Ballinger Park Hall Creek Restoration

Project Overview

Hall Creek runs from just north of the city to the 55-acre Ballinger Park, draining into Lake Ballinger. Ballinger Park has been allowed to return to a more natural condition starting in 2012, after the old golf course was decommissioned.  The city’s future vision for the park is encapsulated in the Ballinger Park Master Plan, approved by the City Council in 2015.   

The plan includes a substantial ecological restoration component for the portion of Hall Creek that runs through Ballinger Park, together with the park ponds and wetland areas.  The environmental restoration portion of the plan was estimated in 2015 to cost $5 million.  In order to fulfill this component of the Ballinger Park Master Plan in a cost-effective manner, the city approached the Corps of Engineers as a project partner under the Section 206 Continuing Authorities Program.  In the summer of 2018, the Corps determined that the project met federal interests by improving the quality of the environment and having a positive impact on significant ecosystem resources.  A project team consisting of Corps and city staff was brought together to develop a scope of work and costs for the feasibility phase of the project.

The proposed project’s goal is to address current constraints on ecological health in Ballinger Park, including increased channelization of Hall Creek and loss of latitudinal connectivity between the creek and its floodplain. There is a lack of side channels for velocity refuge and rearing of coho salmon and other stream biota.  Invasive plant species are dominant around the streams and wetland areas. The project would create habitat in an already urbanized and rapidly-developing urban area, particularly for species of concern such as amphibians, and would also provide significant habitat for migrating birds.  Watershed-level objectives for habitat improvement would also be met through the project.  

Alternative plan development and evaluation is required to determine the most optimal channel, wetland, and riparian restoration measures to improve habitat conditions.  The chosen alternative will likely include:

  • Increased Hall Creek channel meandering
  • In-stream habitat improvements, including large woody debris placement
  • Removal of non-native riparian vegetation and revegetation with native species along Hall Creek and in the wetland area
  • Restoration of wetland buffer habitat on ponds adjacent to the creek
  • Physical exclusion measures for park visitors in certain areas to protect wetland and stream ecological function

Project Timeline and Costs

Feasibility: 2019-2020

  • Survey work, Wetland Delineations, and Geotechnical Borings have been completed as of November 2019.
  • 35% Design Meetings with Staff January & February 2020.

Design/engineering: 2020-2021

Construction: 2021-2022

Total estimated cost: $4.2-$6.2 million

Total Mountlake Terrace estimated cost: $1.565-$2.265 million

Existing Hall Creek

hall creek

Hall Creek Approved Plan

Hall Creek Preferred Alternative

Public Notice Date:  April 24, 2020

Subject:  Notice of Availability for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment for a proposed restoration project at Ballinger Park in Mountlake Terrace, WA.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District has posted the above referenced Feasibility Report and Draft Environmental Assessment for your review and comment at: https://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/Environmental-Documents/

Any comments may be e-mailed to Mr. Michael Scuderi, Environmental Coordinator, at michael.r.scuderi@usace.army.mil.

Comments must be received by:  May 26, 2020

PROJECT DETAILS

This integrated feasibility report and environmental assessment (FR/EA) presents the results of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) feasibility study to identify and evaluate alternatives to restore degraded wetland, riparian and riverine ecosystems in Ballinger Park, Mountlake Terrace, Washington. The Corps is undertaking this effort in partnership with the City of Mountlake Terrace, WA, the non-Federal sponsor (Sponsor). The study is being conducted under the authority of Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996.

Ballinger Park is located in the City of Mountlake Terrace, Washington, approximately 14 miles north of downtown Seattle. The specific area of focus for this study is Hall Creek and associated wetlands and floodplain within Ballinger Park, in the Lake Ballinger/McAleer Creek Watershed.

This feasibility study focuses on addressing degraded floodplain connectivity and degraded wetland and channel habitat for species of concern, including fish, amphibians and migrating birds. The proposed project would restore wetland functions and riparian habitat, and would improve Essential Fish Habitat for coho and Chinook salmon, as designated by the National Marine Fisheries Services in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

The proposed project would be consistent with the Sponsor’s Ballinger Park Master Plan and the Lake Ballinger/McAleer Creek Watershed Forum’s strategic action plan for flood reduction, and water quality, and habitat improvement in the watershed. The Lake Ballinger/McAleer Creek Watershed Forum is comprised of Snohomish County and the cities of Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, Lake Forest Park, Lynnwood, and Shoreline.

The Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) is Alternative 5, Upper & Lower Channel Work with Pond Enhancement. This alternative would include wetland, stream channel and riparian zone restoration, benefiting fish and wildlife over approximately 14 acres in and around Hall Creek and in Lake Ballinger. Based on October 2020 price levels, the estimated cost of the TSP is $5,423,000.

Note:  Costs for this project will be shared between the Army Corps of Engineers (65%) and the City of Mountlake Terrace (35%).