McSorley Creek Pocket Estuary Restoration Project at Saltwater State Park

Confluence managed the first phase of this project to enhance habitat for salmon. Key goals of the project included realigning McSorley Creek to restore stream and estuary habitat and removing marine shoreline armoring to create a dynamic and natural beach front and nearshore area, as well as redesign of the park recreational facilities.


Confluence managed a multidisciplinary team to deliver all aspects of the project through the preliminary phase and 30% design. Project activities included robust site investigations of critical areas, geomorphology (e.g., beachfront sediment grain size analysis), cultural resources (e.g., Native American artifacts), habitat, topography, and bathymetry; an eelgrass survey; an alternatives analysis (including substantial public involvement); engineering (preliminary and final design); National/State Environmental Policy Act (NEPA/SEPA) review; and permitting. Several unique and diverse challenges required development and implementation of special studies. For example, an eroding scarp in need of stabilization required geotechnical bluff analysis, and the existence of several Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)-era state park structures and a shell midden triggered Tribal coordination and a cultural resources assessment and development of a plan to relocate the structures and protect the Native American site. Completed work included the final feasibility and alternatives analysis, and the 30% design for the beach and estuary restoration design and the park redevelopment site plan. The redevelopment site plan included new parking areas, open spaces, trails/walkways, new beach access, SCUBA diving stations, a new multi-use public building, playground, and relocations of CCC-era stone fire pits and other amenities.

This project was partially funded by the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund and the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Due to grant funding requirements, the work needed to be completed on an extremely short timeframe, and Confluence developed and implemented a complex critical path schedule and budget to achieve the necessary end date. Confluence also assisted with grant applications for future phases of the project.


Confluence helped the County position this project to achieve its overarching goal to restore ecological processes and habitats in a sustainable manner that also continues to meet the landowner requirements for the area; namely, a high-quality recreational park experience for visitors.

Project Location
Des Moines, WA

King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks

Project Timeline
2015 – 2019