Protection Efforts

Under the HCP the watershed is managed as an ecological reserve to provide clean water, high quality fish and wildlife habitat, and to protect cultural resources.

There are several types of habitat within the watershed that are limited on the landscape in western Washington and support at-risk species. Examples include old-growth forest, streams and their associated riparian forests, wetlands, talus slopes, and meadows. These special habitats are considered biological hotspots, used by high numbers of fish or wildlife species.

Under the HCP, all of these critical habitats are protected from hazards such as fire, toxic spills, invasive species, and human disturbance. In the regular course of work, invaluable cultural resources are also protected.

Protect from fire


See slideshow of fire protection efforts.

We protect the forest in the watershed from fire by routinely conducting patrols during fire season and immediately suppressing all fires as soon as they are discovered. We have numerous on-site staff who are trained to respond to and fight wildland fires, and additional trained volunteers are available from other divisions in the utility. This training includes experience fighting wildland fires both within Washington and in other states.

In the watershed there are two wildland fire engines that carry 500 gallons of water and five trucks that carry 100 to 200 gallons. We also have 150 to 300-gallon portable tanks stationed at work sites and a fire trailer with two 2,000-gallon tanks that can be filled in the field from a local water source.

In order to decrease fire risk, certain activities such as forest thinning are limited during times of moderate fire danger and the entire watershed may be closed to all activities during high fire danger. Because the watershed is closed to general public access, this greatly reduces the risk of human-caused fire. This high level of protection from fire is illustrated in this map showing historical fire starts in and around the watershed.

For more information, contact:
Darian Davis
(206) 386-4221


Protect from toxic spills


Booms can be deployed to quickly contain any small oil spill.

We take special precautions to prevent any sort of toxic spill in the watershed, especially into any water body. To reduce potential negative effects in case of an accident, our heavy equipment uses biodegradable mineral oil as hydraulic fluid, and small equipment such as chain saws use vegetable based oils.

All vehicles carry small spill kits and large kits are stationed at all larger stream crossings throughout the watershed. These kits provide materials needed for immediate cleanup in case of a small spill. We have a mobile spill response trailer with a large cache of material available to clean up larger spills.

All watershed staff are trained each year in spill awareness and prevention, we have a spill coordinator on site, and key staff members receive additional training so they can function as spill responders in case of a larger spill. In addition, we have strict sanitation requirements for everyone working in the watershed.

For more information, contact:
Darian Davis
(206) 386-4221


Protect from invasive species

invasive species slide show

See slideshow of invasive species program.

We started a watershed-wide invasive species program in 2007 to restore habitat degraded by invasive species and protect native habitat from further invasion. We have adopted an early detection/rapid response protocol to reduce the threat of new invasions. This protocol involves surveying frequently enough to detect a new invasion while it is still small and easily eliminated and treating it as soon as it is discovered.

We annually monitor sites that are at high risk of invasion (such as road sides and gravel pits), as well as selected riparian areas, wetlands, and meadows. We monitor less frequently in the forest, where risk of invasion is much lower, through our network of permanent vegetation sample plots. See more information on permanent sample plots.

All King County Class A and B listed noxious weeds are eliminated or controlled (not allowed to seed or spread). For information on the listed weed species see the King County Noxious Weeds website. We are also eliminating or controlling some non-designated noxious weeds such as knotweed and Eurasian watermilfoil because of their threat to fish and wildlife habitat. View a presentation on the eradication of milfoil in Walsh Lake (pdf). We focus particularly on any invasives found in or near old-growth forest, riparian areas, wetlands, and meadows in order to protect these critical habitats.

View the Invasive Species Management Plan for more complete information about the Invasive Species Program. To view specific metrics on invasive species control, see aquatic and riparian habitat restoration metrics and upland forest habitat restoration metrics.

For more information, contact:
Sally Nickelson
(206) 233-1564


Protect from human disturbance

The entire watershed is managed as an ecological reserve for the benefit of water quality, fish, and wildlife. It is closed to general public access, protecting sensitive species throughout the watershed by decreasing human disturbance. Timber harvest for commercial objectives is no longer practiced in the watershed, preventing large-scale disturbance and change in habitat type. Because old-growth forest is such a critically important habitat, we target some of our road decommissioning projects to areas that bisect or are adjacent to old-growth forest, to ensure that wildlife species breeding in the old-growth are not disturbed by vehicular traffic. Other road decommissioning projects are targeted near wetlands, streams, and riparian areas, to decrease both disturbance and potential sediment input into these sensitive habitats.

View road decommissioning metrics.


Protect cultural resources

Bottles at Taylor townsite

Old bottles found at Taylor townsite during a restoration project

The Cedar River Municipal Watershed has a rich history of human use extending back almost 10,000 years. Evidence of human habitation and use are quite common in the watershed, ranging from prehistoric sites, to railroad, logging, mining, and municipal projects. Protecting these resources from disturbance is an important component of managing the watershed. In 2002, as required through the NEPA process for the HCP, SPU developed a Cultural Resources Management Plan, which describes policies and procedures for protecting known and unknown cultural resources from damage or disturbance. All ground-disturbing activities in the watershed are evaluated for their potential to disturb known or unknown cultural resources, and depending on the location, pedestrian surveys and/or professional monitoring is recommended.

For more information, contact:
Ralph Naess
(206) 233-1566