Fish Return to Padden Creek


Last week we stopped by Padden Creek in Bellingham, Washington, to see if fish are using newly built habitat features near where the creek crosses SR-11—and they are! Check out the video to see how root wads, logs and other large woody materials protect young-of-the-year salmonid species like kokanee and Coho salmon.

Across Washington State, narrow culverts and other barriers at stream crossings like Padden Creek/SR-11 have prevented salmon and other fish species from accessing miles of historical upstream spawning and rearing habitat. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is addressing this issue by building new fish-friendly stream crossings like this one.

GeoEngineers’ multidisciplinary fish passage team includes geotechnical engineers, environmental permitting specialists, biologists and hydrologists. In addition to geotechnical services for new culverts, our team designed a natural channel complete with root wads, logs, and riparian vegetation. These sustainable habitat features give young fish protection from predators and the heat of the sun. Keep an eye out for follow-ups on this exciting project as construction continues.

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