McSorley Creek Pocket Estuary Restoration Project at Saltwater State Park

Confluence worked with King County on this project that will reconstruct the beach front, nearshore, tributary stream, and park design of Saltwater State Park to enhance habitat for salmon. Key features of the project include realigning McSorley Creek to restore stream and estuary habitat and the removal of 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. Project activities include a robust site investigation for geomorphologic and cultural resource investigations (e.g., beachfront sediment grain size analysis and Native American artifacts), habitat assessment, and topographic and bathymetric surveys; an eelgrass survey; an alternatives analysis (including substantial public involvement); engineering (preliminary and final design); NEPA/SEPA review; permitting; and construction services. Several unique and diverse challenges have 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-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. This project is funded, in part, by the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund and the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Due to grant funding requirements, this work had 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 helped the County 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, visitor recreation.

Project Location
Des Moines, WA

King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks

Project Timeline
2015 – 2019