In 1989, citizen advocacy began to draw attention and resources to the creek. At-risk teens provided the initial labor, then city, county, state, conservation district, and national grants funded EarthCorps, an international conservation training program, to take on major projects. The combined efforts of funders, consultants, volunteers, and property owners have enabled complete restoration of the creek channel and significant restoration of native vegetation in the creek corridor.
In 1998, the city replaced the failing culvert under Fauntleroy Way S.W. with a fishway that opened spawning habitat as far upstream as far as 45th Ave. S.W. Four underground pools, a 200-foot culvert, and an 8-pool fish ladder enable coho to make the 7-foot climb from the beach. A public viewpoint and circular plaza above the ladder feature Tom Jay's "Stream Echo," funded by the city's 1% for Art program.
Barriers upstream of 45th Ave. S.W. limit spawners to the lower creek. Juvenile coho - both those released in the upper creek and those hatched from natural spawning - take advantage of the entire system, however, for their year-long stay in freshwater. Volunteer monitoring provides data on smolts leaving the creek and on spawners entering it. Ongoing student sampling documents the abundance and diversity of the aquatic insects that are critical food for small fish and important indicators of water quality.
In the early 1990s, teacher interest prompted local development of an education program that has since welcomed hundreds of students every year to the creek and park. Most come in May to release coho fry. Students also conduct research and focused explorations keyed to learning objectives. Periodic guided nature walks open the wonders of this natural classroom to area adults and families.
About the Fauntleroy Creek System