Prior to excavation Gold Creek Pond was a wetlands habitat complex. The gravel pit that WSDOT dug is expansive – it takes up 90 percent of the floodplain and is 60 feet deep at its lowest part. It is one of the few gravel pits in the Gold Creek floodplain that wasn’t restored back to its original state by WSDOT after excavation. There have been many efforts to restore the area surrounding Gold Creek Pond, but no actual effort to restore the pond back to the wetlands complex it once was.

The 1944 aerial view of the wetland complex that existed previous to the creation of Gold Creek Pond.
A wetland complex located in Gold Creek Valley.

The overall restoration of the valley (pond and stream) will greatly benefit wildlife through improved habitat conditions and habitat connectivity. For instance, despite over 30 years of planting efforts, native plants are still having a difficult time establishing themselves around Gold Creek Pond. Biologists, non-profits and volunteers have tried treating the area, adding soil, and of course planting native species. But, because the area is perpetually in a cycle of disturbance, native plants can’t outcompete invasive species. Restoration will return the area to a more natural state. We will be able to address issues like poor soil conditions (the soils around the pond were compacted and stripped of nutrients by the pit excavation operations) which make it difficult for native plants to take root.