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Kelsey Creek Restoration & Fish Exclusion

Wild Fish Conservancy partners with the City of Bellevue for Kelsey Creek restoration project.

During summer 2013 the City of Bellevue undertook a project to improve fish passage and fish habitat within approximately 3,000 feet of Kelsey Creek where it flows through the Glendale Country Club.  The 17 square mile watershed is largely developed and is considered to have reached ‘built out’ conditions, with predominately single and multi-family residences.  The City considers Kelsey Creek the most important stream in Bellevue for salmon, which access the creek from Lake Washington via Mercer Slough. In addition to improving fish passage at a number of dysfunctional channel-spanning weirs, the project included placing large woody debris, bank stabilization, invasive plant removal, and riparian plantings to benefit fish habitat.

The Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife requires that fish are excluded from areas of instream construction area so they are not harmed.  Wild Fish Conservancy performed the fish exclusion at the Kelsey Creek project, installing block nets and using a backpack electrofisher to stun, capture, and safely relocate fish within the project reach.  Once captured, fish were transported in buckets to adjacent stream reaches that were not impacted by construction.  During construction, several of the project reaches were de-watered using pumps that bypass streamflow around the several-hundred foot long project reaches – in these locations WFC was able to perform a complete population census of the fish life in Kelsey Creek.  In addition to allowing us to assist with the improvement of fish habitat, fish exclusion projects allow WFC to collect important information about fish species composition, distribution, and density in watersheds throughout the region.

Over several weeks WFC staff captured and relocated over 7,600 fish in Kelsey Creek.  By a wide margin, the most abundant species was coastal cutthroat trout – 5900 were captured and moved to safety.  The impressive density of coastal cutthroat trout was approximately 2.8 per square meter.  In addition to fish, WFC captured and relocated 670 crayfish.

Kelsey Creek Defish

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