The project also improved public access to Meadowdale Beach. A new park shelter and footbridge were built as well. (Jordan Hansen / The Herald)

The project also improved public access to Meadowdale Beach. A new park shelter and footbridge were built as well. (Jordan Hansen / The Herald)

‘Poster child’ estuary preserved at Edmonds’ Meadowdale Beach Park

The $15.5 million project improved habitat for young salmon. Public access to the beach was also made easier.

EDMONDS — A 5-foot-wide culvert had previously been the only way water from Lund’s Gulch Creek at Meadowdale Beach Park could enter Puget Sound.

Now, the opening is 100 feet across.

That’s thanks to a $15.5 million project celebrated by federal, state and county officials Friday morning at the Edmonds park. It’ll preserve and protect what’s called a pocket estuary.

A 1.3 acre plot of land offering respite to traveling salmon is now protected. The project also opened up a beach to easy public use and added a bridge where an embankment had stood.

“This is like a poster child, we need to do dozens and dozens of these projects around Puget Sound,” U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell in an interview.

Federal money for the project totaled $3.5 million. In 2018, Cantwell wrote a letter in support of the project to federal rail authorities.

The project broke ground in 2021 and construction finished this year. The park is accessible to the public via a 1.25-mile hiking trail that begins on 156th Street SW. A separate gated entrance is also available for ADA access. To use that gate, fill out an online form on Snohomish County’s website.

In addition to the beach access, there is also a new park shelter and footbridge. A short path connects the ADA parking lot to the beach. A tall fence separates the park from the railroad.

Around 40 trains come through each day, county officials said. Two rolled by during the two-hour event.

Over 100 people — mostly children — mingled and played on the beach Friday morning.

“If you’re familiar with what this crossing was like for people before this project, it was not hospitable. It was many times impassable,” Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said in a speech. “I guess we can say it now: dangerous, in many ways. So our public really benefits from this.”

The 1.3-acre estuary protect and new bridge are pictured at Meadowdale Beach Park and Estuary in Edmonds. (Jordan Hansen / The Herald)

The 1.3-acre estuary protect and new bridge are pictured at Meadowdale Beach Park and Estuary in Edmonds. (Jordan Hansen / The Herald)

Burlington Northern Santa Fe owns the tracks. The company sent several representatives to the ribbon cutting, though they declined to comment.

The new bridge was built in 2022. About 10,000 yards of debris were removed from the site to create the opening for the stream and restored estuary.

The Tulalip Tribes set up a long-term monitoring camera to study and show the effects of the estuary restoration.

“Salmon have sustained us for generations and serve as a symbol of our history and our culture,” Tulalip Vice Chair Misty Napeahi said. “Through this project we honor our ancestors and work towards ensuring the survival and recovery of this iconic species.”

Snohomish County Council member and state Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, also called it a step toward upholding treaty obligations. Through several treaties, Washington is obligated to uphold tribal fishing rights and ensure there is an abundant salmon population.

In 2013, a federal court ruling requires Washington to replace all culverts hindering salmon passage by 2030.

“This is one step to make sure that we are doing our part, again, in partnership, hand-in-hand, with our tribes,” Peterson said. “We have ignored those treaty rights for decades.”

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046;; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The county canvassing board certifies election results at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
General election results stamped official by canvassing board

In Snohomish County, one hand recount will take place. Officials said ballot challenges were down this year.

The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Over $130M for affordable housing set to be approved by County Council

The five-year investment plan of the 0.1% sales tax aims to construct 550 new affordable units.

Two snowboarders head up the mountain in a lift chair on the opening day of ski season at Stevens Pass Ski Area on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, near Skykomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ski season delayed at Stevens Pass due to minimal snow

Resort originally planned to open Dec. 1. But staff are hopeful this week’s snow will allow guests to hit the slopes soon.

Siblings Qingyun, left, and Ruoyun Li, 12 and 13, respectively, are together on campus at Everett Community College on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The two are taking a full course load at the community college this semester. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Siblings, age 12 and 13, are youngest students at EvCC campus

Qingyun Li was 11 when he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. His sister, Ruoyun, was one point away.

Edmond’s newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

A speed camera facing west along 220th Street Southwest on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Traffic cameras, and tickets, come to Edmonds; Mukilteo could be next

New school zone cameras in Edmonds will begin operating in January. Mukilteo is considering enforcement cameras as well.

A person walks their dog along a flooded Old Snohomish Monroe Road on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Flood-resistant floors and sandbags are price of riverside life in Sultan

Flooding is a threat every year for 75,000 locals — and the long-term forecast suggests it’ll only get worse in the coming decades.

3 men charged in armed home invasion near Everett

Prosecutors allege the trio targeted other Asian American homes across Snohomish, Whatcom and King counties.

Team members prep for the upcoming ski season at Stevens Pass Resort in Skykomish, Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Any day now: All eyes on snow forecast at Stevens Pass

The ski area was a flurry of activity this week, as staff made sure a new lift and app were running smoothly.

Carjacking suspects tracked via GPS from Everett to Renton, then arrested

A King County resident reported two people stole their Mercedes at gunpoint. Hours later, its GPS tracker pinged in north Everett.

Man sentenced for racist threats to Edmonds animal control officer

Sean Wagner spewed slurs at an officer who seized his dogs. He was sentenced to jail for a hate crime.

A sign in front of the AquaSox front office references the upcoming Everett City Council vote on a sum of $1.1 million to give to outside contractors to help upgrade a new stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett AquaSox stadium upgrade gets $1.1M green light from city

City officials want to keep the team in Everett. But will they play in a new stadium downtown in 2027? Or an updated Funko Field?

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.