Streams and Habitat

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Streams 101

Redmond’s streams, the Sammamish River, and Lake Sammamish are amazing resources. The City works hard to promote healthy streams and restore habitat.

Recipe for Healthy Streams

Photo of a stream in a forested area


  • Clean and cold 
  • Enough flow in the summer
  • Too much flow causes erosion

Shrubs and Trees

  • Trees shade streams, keeping water cool
  • Plant roots hold back soil, preventing bank erosion
  • Falling leaves provide food for stream bugs that fish and other wildlife eat


  • Help create different habitats for stream creatures: pools, glides, and riffles
  • Are a source of food for stream bugs

Fish and Wildlife

  • Bugs: Healthy streams have lots of aquatic insects
  • Fish: lamprey, pike minnow, trout and salmon
  • Other wildlife: otters, beavers, song birds, herons, ducks, frogs, salamanders, crayfish, and more


salmon in river
Bear Creek Chinook - Photo by Craig Barbaccia

Redmond is home to Chinook, coho, sockeye, and kokanee salmon, trout, and other native fish.

Many of Redmond’s streams were historically home to salmon. The best locations to see salmon now are in the Sammamish River, Bear Creek, and its tributaries. Redmond is committed to having healthy streams that salmon can use for years by improving stormwater infrastructure and constructing instream habitat projects.

For 20 years, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has run the Bear Creek fish trap downstream of Redmond Way. The trap runs from January through June, monitoring the health of Bear Creek salmon and providing current population status and long-term trends.

Stream buffers

Forested stream buffers are vegetated areas on the side of streams and rivers and are critical for their health. They provide habitat for wildlife and salmon, improve water quality, and help keep Redmond beautiful. 

What can you do to protect these buffers?

If you live near a stream, do your part to help maintain healthy fish populations by not cutting back trees, shrubs, and grasses within these buffers.



Redmond has over 60 active stream restoration projects, covering about 100 acres.Planting Trees

These restoration projects:

  • Improve habitat conditions for fish and wildlife
  • Allow streams to function naturally
  • Keep streams clean by filtering polluted stormwater runoff
  • Make Redmond’s natural areas more beautiful for the people who live and work here

Restoration projects are funded by your stormwater utility fees and through grants.

View the Evans Creek Restoration Page(link)

Washington Conservation Corps

Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) was created in 1983 and is modeled after the 1930 and 1940 Civilian Conservation Corps. WCC is an AmeriCorps program housed within the Washington State Department of Ecology for young adults 18-25 plus military veterans. The City of Redmond has partnered with a WCC crew each year since 2004.

The Redmond WCC crew focuses on salmon habitat restoration projects around the Sammamish River basin. They plant native trees and shrubs along streams, install beaver exclusionary caging around trees, conduct kokanee surveys, perform stream surveys in the winter and summer, control noxious weeds, and place large woody debris in the streams to improve salmon habitat.

Invasive Species

New Zealand Mudsnails

New Zealand Mudsnails- pennyNew Zealand Mudsnails (NZMS) were recently discovered in High School Creek in North Redmond.  New Zealand Mudsnails are tiny (less than 6 mm) invasive aquatic snails that can completely cover stream and lake beds, pipes, and ditches.  

These tiny snails do not harm people or pets. However, once these hardy invaders spread across streams and lakes, on rocks, and in the mud, they crowd out native aquatic snails, insects, and plants that resident fish and other critters depend on.  NZMS provide no nutritional value to the salmon and trout that eat them.  They adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions.  This makes them hard to control and almost impossible to eliminate from our waterways.      

You Can Help Reduce the Spread of New Zealand Mudsnails!

NZMS can hitch a ride on boots, clothes, animal fur, and equipment and be carried by streams and stormwater to new locations. Mudsnails are tiny and easily mistaken for a small pebble.

Please take these steps to help stop the spread of NZMS in High School Creek and across Redmond:

  1.  Keep pets out of streams and lakes.  If your dog wades into the water, carefully dry off or brush him/her on dry land.  Focus on paws and bellies.
  2. Carefully scrub off any debris or mud from waders, boots or clothing that come in contact with streams, lakes or mud.  Freeze these items overnight…or let them dry out for 48 hours.  NZMS can survive out of the water for weeks.
  3.  Drain-off any stream or lake water collected in gear or equipment before you leave a site.  Rinse off the gear in clean, potable water away from the body of water and let it dry for 48 hours before reuse.  Do not flush rinse water down the storm drain—it’s connected to our creeks, too, and can reintroduce mud snails!

Noxious weeds

Noxious weeds are introduced plant species that harm the environment and agricultural production and increase maintenance work at city facilities and projects. Many noxious weeds proliferate because they grow fast, out-compete native vegetation, and don’t have natural enemies to keep them in check. Once established, noxious weeds are challenging to eradicate and can harm wildlife and natural areas like stream buffers, wetlands, and forests.

The City uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan to prioritize using non-chemical control methods over pesticides while managing noxious weeds. Methods like manual, mechanical, and cultural control can be combined to control noxious weeds without harming the environment. 

King County’s noxious weed program is an excellent resource for the latest information on noxious weeds, including identifying and controlling them. 

Noxious weeds in King County, Washington - King County (link)

African Clawed Frog

African Clawed FrogAfrican clawed frogs harm sensitive ecosystems by preying on native species and introducing pathogens that can harm native amphibians and fish. They have recently been found in neighboring cities like Issaquah and Bothell. They were likely introduced by people dumping their pets into local ponds. African clawed frogs are a prohibited species. Please report potential sightings to the Washington Invasive Species Council at




Stream Classification Map Thumbnail

Stream Classification Map (PDF)
For stream classification information, visit Redmond Zoning Code 21.64.020

Relevant Documents

Stream Monitoring Report 2016 ThumbnailStream Monitoring Report 2016 (PDF)
Status and trends for stream water quality

Watershed Management Plan 2013 Thumbnail

Watershed Management Plan 2013 (PDF)
Redmond's blueprint for restoring urban streams

Large Woody Material Enhancement in Urban Streams 2007 Thumbnail

Large Woody Material Enhancement in Urban Streams 2007 (PDF)
How logs help create healthy streams

Maps and Reports