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Wildlife returns to 130 acres of WSDOT wetlands near Renton

June 19, 2009

For more information contact:

Stacy Trussler, I-405 Deputy Project Director, (425) 456-8563
Colleen Gants, I-405 Project Public Information, (206) 465-2311

RENTON: WSDOT, City of Renton Mayor Denis Law, local officials and Talbot Hill Elementary fourth graders celebrated Springbrook Creek Wetland and Habitat Mitigation Bank opening Friday morning.  Located south of I-405 in Renton, Springbrook is the largest wetland mitigation site in the central Puget Sound area.

“Renton is proud to be a partner in this innovative wetland bank and trail project to help preserve this pristine natural area that provides a home for our herons, hawks, fish and other wildlife, and offers outdoor opportunities for our community," said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “This first of its kind project is thanks to several years of hard work and dedication, and an unprecedented partnership between the city, WSDOT and numerous local, state and federal agencies.”

This unique partnership between the City of Renton, WSDOT, and other agencies helped restore and enhance 130 acres of wetland, including some of the last remaining large tracts of undeveloped land in the lower Green River basin. Building Springbrook to help lessen the effects of current and future transportation and development projects has allowed native vegetation to establish and birds and other animals to thrive well before construction is complete.

“Springbrook gives us the opportunity to partner with the City of Renton to create a wetland and wildlife habitat right in the city,” said I-405 Program Director, Kim Henry.  “While transportation projects keep people and goods moving and give commuters more choices, they also bring with them environmental and community benefits—We made a commitment to leave the environment better than we found it, and Springbrook allowed us to go beyond that commitment to improve the environment and create a community space.”

With the Springbrook Creek Wetland and Habitat Mitigation Bank, WSDOT and Renton are able to:

  • Create a unique wildlife corridor for animals such as coyotes, red-tailed hawks, great blue heron, various other fish and birds.
  • Re-establish wetlands and re-connect them to Springbrook Creek for improved water quality and wildlife habitat. 
  • Expands the trail system to connect the Green River Valley Trail, the King County Interurban Trail, and the future King County regional Lake to Sound Trail.
  • Give the community new opportunities to observe plant and animal wetland life and learn about them from signs posted along the boardwalk trail.

Construction of the boardwalk and parts of the Springbrook Trail were funded by the City of Renton. The trail is part of a larger environmental corridor in Renton connecting the 93-acre Black Riparian Forest to the Springbrook Valley Wetlands. In the future, the trail will connect to three regional trails –the Interurban Trail extending from Algona to Tukwila, the Green River Trail from Auburn to south Seattle, and the Lake to Sound Trail connecting Lake Washington in Renton to the Puget Sound in Des Moines.

At the Springbrook opening Mayor Law and WSDOT executives outlined the project’s environmental, educational and recreational benefits. Fourth grade students from Talbot Hill Elementary planted native plants along the boardwalk and participated in a field exercise with WSDOT biologists that focused on identifying plants and animals that benefit from the newly restored wetland.  WSDOT worked with Talbot Elementary to create a curriculum with the goal of teaching students how to be stewards of the project.

For more information on the Springbrook Creek Wetland and Habitat Mitigation Bank, please visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/i405/Springbrook/