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As you can see, salmon do lots of traveling. Here are some of the places we go in north Thurston County:

McAllister Creek - Woodland Creek - Woodard Creek - Moxlie Creek
Ellis Creek - Chambers Creek - Percival Creek - Green Cove Creek
McLane Creek - Perry Creek - Kennedy Creek - Schneider Creek

 

McAllister Creek

The estuary where McAllister Creek and the Nisqually River enter Puget Sound was diked by Seattle attorney, Alson L. Brown, after he purchased 2,350 acres in 1904. The Brown farm operated under several owners until 1964, when a deepwater port, a garbage dump, and an aluminum mill were all considered for the area. In 1974, largely through the efforts of citizens, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bought the property for a National Wildlife Refuge. McAllister Creek is named for the James McAllister family, which settled McAllister Springs in 1845. At that time, the Nisqually Indians called the creek "She-nah-nam," or Medicine Creek.

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McAllister Creek at McAllister Springs, the headwaters of the creek and the main source of Olympia's drinking water

Remnants of wild runs, including coho, chum, steelhead, cutthroat, sockeye and pinks, can be found in McAllister Creek. Hatchery chinook are also present

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Woodland Creek

In 1930, Woodland Creek was named for the Isaac Wood family, early Lacey settlers. Before that, it was known as Mill Creek. The section of Woodland Creek that runs through the community park was once a mix of prairie and forest which the Himes family converted to grazing land. The land was bought by the City of Lacey in the early 90's. Today, Lacey Stream Team members and other volunteers are planting native trees and shrubs along the creek in order to create some of the tree canopy and wildlife habitat that once existed.

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Woodland Creek at Woodland Creek Community Park

Long-time residents remember when Woodland Creek was full of spawning salmon every fall. Today, small numbers of coho, chinook, chum and steelhead return to Woodland Creek.

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Woodard Creek

Woodard Creek was named for Harvey Rice Woodard, a millwright from New York who settled on Woodard Bay in the mid- 19th century. In later years, Weyerhaeuser bought the land and, in 1928, completed a railroad line connecting its southwest Washington timber lands with a shipping terminal at Woodard Bay. In 1988, Washington State Department of Natural Resources purchased the terminal site and established the Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area. This wildlife reserve is excellent for viewing Purple Martins and Great Blue Herons. The old terminal structures also provide a haul-out for marine mammals and homes for bats.

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Woodard Creek at Woodard Bay,
low tide

Dwindling numbers of coho, chinook, chum, and steelhead can be found in Woodard Creek.

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Moxlie Creek

The headwaters of Moxlie Creek are located in Watershed Park, the source of Olympia's water from 1920 to the late 40's. In 1909, the arm of East Bay (Swantown Slough) that Moxlie Creek flowed into was filled to create more space for downtown Olympia. During this "Carlyon Fill," Moxlie Creek was piped underneath the new city land. Today, some salmon still migrate to Watershed Park at spawning time by swimming through the mile-long pipe. Moxlie Creek was named for R.W. Moxlie, an early settler in Olympia.

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Fish weirs installed on Moxlie Creek trap sediment and oxygenate the water (Watershed Park trail)

Coho, chinook, steelhead, and cutthroat have been observed in Moxlie Creek. Fewer than 50 fish return each year.

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Ellis Creek

In 1848, Father Pascal Ricard built a mission on land which today is known as Priest Point Park. Ellis Creek and Mission Creek flow into Puget Sound at the park. Though no traces of the "Mission of St. Joseph of New Market" remain, some of the 16th century French textbooks used by the priests are kept at the State Library in Olympia.

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Ellis Creek at Priest Point Park's Ellis Cove Trail

Excellent habitat for coho and chum exists in Ellis Creek. However, road culverts extremely limit spawning adults' access to the creek.

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Chambers Creek

Chambers Ditch, which flows from Chambers Lake to Chambers Creek, was constructed in the early 20th century to drain farmlands around the lake. The creek was named in honor of the Chambers family, which settled in the area in 1846. Yelm Highway, which crosses Chambers Ditch, follows a path similar to the old Nisqually Trail. The Nisqually Indian name for Chambers Prairie is "polally illihe," meaning "sandy soil."

