West Beach Creek Fish Passage Barrier Removal

  • Beach and Nearshore Restoration

The Northwest Straits Foundation recently completed a project to remove a fish passage barrier located at the mouth of West Beach Creek in partnership with a private property owner. The goal of the project is to restore habitat for use by juvenile and adult cutthroat and juvenile Chinook, chum, pink, and Coho salmon and to create potential spawning opportunities for chum and pink salmon.

West Beach Creek is one of the few streams in the San Juan Island without a natural barrier, and so it was historically accessible to sea-going fish. The fish passage barrier we removed was formed by a combination driveway embankment and dam on private property which created a pond on the upstream side. Two 24-inch culverts located high up on the driveway prism, blocked fish access, limited flow, and created a build-up of sediment in the creek up to the culvert at West Beach Road.

The project removed the culverts and dam, replacing them with a 16-foot diameter culvert. The new passage allows fish to pass upstream and downstream, and accommodates high tides and future sea level rise. The creek’s natural water and sediment flow processes have been restored.

Northwest Straits Foundation received funding for the feasibility, design, and construction of the project from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fish Passage Program, and Alcoa Foundation. In-kind and volunteer support for native planting has been provided by Washington DNR/Puget Sound Corps and Friends of the San Juans.

Click here for the West Beach Creek Restoration project fact sheet.