333 S. Meridian, Puyallup, WA 98371 - 253-841-4321

City of Puyallup

Current Restoration Efforts On Clarks Creek

One group can make an impact - several groups can make a bigger impact. Read through the articles below to learn about current efforts focused on the restoration efforts in and around Clarks Creek.

DeCoursey Pond Bio-Enhancement Project

WSU-Puyallup has been researching potential methods to help clean-out DeCoursey Pond. Through these Ecology grant-funded efforts, they have devised an approach and a filtration method that is expected to enhance the water quality flowing out of the pond, into Clarks Creek. The diagram to the right shows how the filtration station will filter pollutants from the water. If you head out to DeCoursey after July 2012, you can see this in-place at the outflow of the pond, on the north side of the park. Questions about this project? Contact the Project Manager: Laurie Larson at WSU-Puyallup.

Clarks Creek Elodea Pilot

Read about the 2011/2012 pilot project that utilized hand-pulling methods to remove overgrown elodea in a pilot section of the creek. The project goal was to analyze the effective removal rate of the elodea which, if left un-managed, can impact properties along the creek, causing localized flooding to shoreline area to these properties within the City and Pierce County. This pilot project effort provided information that supporting the Clarks Creek Task Force decision to move forward with a diver-assisted suction harvesting (DASH) removal method for the 2013 in-stream work.

Meeker Creek Restoration Project

Addressing deficiencies in contributing waters to Clarks Creek has been identified as an approach to improving the waters in Clarks Creek. Meeker Creek, which empties into Clarks Creek near 10th Ave SW, is a natural stream that has been confined to a trapezoidal ditch over decades on land development. The Meeker Creek Stream and Riparian Restoration project will return that last 1000 feet of the creek to a natural, meandering stream channel that will create an environment for increased dissolved oxygen in the water, allow for sediment drop-out (supporting a reduction of sediment loading to Clarks Creek), improve fish spawning habitat, and allow for riparian shading and cover. Read more about this upcoming project for more details.

Clarks Creek Targeted Outfall Retrofit

Clarks Creek has several stormwater outfalls that lead to it - these outfalls are the end of the several thousand feet of stormwater pipe under the ground that connect the storm ditches and catch basins throughout the city in Clarks Creek basin. The City was awarded a grant from the WA Department of Ecology in 2012 that provides funding to retrofit several of these outfalls with water quality devices to filter the water before it enters the creek. Read more about this project on our Projects page.

Clarks Creek Riparian Restoration and Porous Maintenance Road

Clarks Creek Park - located just south of 7th Ave SW, and west of Clarks Creek - is now stormwater friendly. This 100% grant-funded project replaced the impervious maintenance road that runs parallel to the creek, and replaced it with a porous road, allowing stormwater to filter into the ground instead of running off into the creek. In addition, the riparian area between the road and creek was planted with native trees and shrubs which will help shade the creek and provide additional runoff protection. Read more about this project on our Project page.

Porous Alley Initiative

In 2012 the City was awarded a WA Department of Ecology grant to replace several hundred linear feet of gravel alleys in the Clarks Creek basin with porous asphalt. These efforts will reduce the volume of stormwater directed to our stormwater system and Clarks Creek. In addition, it will reduce the pollutant load in our stormwater by allowing rain that falls on these alleys to be filtered directly into the ground on-site. Read more on our Project page about this, and other Stormwater Section-led projects in Puyallup..

Puyallup's Rain Garden Program

Rain gardens are shallow, depressed planting areas that are specially designed to incorporate a variety of plants and special soil mixture which captures stormwater runoff from adjacent hard surfaces and rooftops. Puyallup's Rain Garden Program has created dozens of demonstration sites around Puyallup since 2009. These demo sites provides educational and examples for businesses and residents of Puyallup to learn about rain gardens, permeable pavements, and rainwater harvesting.

15th Street Storm Project

The 15th Street Storm project will connect the main storm line in 15th Street SW to the Puyallup River, diverting it from its current connection with Meeker Creek. This project has been preliminarily designed and placed on the CIP list for future projects to be completed when funding is available.

