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City seeks input on proposed wetland design

The preferred alternative for a storm water wetland to be built west of SR 9 from the city’s water treatment plant features large trees with trails and viewing platforms. The wetland will extend treatment of old town’s surface water run off and provide additional filtering before the water returns to the river. - Courtesy photo
The preferred alternative for a storm water wetland to be built west of SR 9 from the city’s water treatment plant features large trees with trails and viewing platforms. The wetland will extend treatment of old town’s surface water run off and provide additional filtering before the water returns to the river.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

ARLINGTON — Bill Blake is excited to make another step forward on his stormwater wetland. He has been applying to Snohomish County for permits since the property lies outside of the city’s jurisdiction, and is now ready to present the concept to the community for feedback.

A public meeting set for 5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 26, in the City Council Chambers, will include a presentation and an open house to discuss several design alternatives for the proposed wetland to be built near the “round-house property” adjacent to the Stillaguamish River in the northwest corner of the intersection of SR 9 and SR 530.

The city acquired the property nine years ago with conservation futures money, Blake said.

It is the same property where the Eagle Trail opened recently, west of SR 9 from the city’s water treatment plant next to Haller Park.

“We are now waiting for the critical areas review from the county,” Blake said. His wife, Sarah Blake, a water quality specialist, helped design the plan, he said.

The design for the man-made wetland considered flood hazard issues as well as agriculture.

“The county is loathe to convert any ag land into any other uses, so we are pitching the potential to raise and harvest cattails for sale,” Blake said.

The wetland is designed to hold a hundred year storm, according to Public Works Director Jim Kelly.

“The wetland is designed like an aesthetic park-like setting, with wetland viewing areas and trails,” Kelly told City Council at its March 9 workshop meeting.

Blake is hoping to include a water sculpture, or a fountain of some kind, using the pressure of the water spouting out of the pipes.

“The wetland will reduce peak flows into the river during high runoff seasons and will not be negatively impacted by flooding from the river,” Blake said. “It won’t stink, either,” he added.

The project is funded in part by a $519,905 grant from the Department of Ecology which requires a match of $173,321 of in-kind labor and cash. To date, the project has already cost $78,455 for a geo-tech survey, a critical areas habitat survey, and an archaeological survey, Kelly said.

Blake is hoping to get permits in place by the end of this year and to break ground next year.

“We will be looking for volunteers to help plant trees,” Blake said.

Agenda

• Impacts of urban development on local water ways.

• Managing urban stormwater with a constructed wetland.

• Project History (property/funding/etc).

• Work performed to date.

• Design constraints.

• Alternatives and the preferred design.

• Discussion.

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