Meadowdale Beach Park and Estuary Restoration Project (2023)

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Watch the story of this important project here. Completed in 2023.

The award-winning Meadowdale Beach Park and Estuary Restoration Project was initiated by Snohomish County Parks and has been a successful partnership with Snohomish County Surface Water Management (SWM), BNSF Railway, Tulalip Tribes, state and federal agencies, and the local community. This project is regionally significant for its role in salmon recovery and Puget Sound shoreline restoration while making significant improvements to the park. Construction took place 2020-2023.

This is the first Puget Sound shoreline restoration project that included enlarging a stream crossing under railroad tracks along the shoreline. The installation of a wide railroad bridge to replace the undersized culverts was critical to Snohomish County achieving its vision to convert park lawn areas into high-functioning estuarine habitat to benefit salmon. SWM and many partners have conducted habitat monitoring at Meadowdale Beach for many years and will continue to monitor the effectiveness of this project. 

This project entailed removing 128-linear feet of railroad embankment (shoreline armoring) along with the 6-foot wide culvert and installing a 5-span railroad bridge with a 100-foot opening to address ADA accessibility, beach access, fish passage, flooding, sediment delivery and maintenance issues associated with the undersized culvert. This project restored a historic (pre-railroad) 1.3-acre estuary that provides essential rearing habitat for ESA-listed Chinook (threatened), Chum, and Coho salmon as well as Cutthroat trout; and restored nearshore processes key to Puget Sound recovery. Additional habitat and stream enhancements occurred upstream of the estuary and a second footbridge was installed to provide viewing platform of fish migration. Recreation components include a foot-wash, and picnic/bench viewpoints of the beach, estuary and Lund’s Gulch Creek. The portable restroom enclosure was relocated out of the floodway and the ADA-parking was brought up to current standards.

The project was awarded both the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA)’s “Innovation in Conservation Award” and the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC)’s “Vision 2050 Award” for the extensive restoration project. A ribbon cutting and public celebration were held October 6 and 7, 2023.

The Meadowdale Beach Park & Estuary Restoration Project is funded in part by the Federal Rail Administration, NOAA Fisheries, Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, Puget Sound Acquisition & Restoration, State Salmon Recovery Grants, and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

See the whole project process with before and after photos on the Surface Water Management GIS Story Map here!


Total construction cost: $16,752,420.

  • Total grants received: $6,704,078
    • Washington Wildlife Recreation Program (WWRP) - Water Access Grant - $604,078
    • Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) Grant - $500,000
    • Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) Grant - $800,000
    • Estuary Salmon and Restoration Program Grant - $1,000,000
    • Federal Rail Administration Consolidated Rail Infrastructure Safety Improvement (FRA/CRISI) Grant - $3,500,000
    • National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Grant - $300,000
    • County (Parks and Recreation (REET)/Surface Water Management/Councilmatic Bonds) - $8.046M