WSU Research Efforts Monitors Clarks Creek

As part of the Sudden Oak Death Program at WSU-Puyallup Research & Extension Center, monitoring and analysis is included to allow for early detection of specific invasive species and organisms. This monitoring, while focused on a specific topic, is an example of how the various projects underway by the Clarks Creek Initiative group provide useful information, such as stream monitoring, for the group to share. Read more about this program on the WSU-Puyallup website.

Silver-Meeker Creek Restoration Efforts Continue

Building on 2010 grant-backed efforts to restore and plant riparian areas along Silver and Meeker Creeks, the City of Puyallup has since continued riparian restoration efforts throughout the Silver-Meeker creeks restoration project area. Continuing restoration activities include maintenance and expansion of the soft walking trails and riparian plantings. Read more about the Silver Creek restoration project.

Pierce County LID Grant: Building Gardens for the Rain

Pierce County has been awarded a 2011 Ecology stormwater grant that will be used in the Clarks Creek basin to retrofit numerous residential and road system impervious areas using a variety of treatment methods such as bio-filtration, bioretention, infiltration, filtration, hydrodynamic separation and rain gardens.  These efforts will be coordinated with the city of Puyallup.  Read more about the Pierce County-awarded stormwater grants.

Partnerships such as this display the great efforts that can be achieved through collaboration and coordination of resources. Clarks Creek, guided  by the collaborative Initiative group, is seeing the light of restoration! 

Initiative Team Kayak Trip Shows Root of Problems

On a brisk September afternoon where the light fog bank never quite lifted from the waters, the Clarks Creek Initiative team gathered a dozen kayaks, and launched into the waters of Clarks Creek. The 3-hour long trek began at the 12th Avenue bridge and ended near Stewart Avenue.  The expedition was designed for the team to gain a hands-on view of the creek, bordering properties, and aquatic life which are all contributing to the creek's current condition.  Take a look at the photographs from the trip on the web album.

This trek revealed to the Team Members a volume of concern just within that little stretch of the creek.  From dilapidated headwalls to submerged and deteriorating docks, there were far too few and in between proper riparian-planted shores.

To draw water off of the creek, a homeowner (or municipality) must first obtain a water right, issued by the Department of Ecology.  There were many set-ups of pumps and pipes found along the creek, questionably outnumbering the water rights currently issued on the creek.

The moral of the story for the group came to:  education.  Educating creek-side homeowners in the do's and don'ts of owning and properly maintaining creekside property is where the key lies.  Take a look at a Creekside Landscaping brochure distributed by the City to over 500 creekside homeowners in Fall 2010 for more information on the do's and don'ts of creekside-property care. 

 

Clarks Creek Project Team/DO TMDL

This team, comprised of members representing the EPA, WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center, the City of Puyallup, and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, came together to not develop not just ‘another’ TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load), but to focus on planning and implementation aspects of a plan to increase the DO in Clarks Creek, and not ‘just the numbers’. These efforts will create a plan with high hopes and chances of being implemented quickly, smoothly, and effectively.

The DO (dissolved oxygen) TMDL will address the reduced levels of DO that occur in the creek on an everyday as well as cyclic basis. Some factors that have been preliminarily identified as contributing to the depressed levels of DO in the creek include the large, overgrown amounts of elodea (discussion on elodea weed management). While the elodea ‘eats’ up large amounts of DO in the waters, the DO levels also increase during/after the annual cutting – pointing to a distinct relationship between the two.

Another potential contributing factor to the reduced DO levels is groundwater that enters the creek which may already hold low levels of DO. While elodea plays a significant role in the issue at hand, other overgrown vegetation, such as reed canary grass is also a possible contributing factor. The county, as well as the City of Puyallup is addressing this problem in upper reaches of the creek (Silver Creek Riparian Restoration).

For now, this group is continuing to evaluate project examples and analyses to determine which BMPs (Best Management Practices) will be most effective to implement in the creek and where. The TMDL development will continue, along with construction of implantable plans for ways to meet the new requirements that are to be set by this TMDL.