.8 acre fill area to protect adjacent properties
located in the floodplain
- Construction of a 6 ½ acre water runoff storage basin
- Filling ditches and excavating starter channels to facilitate tidal channel formation
- Constructing small internal berms to increase habitat complexity and attenuate waves
- Planting native trees and shrubs
Typical Setback Levee Design
For plan sheets see Designs.
-- GO TO TOP --
Community Meeting & Public Comment
Feb - May 2009
May - June 2012
Construction of Protective Levees
Jul 2012 - Aug 2013
Tidal Restoration (Levee and Tide Gate Removal)
GO TO TOP--
Restoration of the Qwuloolt,
including Allen and Jones Creek stream and estuarine
restoration activities, is expected to cost approximately $7 million.
This project is made possible through the cooperation and
financial support of its many partners including tribal, local, county,
state, and federal agencies as well as private individuals and
Grant assistance has come from:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Community-based Restoration Program
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Open Rivers Initiative Program
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Puget Sound Marine Conservation Program
Natural Resource Conservation Service's Wetland Reserve Program
Pacific Coast Joint Venture
US Fish and Wildlife Service's National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Program
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program
Washington State's Acquatic Lands Enhancement Account
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office
Washington State's Salmon Recovery Funding Board