Stream Habitat Assessment

Header Image
Great blue heron eating a fish

The city’s Storm and Surface Water Plan calls for an assessment of the condition of Bellevue's streams. The city will use stream habitat surveys to collect data that will help inform stream protection and restoration planning by identifying data and information gaps, identifying restoration opportunities, and developing criteria for prioritizing streams and objectives throughout the city. Ultimately this will help form a strategic pathway to achieve the city’s vision for healthy streams.

Stream Habitat Assessment

This project relies on partnerships with streamside property owners who give permission to cross private property for data collection purposes. Stream habitat surveys are currently underway throughout the Coal and Lewis creek basins.

Frequently asked questions

An experienced team of two to three Bellevue staff will walk the entire length of each stream from its mouth to its headwaters gathering physical and biological data.

Data will include stream characteristics such as habitat type, length, width, depth, substrate type, and presence of large woody debris and fish. The purpose of these surveys is to assess the health of our stream basins as a whole, they are not focused on individual properties.

Stream habitat surveys will occur along an estimated 80-miles of Bellevue’s open stream channels. Work has already been done in Vasa Creek and the West Tributary (in the Kelsey Creek basin). Stream habitat surveys are currently underway throughout the greater Coal and Lewis Creek basins.

Surveys will take place when stream conditions and flow allow. Larger creeks such as Coal, Lewis and Kelsey will be surveyed during summer/early fall, when stream flows are safe for wading. Tributaries and smaller creeks like Yarrow, Sears, and Valley may be surveyed year-round, if they have streamflow. Surveys will likely be ongoing through early 2021.

The Open Streams Condition Assessment is one of Bellevue’s five strategic initiatives, combined with the Primary Stormwater Infrastructure, Property Management, Improving Water Quality and Citywide Watershed Management Plan Initiative, that together will inform future management in a holistic citywide approach to managing storm and surface water.

Bellevue staff will walk in the upstream direction to collect habitat data. Measurements will be collected using a hip chain, stadia rod (depth stick) or laser range finder. Photos of stream conditions will also be taken. To ensure safe upstream passage by Bellevue staff, some streamside vegetation may need to be trimmed slightly with hand tools.