MARYSVILLE — It doesn’t always look like much, but Allen Creek is a major tributary to the lower Snohomish River.
The creek runs through Jennings Park and drains much of eastern Marysville. It’s home to coho, chum, chinook and bull trout.
But it could become healthier in the years ahead.
For decades, Allen Creek has been degraded by agriculture, urbanization and stormwater, said Carson Moscoso, an ecologist with the Snohomish Conservation District.
Grants from the state Department of Ecology are helping with restoration efforts for 17 acres of the park along the creek.
Reed canary grass, an invasive plant, has reduced shade on the creek, Moscoso said. That makes the water hotter and less hospitable to fish.
Over the next three years, crews with the Washington Conservation Corps, an AmeriCorps program, will be planting native shrubs and some 22,500 native trees to crowd out the invasive grass. The first phase of that began earlier this month.
The plantings should benefit salmon and other aquatic life, as well as birds and mammals, he said.
There will be opportunities for public involvement at the site. For example, an Earth Day work party is planned. School field trips also are likely, as well as a workshop for rural landowners with septic systems.
The state grants were for $321,128. That will cover about three-quarters of the project, with the rest coming from the district and other partners. Another five acres in that area are ripe for restoration, but that step is awaiting funding.