Kristoferson Creek Fish Passage Barrier Improvements Process
Small coastal streams, such as Kristoferson Creek on the east side of Camano Island, provide critical habitat for several species of salmon (including threatened Chinook salmon) and trout. Some young Chinook salmon from the Skagit, Stillaguamish and Snohomish watersheds leave their natal streams in winter and spend several months in small, often-seasonal, coastal streams, including Kristoferson Creek and Triangle Cove, a pocket estuary. There they grow larger before migrating to the Pacific Ocean.
The habitat found in Kristoferson Creek is especially critical for these juvenile Chinook because the estuaries of their natal watersheds are heavily degraded. Unfortunately, two culvert groupings at the mouth of Kristoferson Creek, and about 500 feet upstream of the mouth, partially block young Chinook salmon, steelhead, Chum and coho salmon from accessing the creek. The lower crossing at the mouth presents a nearly complete barrier except during high water flows; and at both crossings the water flow through the culverts is too fast for migrating salmon.
The Snohomish Conservation District will partner with Island County Public Works, which owns these crossings, to replace these blocking culverts with fish-passable culverts. By correcting these barriers, this project will improve passage for juvenile Chinook and steelhead as well as for other fish and opens 1.6 miles of habitat. It complements previous work by a private landowner who fixed two barriers on the creek years ago. Snohomish Conservation District is currently permitting and completing final designs for the project and plans to construct in summer 2017.
All are photos of the Kristoferson Creek culverts at Barnum Road, one of the two sets of culverts that will be replaced (the other set is at Russell Road). The culverts at Barnum Road are at the mouth of Kristoferson Creek and the first partial barriers to fish coming from and going to Triangle Cove.