It has been a year since the major reconfiguration of the creek bed and flood plain of Thornton Creek at Meadowbrook. A festival event on Saturday, June 11th, sponsored by Thornton Creek Alliance, will offer education and info about the watershed along with food, fun and music.
The Thornton Creek watershed of northeast Seattle has two main branches, north and south, which converge at NE 107th Street near the arterial 35th Ave NE. This area is called The Confluence and in recent years, during heavy rainfall the creekbed would overflow, flooding 35th Ave NE and nearby homes.
Beginning in 1996, Meadowbrook Pond at NE 107th Street has been improved and enlarged several times as a place to accommodate flood waters. The most recent improvements completed in 2015 enlarged the pond area on its northeast corner. A new two-acre flood plain and meandering channel was created for larger capacity to hold floodwaters. Channeling the water at the pond will better slow the flow, filter sediment out of the water and prevent downstream flooding.
In addition to reducing local flooding, the Confluence Project in 2015 was done to help restore water quality, improve fish and wildlife habitat, and make the Confluence more visible to the public to create awareness of the environment. Instead of being hidden in culverts and choked by vegetation, the creek now flows under a bridge of 35th Ave NE with the meandering channel visible.
While technically not a park, Meadowbrook Pond is a user-friendly Seattle Public Utilities accessible area with walking paths. The Pond is on the east side of 35th Ave NE with its entrance marked by signage and boulders, directly across the street from the Meadowbrook Community Center (10517 35th Ave NE).
The Influence of the Confluence festival will be held on Saturday, June 11th from 2 to 6 PM. Everyone is invited to come out for music, food trucks, tours, exhibits and childrens activities as we consider what has been accomplished in the Thornton Creek watershed since the major reconfiguration at The Confluence.
Parking is available at the Meadowbrook Community Center (10517 35th Ave NE) or at Nathan Hale High School. From there, cross to the east side of 35th Ave NE directly across from the community center. The entrance to Meadowbrook Pond is marked with rocks.
I like the drive down 35th Ave NE, and have often wondered how the Confluence is faring. We had a similar project up my way, at Cromwell Park in Shoreline. A nice wetland replaced a place of regularly sodden ground, and now waterfowl, amphibians, and other critters abound. A year isn’t long enough for the Confluence to mature, but hopefully it’s well on the way.
The Confluence being somewhat hidden, and technically not a park, has made the improvements somewhat more difficult to understand. I am very glad that Thornton Creek Alliance has organized the festival this year at the Meadowbrook Pond as it has been a hidden gem.