The Lowlands

The lowland areas link the headwaters with Lake Washington and Puget Sound beyond.


Historically, these lowland areas were some of the most prolific salmon nurseries in the world. They were blessed with low gradients, abundant gravel, large trees and high quality water; all coming together to form a productive habitat mosaic in close proximity to a rich marine environment.

Today, much of these once productive lowlands areas in the Lake Washington Watershed have been impaired by urbanization and other types of development. Despite these impairments, substantial numbers of fish still return to spawn in these resilient habitats and a large array of protection and restoration measures have recently been launched to help to protect and restore the productivity of the many lowland streams in the basin.

These efforts, in combination with headwaters protection measures, are essential to restoring salmon spawning and rearing habitat. They include the following elements from the Cedar River Watershed HCP:

Improved stream flows throughout the lower 34 miles of the Cedar River based on more than 10 years of collaborative study and analysis, and including an extensive monitoring and research program, flexibility to adapt the instream flow management regime as new information becomes available and oversight by natural resource agencies.

More than $5,000,000 for habitat protection and restoration in the lower Cedar River basin downstream of the municipal watershed.

Interim and long-term population supplementation for Cedar River sockeye.

The HCP measures are complimented by other collaborative programs in the basin including King County and municipal government basin planning, habitat stewardship activities and Endangered Species Act recovery efforts that are helping to:

  • Protect water quality in lowland streams.
  • Protect and restore upland, riparian and aquatic habitat.
  • Improve coordination of restoration initiatives and promote public involvement and education.

Contact Information

For additional information about HCP implementation, please contact:
Michele Koehler, Aquatic Resources & HCP Program Manager
(206) 733-9447