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McSorley Creek Shoreline and Estuary Restoration Project

McSorley Creek Shoreline and Estuary Restoration Project

Central Puget Sound Watershed

Mouth of McSorley Creek
Mouth of McSorley Creek.

King County, in collaboration with Washington State Parks, is entering the final design and permitting stage of a stream and shoreline restoration project at Saltwater State Park. Much of the shoreline and the mouth of McSorley Creek, which flows through the park, is currently armored with angular rock. This project will examine removing the rock bulkhead along the shoreline and the rock at the creek’s mouth to restore natural beach processes, make the creek more accessible for fish and the beach more accessible to people. The project will also improve park features and recreational amenities. 

Why are we doing this project?

Removing the bulkhead and the armoring at the creek’s mouth will help bring back natural processes that create juvenile Chinook salmon habitat and improve nearshore baitfish spawning. The WRIA 9 Salmon Habitat plan identifies McSorley Creek as a high priority project for restoration of natural beach feeding (sediment) processes. Additionally, recent high tides have flooded the Saltwater Café, and the café is at risk of flooding more frequently in the future. Designing a project that addresses these issues provides a great opportunity to enhance the recreational amenities at the same time.

Fact sheet: McSorley Creek Pocket Estuary and Feeder Bluff Restoration

Current status

The project continues to move forward. After finishing preliminary design on the restoration elements of the project at the end of 2016, 2017 was spent working on a conceptual design for the upland, or recreation, elements of the park. Preliminary (30%) design for the upland portion of the project began in 2018. Preliminary design continued and concluded in 2019. We plan to have a Request for Proposals out for final design in mid-2021.

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Your input

On November 2, 2017, we met with Friends of Saltwater State Park to get their feedback on the conceptual layout of the lower park area. 

We held a public meeting on March 23rd, 2016, to introduce the proposed project and receive input. State Parks staff, the consultant team, and County staff were on hand to present the information and answer questions. The PowerPoint presentation from the public meeting may be viewed here.

Additionally, in July 2015, we conducted an online survey and received 145 responses. Those responses helped shape the evaluation criteria used to determine restoration and enhancement options for the project.

Project location

Saltwater State Park is located along Puget Sound within the City of Des Moines.

Saltwater State Park Location Map
Location of Saltwater State Park.

Project partners

King County is partnering with Washington State Parks in a project supported by WRIA 9 and funded through grants from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, King County Flood Control District Cooperative Watershed Management and Flood Reduction Grant Programs, and King Conservation District.

WRIA 9 KCDlogo

Project documents

Project-related documents are posted here as they are completed.

For more information about the McSorley Creek Shoreline and Estuary Restoration Project, please contact Jo Wilhelm, Project Manager, King County Ecological Restoration and Engineering Services Unit.