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Watersheds, rivers and streams

Cedar River - Lake Washington

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Cedar River - Lake Washington Watershed

Cedar River - Lake Washington Watershed

Cedar River - Lake Washington Watershed map
Cedar River - Lake Washington Watershed map (Acrobat pdf)
Cedar River - Lake Washington area interactive map

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The Cedar River - Lake Washington Watershed is the land area in which rainwater drains to Lake Washington and out through the Hiram Chittenden Locks. The Cedar River - Lake Washington watershed includes the Cedar River and its tributaries, May Creek, Coal Creek, Mercer Island, Mercer Slough, Kelsey Creek, Fairweather Creek, Yarrow Creek, Juanita Creek, Forbes Creek, Lyon Creek, McAleer Creek, Thornton Creek, Ravenna Creek and of course, Lake Washington.

The Sammamish Watershed drains into Lake Washington too, and is published on a separate page.; That drainage includes Swamp Creek, North Creek, Bear Creek and Little Bear Creek, Cottage Lake Creek, Evans Creek, Issaquah Creek, Tibbetts Creek and a number of smaller creeks draining to the east and west shores of Lake Sammamish.

For information about the area that is a source for City of Seattle's drinking water, please see Seattle's Cedar River Watershed page or our related organizations page.

Introduction to watersheds

Basin Steward Program
Look up watershed experts to get answers to questions and help solve watershed related problems.

Community service centers
Information about King County's satellite offices including the Black River community center in the Cedar River watershed at Renton. Office address is 900 Oaksdale Ave. S.W., Renton, WA 98055, phone number 206-296-7810. The Covington community service center is located at 27331 172nd Ave. SE, # 116, Covington, WA 98042, phone number 206-296-1387. The Northshore community service center is located at 10808 N.E. 145th St., Bothell, WA 98011, phone number 206-296-9840.

River warnings

Projects in the Cedar River - Lake Washington Watershed


Restoring Rainbow Bend: Good for People and Fish from King County DNRP on Vimeo.

Water and land improvement projects, Cedar River - Lake Washington Watershed
Look up flooding, wastewater treatment and stormwater projects in King County, Washington.

Flooding and hydrology

Cedar River Flooding, 1996Cedar River flooding information
Look up real time gage data, flood stage info and learn what it means along the Cedar River.

Flood photo viewer
Use a map to to look up photographs of past floods on the Cedar River and other rivers in King County.

Hydrologic gage data map
Look up detailed gaging station data for creeks and rivers in the region.

Surface water management and groundwater

Report problems: drainage and water quality

Stormwater runoff pollution and how to reduce it
Tips on how to reduce water pollution from home, yard, car, pets and so forth.

Lake Washington water quality dataLake Washington information
This page offers everything we have about the lake, its environment and recreational information.

Lake Union water quality information

Henderson/ Martin Luther King combined sewer overflow project
A stormwater storage tunnel project in the Rainier Beach area of South Seattle, designed to keep Lake Washington clean.

Swimming beach data
Find information about levels of bacterial pollution and relative human health risks at swimming beaches on Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, and other King County lakes.

Stormwater runoff pollution and how to reduce it
Rainstorms rinse the watershed faster when covered by hard surfaces like roofs and roads.  Learn how stormwater brings pollution, wastes and sediments into streams, rivers and lakes and how you can keep stormwater clean.

Lakes: statistics and water quality

Lake Weedwatcher Program
Got a small boat? Interested in saving a lake from the horrors of dense weed infestations?

Cedar River - Lake Washington Watershed map
Drainage map displaying streams, lakes, drainage divides, major roads and cities in the area that drains to Lake Washington and out the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, except for the Sammamish Watershed area. The map is in Acrobat format. File size is 445 Kb.

South King County Groundwater Management Area
Learn about plans to protect the aquifer in the south county area including the Cedar River watershed localities of Renton, Black Diamond, Maple Valley, and areas in between.

Human Health Risk Assessment in the Greater Lake Washington Watershed
Describes which chemicals in streams and lakes in the Greater Lake Washington watershed are predominantly responsible for human health risks and the relative magnitudes of these risks.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment
Learn about these natural and synthetic chemicals flushed daily into our waters, and discover what King County is doing to protect public health and the environment as the science and our understanding of endocrine disruptors develops.

Final Adopted May Creek Basin Action Plan
This plan provides regulatory guidance, programs, and projects aimed to reduce the threat of flooding to citizens in the May Creek Basin, to make improvements to effectively handle stormflow while stabilizing stream banks and reducing erosion, to protect and enhance fish and wildlife habitat and water quality in the basin, and to take reasonable steps to prevent existing problems from worsening in the future. May Creek flows into Lake Washington.

Lake Washington looking west toward the Olympics

Lower Cedar River Basin Planning documents

Urbanization of Aquatic Systems: DegradationThresholds, Stormwater Detection and the Limits of Mitigation (Acrobat pdf, external)
King County study concluding that "approximately 10 percent effective impervious area in a watershed typically yields demonstrable, and probably irreversible, loss of aquatic-system function."

Salmon recovery

For salmon viewing and fishing access, please refer to the recreation and appreciation section below.

WRIA 8 salmon recovey - Lake Washington, Cedar River, and Sammamish
Multi-jurisdictional site provides news and data about the recovery of threatened salmon species in the Sammamish, Lake Washington, and Cedar River drainage area and provides an overview of the planning process, scientific information, and meeting records.

