What is the Watershed Initiative?
The Watershed Initiative is a conservation effort aimed at protecting the natural resources and wildlife habitats in the watersheds of Bainbridge Island. This initiative focuses on restoring wetlands and streams which play a crucial role in maintaining water quality and quantity, as well as supporting a diverse range of plant and animal species.
The Bainbridge Island Land Trust is working with local communities, government agencies, and other organizations to implement conservation and restoration projects in the watersheds. These efforts may include restoring degraded habitats, removing culverts and other barriers to fish passage, and educating the public about the importance of preserving these vital resources.
The purpose of the Watershed Initiative is to ensure the long-term health and viability of the island’s watersheds to support natural resources and increase resilience to a changing climate. The initiative will advance conservation on Bainbridge Island and Central Puget Sound, which will significantly impact the greater Salish Sea region.
What is a Watershed?
A watershed is a geographic area that collects and drains all the surface water from the rain, snow, or other precipitation that falls within it. The water flows through a network of streams, rivers, and other channels and eventually reaches a common outlet, such as a lake, ocean, or another river. The boundary of a watershed is determined by the topography, or the shape of the land, and is usually marked by ridges or hills. Watersheds play a critical role in the water cycle and provide essential resources for people, plants, and animals.
There are more than 47 miles of streams within the 12 watersheds on Bainbridge Island.
Springbrook Creek Watershed
The initial restoration focus is the 999-acre Springbrook Creek Watershed. Threatened salmon and steelhead populations have historically thrived in Springbrook Creek and its tributaries, but longstanding barriers to fish passage and migration, such as the Springbrook Creek Preserve culvert and Fletcher Bay culvert and weir complex, must first be addressed before these fish populations can recover.
Often these fish barriers were constructed with the best of intentions, but over time they have proven harmful to aquatic and shoreline ecosystems. Fortunately, numerous restoration projects in the Puget Sound region have already shown that removal of these manmade barriers – freeing freshwater streams to flow in a natural state – can be an effective cure. Additional information about the Watershed Initiative at Springbrook Creek is available here.