Hylebos Creek

Twenty-two acres of Hylebos Creek habitat gains permanent protection

The future of the Hylebos Creek Watershed became greener.

Last Thursday, the city of Federal Way completed acquisition of the 22-acre Goldmax Property in the southern part of the city.

The property includes wetlands and forested uplands and 1,200 feet of the West Hylebos Creek, where chinook, coho and chum salmon spawn.

"This preservation of habitat and open space is an important step for the city of Federal Way," said Friends of the Hylebos Executive Director Chris Carrel.

"Many suburban communities are losing the healthy forests and green space that make communities attractive to residents and to businesses. With this purchase, Federal Way is demonstrating its commitment to ensure that growth is balanced with retaining key habitats essential to sustaining clean air and clean water and supporting a quality community."

Carrel also praised the role of King County, which provided $400,000 towards the purchase. King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer has been very active in supporting conservation in the Hylebos Watershed and at nearby Bingaman Pond.

"We couldn't have done this without King County's help," Carrel said.

The Friends worked with the city of Federal Way for four years to accomplish the property purchase. When the property owner decided last year that he wanted to sell, the project partners were ready.

The $715,000 purchase was supported by a mix of Federal Way Stormwater utility funds and King County Conservation Futures funds, as well as a contribution from the Natural Resources Damages Assessment Trustees. The property will be permanently protected as open space and can not be developed.

The Goldmax purchase fits into the Friends' Hylebos Creek Conservation Initiative, a blueprint for preserving and restoring 745 acres and 10 miles of Hylebos Creek over the next 20 years. The protected area will range from the West Hylebos Wetlands near Federal Way's St. Francis Hospital to Tacoma's Commencement Bay.

The Hylebos Creek Conservation Initiative will provide habitat for native plant and animal species, including Hylebos' native salmon runs. The large swatch of protected forest will also provide open space for a growing community.

The Friends and its partners have successfully preserved more than 400 acres of the Hylebos Initiative area and are actively restoring these lands.

The group's active volunteer program has planted more than 73,000 native trees and plants in the past seven years.

Friends of the Hylebos is a nonprofit conservation organization working to protect and restore the environmental quality of Hylebos Creek, the West Hylebos Wetlands and the surrounding watershed. More information about the Friends and volunteer opportunities can be found at the group's website www.hylebos.org, or by calling 253.874.2005.