Sunday, August 02, 2015

Lund's Gulch

Meadowdale is one of the several small parks that sit on stream mouths along the railroad between Seattle and Everett. I like to call this stretch the Great Northern Beach, after the railroad that shaped this coastline for so much of the 20th century and which continues today as the BNSF.

Spits are common at the mouths of coastal streams and the one here has been growing the last few years, extending north and then pushing the stream outlet into a narrow channel. These spits tend to grow for a few years, get cut off by the erosion associated with a big stream flood or a big coastal storm, and then do it all over again.


The creek that flows through Lund's Gulch is one of thousands of small streams that empty into Puget Sound. Very few remain in their natural condition and even in remote parts of the Sound we find that their lower sections have been rechanneled, their estuaries filled, and their mouths funneled through culverts beneath roads and railroads.

This stream drains a small watershed surrounded by dense residential development. The valley itself seems to be in pretty good shape, but generates a lot of sediment, all of which must find its way to the mouth. Unfortunately, the stream's last leg is through a small concrete box culvert that must pass high flows, sediment, fish, and pedestrians - and it can't do these all at the same time.

There is no simple way to enlarge the opening beneath the rails. This problem is shared with many other stream mouths around the Sound and I've always wished their was some strategic approach that could be applied to a suite of these sites - an approach that would fix the stream mouths, improve conditions for fish, and also help improve safe public access to the beach along this dense urban corridor.

Some other stream mouths along the Great Northern Beach:
Carkeek Park (2009)
Boeing Creek (2013)
Picnic Point (2007)
Merrill and Ring (2009)
Howarth Park (2011)

And elsewhere:
Sequalitchew Creek (2010) (on another section of the railroad)
Nellita Creek (2010, 2011)
Seahurst (2009)
Glendale (2009)
Eglon (2007)

Brand new sand bar right at the stream mouth

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