Greening your Shoreline
References and recipes for lakeshore property owners on Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish to use to improve shorelines for people and salmon.

WRIA 8 plans, studies and maps

Salmon Watcher monitoring sites map
See the sites in Sammamish Watershed and consider volunteering to be a Salmon Watcher next fall.

Wastewater treatment

Go to Brightwater Treatment Facilities Brightwater treatment systyem
Major improvements to the sewage treatment system serving King and Snohomish Counties including the Cedar/Lake Washignton watershed area. The Brightwater project encompasses a new treatment plant, its associated conveyance pipes, outfall to Puget Sound and an environmental education center. The system is under construction now (2009).

Juanita Bay pump station replacement project
Details about a project to to increase wastewater handling capacity and ensure safe and reliable operation.

Lake Washington & the Cascade Range

Recreation and appreciation

Cedar River Recreation Study
Report describing the primary boating and floating areas along the Cedar River and characterization of the floating experience for recreational users.

Lake Shorelines, Life on the Edge Video Series
Watch a video that describes lakes in King County and how residents value them, with ideas that shoreline landowners may like to apply to help preserve the quality of lakes and lake ecosystems.

Salmon SEEson - salmon viewing
Look up locations to view the fall migration of salmon returning to native streams in the greater Lake Washington Watershed and Central Puget Sound drainages.

Cedar River public boating and fishing access
Find parks, ecological natural areas and boat ramps to access the river for swimming, fishing and boating. Includes lands managed by the City of Renton, King County and City of Seattle.

King County Natural Areas:

Look up individual properties protected in King County's open space system for their ecological and working resource values. The natural lands site provides addresses, pictures, location maps and rules for public use:

Cedar River trail
The Cedar River trail follows an old railroad right-of-way from downtown Renton to King County's Landsburg Park, alongside the scenic Cedar River. A branch of the trail connects with King County's Lake Wilderness Park and continues to Four Corners.

Known hazards on King County rivers
Reports of confirmed logjams and obstructions that pose a hazard to recreational river users, but does not include hazards that are not known.

Fishing regulations and seasons (external link)
Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife fishing rules for Washington State including Lake Washington, its tributaries and Cedar River.

Lands

Quality assurance project plan for regulatory effectiveness monitoring for developing rural areas
Framework to monitor and evaluate land use regulations to help ensure their effectiveness, using indicators for hydrology, water quality, biology, and stream complexity.

Noxious weed infestation map
Interactive map showing location of regulated noxious weed infestations.

2008 Cedar River Coordinated Knotweed Project Report (68 Kb Acrobat pdf)

Aerial Photograph of BellevueHistoric and recent aerial photographs
Aerial photos from the 1930's, 1970's and 1990's illustrating growth of Bellevue in the East Lake Washington basin and Fairwood in the Cedar River basin, among other areas in King County.

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Related information

Related agencies

News and announcements

Sign up for river hazard updates:

 

Salmon SEEson

Sep. 30, 2014
External article, Covington Reporter
Covington Drainage replacement receives King County Flood Control District grant

Sep. 16, 2014
King County seeks public’s help in curbing spread of invasive New Zealand mudsnails

Sep. 2, 2014
Help keep tabs on native salmon this fall as a King County Salmon Watcher Program volunteer
Free training sessions offered in Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, Woodinville

Jul. 15, 2014
Motorists: Fix leaks so you ‘Don’t Drip and Drive’
Puget Sound Starts Here offers coupon for free visual leak inspections, repair discount

Jul. 10, 2014
Executive Constantine supports comprehensive approach to improving water quality

Jul. 1, 2014
Enjoy (with care) King County’s lakes, rivers and Puget Sound this July 4th

Jun. 5, 2014
King County hosts June 23 meeting to discuss new bioretention swales in May Creek area

Flood reduction grants
Applications due by June 15, 2014

May 30, 2014
As weather heats up, King County urges caution around cold rivers, lakes, Sound

May 16, 2014
External column, Seattle Times
Protect water and health by updating state’s fish-consumption rate

May 20, 2014
King County hosting two meetings June 10 on placing large wood in river projects

Mar. 11, 2014
King County closes Flood Warning Center as rivers return to normal following heavy rain

Mar. 10, 2014
King County Flood Warning Center issues Phase II flood alert for Cedar River; Green at Phase III

Nov. 5, 2013
External, NW Public Radio
Snowpack, Sea Level, And Wildlife Main Climate Change Risks In The Northwest audio

Oct. 30, 2013
Third-annual ‘I love the Cedar River’ community meeting planned for Nov. 6

Oct. 21, 2013
Flood season is here – are you prepared?
Emergency responders from King and Pierce counties collaborate

FacebookKing County Rivers Facebook page (external link)

Oct. 11, 2013
Major project completed along Cedar River to restore habitat and reduce flood risk

Oct. 10, 2013
Tour King County’s Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, attend landfill neighbors’ community meeting

Salmon Seeson Salmon Seeson : spot the spawners in the Cedar River/Lake Washington watershed this fall!

Aug. 6, 2013
Danville-Georgetown Open Space forest thinning to improve overall landscape’s health

When in Doubt Stay Out: Protect your pooch from harmful algal blooms video (external)

Jul. 25, 2013
King County purchases mobile home park along flood-prone Cedar River
County to provide relocation benefits and assistance to tenants

» Archived news and announcements