Taylor Creek Culvert Replacement

Project Description

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is making improvements to Taylor Creek located near the south end of Lake Washington in southeast Seattle. The project will address localized flooding, sediment deposition, fish passage barrier removal, replacement of aging culverts, sewer overflows, and salmon habitat improvements. SPU purchased property at the lower reaches of Taylor Creek, which provided an opportunity for SPU to increase the quality and amount of Taylor Creek and Lake Washington shoreline habitat, particularly for threatened juvenile Chinook salmon as well as increase publicly accessible open park space in southeast Seattle.


This project is located adjacent to Deadhorse Canyon and Lakeridge Park in southeast Seattle.

What's Happening Now?

The project reached its 60 percent design milestone in 2019. As part of this work, our engineering team looked at the current creek to see if we could provide additional, more natural opportunities to manage sediment up in Deadhorse Canyon. We've decided to add more large woody materials to the canyon to improve the habitat condition of the stream and to better trap and moderate sediment from landslides or storms. The wood will also help protect downstream project areas from getting too much sediment too quickly.

Our designers are looking at the different types of woody materials and where to strategically place them along the creek alignment to control sediment, naturally maintain the curves of the creek (reducing erosion), and create habitat (a natural home or environment for an animal or plant).

These natural methods of sediment control are better for salmon habitat and would require significantly less long-term maintenance than a built facility. After the design of the woody materials is complete, we may be able to reduce the size of the sediment pond or replace it with a natural floodplain in the same footprint.

Community Benefits

The Taylor Creek Culvert Replacement project will:

  • Improve the stream channel and surrounding habitat.
  • Improve fish passage.
  • Replace the culvert under Rainier Ave S.
  • Address storm-related flooding and sediment deposition at the mouth of the creek to the extent feasible.
  • Provide public access to the new natural area north of Rainier Ave S once construction is complete.
  • Construct corridor safety improvements in coordination with the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Community Engagement

SPU is committed to providing timely information and updates on project activities. Updates may be available in multiple formats: the website, emails, drop-in sessions, briefings, and/or public meetings. There will be several opportunities for the public to engage and provide feedback throughout the project. Check back for more information about upcoming opportunities to get engaged and sign up for the project listserv.



  • Design & Permit Applications


Taylor Creek originates in unincorporated King County and passes through a natural area known as Deadhorse Canyon within Lakeridge Park. It then passes through residential yards and an aging culvert under Rainier Ave S before discharging into Lake Washington. The culvert under Rainier Ave S, along with other barriers in the creek, prevents fish passage to good quality habitat in Deadhorse Canyon.

Between 2010 and 2012, SPU began developing stream improvement concepts and discussing those concepts with the community. Questions were raised during this early engagement about how the site should be used in the future and the potential for negative neighborhood impacts if the site became publicly accessible. In 2013, SPU, in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks), undertook a collaborative process with the community to evaluate future public access at the site.

In January 2015, SPU approved public access to the Lower Taylor Creek site; and in 2016 SPU purchased two additional properties adjacent to the creek alignment. The purchase of these properties will provide more flexibility for the design process, enable better creek alignments and will result in a final design that has less impact to neighbors.

Public Art

In fall 2018, Brooklyn artist Olalekan Jeyfious (LEk) was selected by the Office of Arts & Culture to create wayfinding artwork for the project site. Earlier this spring, LEk presented his initial ideas to the Public Arts Advisory Committee and they were approved to move into design.

Budget & Funding

The Taylor Creek Culvert Replacement is primarily being funded by SPU drainage and wastewater rates. Additional funding has been made available from grants received from the King County Flood Control District’s Cooperative Watershed Management Grant Program funds and the State of Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board with support from Salmon State Projects, Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration.