Newaukum Creek flows 14 miles southwest from the Cascade foothills northeast of Enumclaw, dropping nearly 3,000 feet to its confluence with the Green River. The Newaukum Creek Watershed drains about 27 square miles. One of the two largest tributaries to the Green River, the creek is included in King County Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 9.
Newaukum Creek is designated as “a critical spawning area” for several important fish species, including Puget Sound Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink, Sockeye, Steelhead/Rainbow, and Cutthroat Trout.
The Newaukum Creek sub-basin is one of two in the Green River system that is a target for temperature and dissolved oxygen violations under the Clean Water Act. Portions of the stream are unhealthy for fish and its riparian zone is degraded, with a lack of shade, overhanging cover, and instream wood. Stream temperatures, fecal coliform levels, and dissolved oxygen levels routinely exceed Washington State standards for salmon spawning, incubation, and juvenile rearing.
The King Conservation District is participating in a program to assist landowners along Newaukum Creek to improve water quality and fish habitat by protecting the riparian buffer area along the stream. Funding is available through the King County Dept of Natural Resources & Parks to compensate landowners for preserving their streamside property either through ownership transfer or a conservation easement for the buffer area. For details on the program click Here
The Newaukum Creek Precision Conservation Project is an innovative multi-year project led by American Farmland Trust and King Conservation District. The goal of the project is to improve water quality by reducing stream temperature and the amount of nutrients and fecal coliform in the stream to create a healthier environment for salmon.
The project is a new approach to voluntary conservation. Rather than spreading resources and cost-share money across a large area, the project will concentrate money and effort in a specific threatened watershed to more efficiently achieve a greater improvement to water quality, there-by making more effective use of limited funding.
The program will provide significant cost-share/financial assistance to landowners and farmers in the Newaukum Creek watershed wanting to implement conservation and agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs). This can range from funding for streamside plantings to improve habitat, to projects that help better manage manure and nutrients on a farm.
The Newaukum Creek Precision Conservation project brings together the support of numerous partners, including Washington State Conservation Commission, Department of Ecology, Natural Resource Conservation Service, King Conservation District, National Fish and Wildlife, and King County WRIA 9.
To learn about how you can participate in the in this new program, contact Liz Clark, KCD Resource Planner, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the American Farmland Trust’s website to learn more about Restoring the Newaukum Creek Watershed