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Mouth of McSorley Creek
Mouth of McSorley Creek

King County, in collaboration with Washington State Parks, is currently in the "preliminary design" planning stage of a stream and shoreline restoration project at Saltwater State Park. The mouth of McSorley Creek, which flows through the park, is currently bulkheaded with rip-rap. This project will examine removing the rip-rap at the creek’s mouth to make the creek more accessible for fish and the beach more accessible to people. The project may also include shoreline restoration, such as removing the bulkhead along part of the shoreline, while improving recreational amenities.  

Why are we doing this project?

Removing the bulkhead at the creek’s mouth and restoring some of its ability to flow naturally 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.

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 has been spent working on a conceptual design for the upland, or recreation, elements of the park. Preliminary design for the upland portion of the project will occur in 2018. By 2019 we hope to move into final design.

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, Cooperative Watershed Management, and King Conservation District.

Project documents

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

For more information about the Saltwater State Park Restoration Project, please contact Jennifer Vanderhoof, senior ecologist, King County Watershed and Ecological Assessment Team.