The Headwaters

The headwaters encompass the uppermost areas of the various sub-basins in the Lake Washington watershed.

Yakima Pass Cedar River

Headwater areas can provide important habitat for salmon and steelhead and are also a major source of clean water, sediment and nutrients for rest of the watershed. In many ways, headwaters can be viewed as the anchor for our salmon life history chain.

The natural biophysical processes that occur in the headwaters set the template for downsteam areas. If the processes that control the delivery and transport of clean water, sediment and nutrients are protected, then the rest of the river will receive the benefit of these important habitat ingredients.

The upper reaches of the Cedar River comprise the largest headwater area in the Lake Washington basin and are the only portion of the basin that is directly linked to the Cascade Crest. This headwater area falls entirely within Seattle's municipal watershed and is protected as part of the Cedar River Watershed HCP. Protection and restoration of this important headwater area is one of the central components of the HCP and will:

Headwaters
  • Ensure that the upper watershed continues to deliver high quality water to the lower Cedar River and Lake Washington
  • Protect and restore ecological processes that shape and maintain habitat throughout the basin
  • Protect and restore all streams in the municipal watershed including 17 stream miles in the proposed salmon and steelhead refuge between Landsburg and lower Cedar Falls
  • Fish passage facilities to restore access for coho, chinook and steelhead into 17 miles of high quality habitat in the ecological reserve.

Contact Information

For additional information about HCP implementation, please contact:
Michele Koehler, Aquatic Resources & HCP Program Manager
(206) 733-9447
michele.koehler@seattle.gov