Crescent Harbor Creek is a small stream located on Whidbey Island just north of Crescent Harbor, on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI). The stream drains into the northwestern edge of the Crescent Harbor Salt Marsh, a 206-acre tidal channel wetland that was the site of a large SRFB- and ESRP-funded restoration project that was completed in 2009. Monitoring of the restoration project has included the lower 1,200 LF of Crescent Harbor Creek, documenting usage of stream channel habitat by juvenile Chinook and coho salmon, as well as by other native fish species.
The stream channel in this reach has been diked and diverted from its historic alignment into an incised ditch, reducing channel length and increasing flow velocity. The deeply incised ditched channel is much lower in elevation than the historic channel thalweg, and groundwater monitoring wells on the site have indicated that the diked stream is altering the hydrology of adjacent forested and scrub-shrub wetlands.
Lower Crescent Harbor Creek was the subject of a restoration feasibility study conducted by consultants to the Navy for the purpose of mitigating for wetland impacts from a nearby runway expansion (EDAW et al. 2008). Though the use of the site for mitigation purposes is no longer required, the feasibility study represents a detailed basis for developing a final project design. SRFB funds have been secured to refine the conceptual design proposed by EDAW et al. into a preliminary restoration design that will restore the historic floodplain alignment, reduce stream velocity to increase fish access and improve water quality, and restore native wetland hydrology in lower Crescent Harbor Creek. Targeted community outreach to landowners in the upper watershed will be implemented to explore opportunities for further restoration in the upper watershed.
Preliminary restoration design for Crescent Harbor Creek is underway. A design report, preliminary design drawings, construction quantities and sequencing. Once a design has been developed, permits will be secured to allow construction of the project.
Primary Project Contact
Eric Mickelson –Restoration Ecologist
Department of Defense – US Navy
SRFB – Salmon Recovery Funding Board
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island – US Navy