Stream Habitat Assessment

Stream Habitat Assessment
In 2015 Bellevue’s City Council adopted the Storm and Surface Water Plan that included five strategic initiatives, including an Open Streams Condition Assessment. This initiative will utilize stream habitat surveys to collect data that will help inform stream protection and restoration planning by identifying data and information gaps, identifying restoration opportunities, and developing criteria for prioritizing streams and objectives throughout the city. Ultimately this will help form a strategic pathway to achieve the city’s vision for healthy streams.

This project relies on partnerships with streamside property owners who give permission to cross private property for data collection purposes. We are incredibly grateful for the positive response from streamside property owners, virtually all of whom have been willing to participate with us.

Stream habitat surveys are currently underway throughout the greater Coal and Lewis Creek basins.

Frequently asked questions

Who conducts the stream assessments?

An experienced team of two to three Bellevue staff will walk the entire length of each stream from its mouth to its headwaters gathering physical and biological data.

What type of data is collected?

Data will include stream characteristics such as habitat type, length, width, depth, substrate type, and presence of large woody debris and fish. The purpose of these surveys is to assess the health of our stream basins as a whole, they are not focused on individual properties.

Where are the stream assessments taking place?

Stream habitat surveys will occur along an estimated 80-miles of Bellevue’s open stream channels. Work has already been done in Vasa Creek and the West Tributary (in the Kelsey Creek basin). Stream habitat surveys are currently underway throughout the greater Coal and Lewis Creek basins.

When will the stream assessments be done?

Surveys will take place when stream conditions and flow allow. Larger creeks such as Coal, Lewis and Kelsey will be surveyed during summer/early fall, when stream flows are safe for wading. Tributaries and smaller creeks like Yarrow, Sears, and Valley may be surveyed year-round, if they have streamflow. Surveys will likely be ongoing through early 2021.

Why are stream assessments being done?

The Open Streams Condition Assessment is one of Bellevue’s five strategic initiatives, combined with the Primary Stormwater Infrastructure, Property Management, Improving Water Quality and Citywide Watershed Management Plan Initiative, that together will inform future management in a holistic citywide approach to managing storm and surface water.

What does a stream assessment look like?

Bellevue staff will walk in the upstream direction to collect habitat data. Measurements will be collected using a hip chain, stadia rod (depth stick) or laser range finder. Photos of stream conditions will also be taken. To ensure safe upstream passage by Bellevue staff, some streamside vegetation may need to be trimmed slightly with hand tools.

Related Information


Christa Heller Environmental Scientist



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