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Redmond at the End of the Ice Age – Native American Settlement at the Bear Creek Site

WHEN:      February 25, 2017 – 11:00 am -1:00 pm

WHERE:    Western Most Overlook of the Lower Bear Creek Project

Bear Creek Excavation

Join project director Dr. Robert Kopperl at the edge of the restoration area overlooking the site to find out more about the study and what we have learned from it, and about the broader picture of the past as seen in our archaeological heritage.

On Saturday, February 25, 2017, Dr. Kopperl will be on-hand to informally provide information about the Bear Creek site, answer questions about the project, and any other questions you may have about Washington State’s shared archaeological heritage. He will be at the new overlook of the Lower Bear Creek habitat restoration area along the Bear Creek recreational trail (west of World Market) between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Parking is available at the Redmond Town Center shopping mall lots across Bear Creek Parkway from the recreational trail and presentation location.

The Bear Creek site, located in the heart of the City of Redmond, is the oldest excavated archaeological site with stone tools in Western Washington. It was first identified in 2008 during a routine environmental survey for a City habitat restoration project, and since then it has generated a wealth of information about Native American life over 10,000 years ago near the outlet of Lake Sammamish. 

For more information on the Bear Creek Site: Bear Creek Rehabilitation

Contact: Tom Hardy - 556-2762

Restoring Redmond's Streams & Habitat

Redmond values its natural resources, and has completed 45 stream restoration projects, covering 55 acres over the past 15 years. The objective of the projects is to restore habitat (critical areas) to provide the necessary function to support healthy native fish, wildlife and vegetation. Projects examples include: restoring riparian conditions by removing invasive plants and planting native vegetation, removing artificial barriers to fish migration (like undersized culverts), installing large woody debris (LWD) to enhance fish habitat, and re-locating stream channels to more-natural courses.

Stream Restoration Map

Project Highlights

Bear Creek Buffer Enhancement 2012
Sammamish River Projects
Upper Willows Creek - Using LWD

Bear Creek Rehabilitation Highlights

The Bear Creek Rehabilitation project is located between SR 520 and Bear Creek Parkway, east of the Sammamish River and north of the current Bear Creek Channel in Redmond.

About 3,000 feet of Bear Creek was relocated from the mostly straight, channelized “stream” to a meandering, reshaped and re-planted channel in the existing adjacent open space.

The project establishes stream buffers consistent with the City’s Critical Areas Ordinance with allowance for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) “Stage 3” widening of the SR 520 freeway adjacent to Bear Creek. The parallel path and “side-routes” allow people to walk over to the stream and to view and interact with (a much improved) Bear Creek.

The rehabilitated overbank areas will address flood conveyance issues and will provide other habitat improvements.

On May 18th, 2013, experts from the Washington State Department of Transportation, Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation, Muckleshoot, Snoqualmie and Stillaguamish Tribes, and SWCA Environmental Consultants presented a special workshop titled Archaeology for the Curious about archaeology basics and what Redmond was like 10,000 years ago and the local history of the Bear Creek site. 

Bear Creek Interpretive Graphics

The following link will direct you to videos of that presentation:
Archaeology for the Curious  (located under Archived Videos, 2013 Informational Programs, dropdown menu)

South Fork Juel Creek Project Highlights

Enhancement Photos of South Fork Juel Creek Project

Project Maintenance

Project maintenance is crucial to the success of Redmond’s restoration projects throughout the City. Redmond contracts with a Washington Department of Ecology Conservation Corps (WCC) crew to maintain restoration sites throughout the City.

WCCMaintenance is a follow-up activity that is crucial to the success of restoration and mitigation capital improvement projects. Maintenance is typically required by permit approvals for the first five years after project completion. The value of site maintenance goes far beyond permit compliance in that it protects and improves the public investment in these habitat enhancements, promoting healthy and attractive restoration areas. Maintenance of restoration sites involves control of invasive weeds, litter patrol, replacement planting, and other activities important to overall project success. This regular site maintenance enhances already completed projects, building on the initial investment, as well as improving the aesthetics of sites.

The Washington Department of Ecology’s WCC program crews accomplish a variety of natural resource-related activities for local jurisdictions and non-profit organizations, and are awarded to jurisdictions via competitive application. WCC staff are typically interning college-age students learning restoration techniques and gaining job skills. A crew consists of six staff that works a 40-hour work week.

The work consists primarily of removing invasive plants from City of Redmond CIP project sites totaling about 45 acres distributed around the city. Replacement plantings also occupies a significant portion of the crew’s time. In addition, the crew provides assistance with volunteer events, habitat assessment, and site monitoring. The level of maintenance for each location on the site restoration map varies widely. Older more established sites may only require a brief check for weeds every year or two, while recently planted sites are worked intensively two or three times per year. The most recent Habitat Enhancement Project (HEP 4) along the Sammamish River, for example, takes two to three weeks of the crew’s time during the year.