Middle Pilchuck Restoration Project

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Project Overview

The Middle Pilchuck Restoration Project is a multi-benefit project that seeks to address a lack of habitat for juvenile salmon within the Pilchuck River and also reduce local flood risks.  The majority of the project is contained within a parcel owned by Snohomish County. During the spring of 2022, County staff will work with adjacent landowners to review project details, address concerns, and to build support for the project.

Project Objectives

The information collected during the Middle Pilchuck River Assessment (conducted by the County in 2010-2011) indicated that the following actions will benefit landowners, fish and wildlife:


  • Restore flow to side channels – to provide more space for flood waters, reduce the river’s impact on failing banks, and provide refuge for young salmon during winter flooding, winter, spring and summer rearing and outmigration, and during high summer water temperatures.
  • Plant vegetation along the river – to slow erosion, maintain cooler water temperatures, and provide protective cover and shade for fish.
  • Add large wood to the river – to reduce erosion in vulnerable areas, and to create pools and cover for fish.

Project Description

This project proposes to add large woody debris in the mainstem Pilchuck River, enhance river complexity, such as bank edge habitat and pools, increase connectivity to the floodplain and side channels, and reestablish native riparian forest.  In addition, with the addition of instream wood, river flow velocities will be reduced and therefore potentially reduce erosion. 


Project elements include:

  • Increasing connectivity to the floodplain via reconnection of historic side channels
  • Creating off-channel habitat
  • Installing large woody debris structures
  • Enhancing stream complexity via pool addition and increasing bank edge habitat
  • Re-establishing native riparian forest

The project is currently at the 90% design level, and permits applications are planned to be submitted in the spring and summer of 2022.