In its present-day configuration, Norwegian Pt. County Park is effectively a parking area in an otherwise vacant lot that floods during the winter. A 300-foot-long concrete culvert carries Finn Creek under the parking area and dumps it unceremoniously onto the beach, blocking fish from accessing the one square mile watershed upstream; sections of the culvert are now failing and breaking apart. Upstream from the culvert, the stream is ditched and straightened along Hansville Rd. for another 900 feet.
Historically, Finn Creek flowed through the site in a complex mosaic of wetlands and tidally-influenced salt marsh providing a critical nursery for baby salmon and other fishes, and important habitat for migratory waterfowl. When Kitsap County was awarded a state grant in 2004 to purchase the park property, the County promised to restore the stream and wetlands on the site in order to enhance their habitat value. Now, a diverse partnership of habitat restoration professionals is working with Kitsap County Parks to fulfil that commitment and make Norwegian Point County Park a more accessible and usable amenity to the greater Hansville community.
Soon after the park was purchased, the Finland Creek Watershed Team, a committed group of local conservationists, collected baseline data and developed habitat restoration concepts for the County to consider. Building on that effort between 2017 and 2019, Wild Fish Conservancy worked with Kitsap County Parks and a team of consultants to characterize existing conditions and more formally evaluate habitat restoration alternatives at the Park. Importantly, the team modeled existing and predicted flooding at the site to ensure restoration actions wouldn’t exacerbate floods and impact the park’s neighbors or the town of Hansville. The effort resulted in a Preliminary Design Report describing the analyses undertaken, the alternatives considered, and a recommended alternative for moving forward with a project to meet the project objectives: to restore the natural processes in lower Finn Creek that create and sustain habitats used by wild fish populations, while meeting County (landowner) flood and park amenity objectives.
In 2022, with support from the state’s Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, Wild Fish Conservancy is seeking input from the greater Hansville community and finalizing the project designs and permits. We look forward to addressing questions from the public about the project during a February 2022 online meeting. In the meantime, we encourage those interested in the project to review the Preliminary Design Report, to contact the project manager with questions, and to ‘save the date’ for the upcoming online public meeting.
Finn Creek, a tributary to Puget Sound, North Kitsap Peninsula
1. Design a project to restore the natural processes in lower Finn Creek that create and sustain habitats used by wild fish populations, while meeting County (landowner) and community flood objectives. These natural processes include fish passage; sediment sorting, scour, delivery, and longshore drift; riparian shading, filtering, and bank stability; and large wood recruitment.
2. Provide a demonstration project in Norwegian Point County Park to inform the public about the importance of protecting and restoring watersheds in a wild salmon recovery context.
This Project’s design elements include:
– Remove a full barrier culvert and tide gate at the mouth of Finn Creek, and a partial barrier culvert 500 feet upstream.
– Restore tidal inundation and saltmarsh habitats at the stream mouth within the park
– Naturalize the ditched reach through Norwegian Point County Park by adding sinuosity, large woody debris, and a native riparian corridor
– Incorporate interpretive signs within the Norwegian Point County Park to explain what was done, and why.
Primary Habitats Impacted By Project:
Managing Agency/ Organization:
Nearshore, Estuarine, Stream habitats
Wild Fish Conservancy
Budget or Project Cost:
Salmon Recovery Funding Board; Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund
Kitsap County, Blue Coast Engineering, Aspect Consulting, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, Cultural Resources Consultants