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Chambers Ditch, the main tributary to Chambers Creek, as it flows through Wilderness subdivision

Some coho, steelhead, and cutthroat are found in Chambers Creek.

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Percival Creek

Percival Creek, named for Captain Sam Percival, historically entered Budd Inlet. Today the creek enters Capitol Lake, which was formed in 1951 by the dam at 5th Avenue. The mouth of Percival Creek and the surrounding inlet were prime shellfish harvesting grounds for Native Americans. Captain Percival constructed a sawmill at the mouth of Percival Creek soon after his arrival in the area. In 1922, Black Lake Ditch was constructed to drain the wetlands around Black Lake. The ditch joins Percival Creek near Highway 101. Beginning in 1996, barriers to fish passage were removed by local governments and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Today, salmon use Black Lake Ditch and Percival Creek for spawning and rearing.

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Salmon spawning habitat in Percival Creek

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Percival Creek at Chapparel Road where a new culvert allows salmon to swim upstream.

Due to habitat improvement projects, coho, chinook, chum, steelhead, and cutthroat have greater access to Percival Creek.

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Green Cove Creek

Like many culverts throughout the area, the two under NW 36th Avenue used to cause a serious fish passage problem. In 1996, a fish ladder was constructed so that fish could reach the culverts, and baffles were installed inside the culverts to provide resting pools for migrating fish.

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The fish ladder on Green Cove Creek at 36th Avenue, NW

Coho, chum, steelhead, and cutthroat are found in Green Cove Creek.

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McLane Creek

McLane Creek Nature Trail is part of Capitol Forest, managed by Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Though logged in the early part of the 20th century, the area is now designated for recreational use, providing a popular walking path around a freshwater marsh and through 70-year-old forests. The creek was named after the William McLane family, who settled in the Delphi Valley in 1852.

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McLane Creek at the Department of Natural Resources Nature Trail on Delphi Road

Coho, chum, steelhead, and cutthroat are found in McLane Creek.

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Perry Creek

Perry Creek flows to Eld Inlet, an important shellfish producing area. Early European settlers cultivated and harvested the Olympia Oyster, but by 1920, pollution from nearby pulp mills devastated native oyster populations. With the introduction of the Japanese oyster in the 1930's and the decline of sulfite wastes from mills in the 1950's, oyster cultivation again became a viable industry.

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Perry Creek at the falls, a natural basalt waterfall which provides a barrier to upstream salmon migration

Coho, chum, steelhead, and cutthroat are found in Perry Creek.

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Kennedy Creek

For centuries, Totten Inlet was home to bands of Salish Indians known as Sahehwamish. They called the inlet "T'Peeksin" and often established villages where streams entered Puget Sound. When Native Americans in South Puget Sound signed the treaty with territorial Governor Stevens, the bands in the Totten Inlet region were gathered together and relocated on Squaxin Island. Thereafter, they were referred to as the Squaxin Island Tribe. Kennedy Creek, which flows to Totten Inlet, was named for Judge Franklin Kennedy.

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Kennedy Creek at the Old Olympic Highway Bridge, near its mouth at Totten Inlet.

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Chum salmon spawning in Kennedy Creek.

Coho, chinook, chum, steelhead, and cutthroat are found in Kennedy Creek.

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Schneider Creek

In 1996, when the Steamboat Island Road overpass was built, Washington State Department of Transportation constructed a new channel for part of Schneider Creek. Griffin School students and Stream Team volunteers helped revegetate the new "reroute" with native trees and shrubs. An interpretive trail is planned so students and area residents can learn about salmon and other wildlife that use Schneider Creek. The creek is named in honor of Konrad Schneider, who came from Iowa to settle in the area in 1852.

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Schneider Creek, the rerouted channel by Steamboat Island Road overpass

Coho, chum, steelhead, and cutthroat are found in Schneider creek.

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Trees Please!
Native Plants Get Our Vote
Slow the Flow
Muddy Water Blues
No Poisons Please

We've Been Slimed!
A Word About Waste
The Salmon Life Cycle
We're on the Go!
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Streamside Livin' Home

Thurston County
Storm & Surface Water Program

929 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia, WA 98502

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Page last updated: 3/99
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