Have you ever been to Willows Creek? Oh my! It's probably one of the most beautiful, urban natural open spaces remaining in Redmond. If you look hard you'll find an unmarked trail-head in Willows Creek Park that will take you to it. We hiked the creek a couple of weeks ago and took a few pictures.
Willows Creek is good size stream that drains the western "Rose Hill" watershed area. It flows into the Sammamish River in the vicinity of Willows Golf Course. According to Tom Hardy of the Redmond Department of Natural Resources Department, (DNR) federally protected Chinook salmon often find "safe harbor" in the cool waters of the mouth of Willows Creek. Chinook linger in Willows Creek as they swim upstream toward Bear Creek to spawn. But they no longer spawn in here owing to habitat destruction.
Years ago, the creek forests were severely logged and the salmon stopped spawning to the upper reaches of the creek. As you can see, it's a beautiful meandering stream with gravel beds, perfect for salmon rearing. Tom Hardy's crew has a project underway this summer to restore the creek banks and improve the habitat for fish.
As we speak, they are placing new logs and fallen trees along 800 feet of the upper reach. These logs will help shore up eroded banks, control floods, reduce sediment, and create pools. Tom's crew will plant over 100 trees to shelter the creek and cool the waters. This is a Department of Natural Resources project funded by our Stormwater rate bills. Is it possible the salmon and trout will someday swim up Willows Creeks again to spawn? I think that's the city's hope.
Bear Creek, Evans Creek and the Sammamish River encircle Redmond. They are valuable, wild urban salmon bearing streams which makes Redmond unique. Peter's Creek and Willows Creek flow into the Sammamish River from the West. They are just north of the 90th Street Bridge. Peters Creek is a straight ditch stormwater facility with little chance of rehabilitation.
Photo of my wife and slides by B. Yoder