Little Bear Creek Stormwater Mgmt. Action Plan (SMAP)

Background and Purpose

The Little Bear Creek Basin is approximately 8,550 acres or 13.4 square miles and located east of the cities of Bothell and Mill Creek and north of the city of Woodinville (see watershed map to the right). The basin area contains more than 5,000 households and is and important resource for fish, recreation, and open space.

In 2017, Snohomish County completed a Little Bear Creek Basin Plan (Water Quality Study) as part of the county’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit requirement. 

Following the completion of the Little Bear Creek Basin Plan report, the County conducted two efforts in 2018-2019 as basin-wide studies to identify potential drainage retrofit and instream projects as potential next steps toward implementation of the Basin Plan. The Drainage CIP Study and the Instream Projects Study resulted in 14 total conceptual drainage retrofit or instream projects. 

The County proceeded with engineering design and construction in 2022 of two projects from the above studies: a bioswale retrofit project from the Drainage CIP Study, and the Cutthroat Creek restoration project from the Instream Projects Study. This left 12 total conceptual drainage retrofit or instream projects. 

  • Cutthroat Creek Habitat Project: Completed in 2022, this project restored about 1,100 feet of stream habitat and re-established natural riparian vegetation for coho populations as well as benefiting Chinook salmon and steelhead. 
  • Bioswale Retrofit Project: Located in the upper Little Bear Creek watershed, in the Silver Firs subdivision. Completed in 2022, this project improved the water quality function of an existing bioswale for a detention pond facility.

 Click below to open the interactive map.

completed projects Opens in new window

As a next step in the NPDES permit requirements, Snohomish County has completed an action plan that identifies stormwater management actions (programs and projects) and land management/development strategies, known as the Little Bear Creek Stormwater Management Action Plan (SMAP). View the completed SMAP and Appendix below:

Little Bear Creek SMAP Projects

In the Little Bear Creek SMAP, the 12 remaining sites conceptual drainage retrofit or instream projects were further prioritized for implementation. Of these 12 remaining original priority projects, the County further prioritized 6 projects for the Little Bear Creek SMAP. The prioritization was based on various factors including estimated schedule needs, perceived ease of implementation, and factors that may be unique to the site. The Little Bear Creek SMAP outlines which of these project and other stormwater management actions will be completed in the first six years (short-term actions) and which will be completed within 7 to 20 years (long term actions).

Click below to open the interactive map.

priority projects

The Little Bear Creek SMAP also identifies a plan to increase the use of High-Efficiency Sweepers throughout the Little Bear Creek Basin. 

  • High-Efficiency Sweepers: Specialty vehicles used in the Little Bear Creek basin area by Public Works Road Maintenance crews to remove toxins in the roadways before they drift into the waterways of the Little Bear Creek Basin

Reserve Projects

After the SMAP projects were identified, 6 of the original 14 priority projects remained: 4 CIP projects and 2 Instream projects. The 4 CIP projects were identified by the County as reserve projects.

Public Engagement

The Little Bear Creek SMAP team performed public outreach to inform and receive input, ideas and feedback from residents, businesses, and partners during the development phase of the Little Bear Creek SMAP. The County plans to further conduct public outreach in the implementation phase.

Take Action to Protect & Preserve Water Quality

Snohomish County offers several opportunities for residents to learn and apply at home:

  1. Natural Yard Care Education: workshops, online resources 
  2. Pet Waste Program: veterinary clinics, public open spaces 
  3. Septic Care Workshops & Savvy Septic: workshops and finance program
  4. RainScaping: workshops, online resources