The North Creek Wetlands
The University of Washington Bothell/Cascadia College campus houses one of the largest and most complex floodplain restorations in Washington State. The restoration began in 1997 with the construction of campus, and is a bold attempt to restore the lower part of the North Creek stream channel and 58 acres of pastureland to a sustainable, functioning floodplain ecosystem within an urbanizing watershed. The project is unique in the degree to which fundamental theories of ecosystem and restoration ecology were utilized in the design and are being employed in the management of the site.
Diligent maintenance combined with thoughtful design has helped make this wetland a regionally-recognized success story. Just seven years after finishing planting, the wetland met 100% of its ten-year project objectives set in the design plan. It is now home to a rich mosaic of plants and animals, providing a living laboratory for the study of wetland ecosystems and ecological restoration. K-12 and college classes from around the Puget Sound region have visited, while local scientists use the site to study nature and its recovery.
The university maintains two full-time staff positions (plus additional seasonal workers in the summer) to continually and intentionally maintain the area, including replanting, removing invasive species, monitoring and gathering data, and adaptive management. The wetlands are maintained without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilizers.
The wetlands have created a thriving habitat for salmon and many other animal species, while simultaneously creating natural filtration for storm water run-off before the water ultimately reaches the Puget Sound. This natural feature is regionally recognized and is one of the proudest achievements on our campus. The wetlands attracts an incredible refuge for biodiversity in an increasingly urbanized corridor extending from Seattle to the Cascades.
Visit the Wetland Virtually
As part of our 2020 Virtual Earth Week, the UW Bothell Sustainability Office created a virtual wetland history and tour video for your enjoyment from anywhere.
Enjoy the wetland virtually!
Sarah Simonds Green Conservatory
The Sarah Simonds Green Conservatory (SSGC) was completed in the summer of 2013. This complex on the western edge of the wetland houses a greenhouse, classroom, and support space for education and research. Surrounding the SSGC are raised beds for demonstration of native plantings and experimental plots, as well as facilities for raising native plant starts for ongoing management of the wetland. The SSGC provides a dynamic center for environmental learning and a portal to the campus wetland.
Learn about the Wetland
We invite you to visit the wetland from the paved trail around the edge or the boardwalk that leads to the banks of North Creek. Further access is carefully regulated and balanced with protection of this ecosystem.
This land has an abundance of deep rooted history, and the story of how the Campus Wetland was created is complex and facinating. Read about the restoration and the story of campus history.
Please contact us for questions or comments about the wetland.