Thomas' Eddy Restoration Project

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Project Overview

The County’s work at Thomas’ Eddy proposes to reconnect the Snohomish River to the floodplain around Bob Heirman Wildlife Park, and improve or maintain opportunities for fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing while restoring critical habitat for wildlife and threatened salmon species. To ensure these goals are met, Snohomish County is soliciting early input on project design from the public and park users. 

Why is Restoration Needed? 

Bob Heirman Wildlife Park was acquired to provide sustainable fishing and recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat. With two lakes, wetlands, and an extensive river environment, the Park offers opportunities for people to boat, fish, bird watch, walk, and enjoy being outside. The Park’s open space is home to a variety of local wildlife and provides important habitat for migratory waterfowl including iconic trumpeter swans. 

Much of the Park’s riverbank is a deteriorating levee – a relic of the past when the property was privately owned. Today, the levee cuts the river off from its floodplain and constrains its ability to create and maintain fish and wildlife habitat. This site is identified in the Snohomish River Basin Salmon Conservation Plan as a priority for restoration. This is because restoring the river’s connection to its floodplain will enhance juvenile salmon rearing opportunities and contribute to sustainable recreation and fishable salmon runs in the Snohomish River.

This restoration project is an opportunity to protect recreation amenities and the Thomas’ Eddy fishing access that is important to Park users. If actions are not taken, it is likely that the Snohomish River will continue to erode the old levee which could have unintended consequence for both recreation and habitat. 

Project Description

Snohomish County is in the early stages of planning for a floodplain restoration project at Bob Heirman Wildlife Park. The County received a $200,000 salmon recovery grant from the Washington state Salmon Recovery Funding Board for this project. The new Snohomish County Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Surface Water Management and Parks Divisions are working in collaboration with several community stakeholders, agencies, and Tribes to develop a project design that maintains or improves access to fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing while restoring critical habitat for wildlife and threatened salmon species.

The County has hired a consultant team led by Cardno to design restoration plans that build on input from stakeholders.

Thomas' Eddy_Project Outreach Timeline

Public Engagement Timeline

Snohomish County and the consultant team will meet with local stakeholders in spring 2021 to gather input on the restoration project design. After this initial engagement period, the County and its consultants will develop initial design alternatives that will be made available for public review and comment through meetings with stakeholders and a public comment period later in the year.

Opportunities to Get Involved

Stay tuned for public meeting announcements and information on the public comment period. 

About the Snohomish River Floodplain

Rivers move and change size over time. The space that a river occupies during high flows is called the floodplain. Historically, the Snohomish River had a bigger floodplain than we see today. That floodplain was cut off from the river by levees, allowing the land behind the levees to be dry year-round. When levees are removed, partially removed, or rebuilt further back from the river, the river can move over that part of the floodplain again. This can provide many benefits to people and wildlife, including cleaner water, recreation opportunities, places for wild animals to live, healthier soils, flood safety, and more. One potential benefit of restoration at Thomas’ Eddy is the possibility to create calmer river spaces for salmon eggs to grow and for juvenile salmon to rest and hide from predators.