Pierce County to begin Larchmont Wetland Reserve project

Midland residents will see work start in mid-July on the nearly 17-acre Larchmont Wetland Reserve to reduce flooding in the surrounding neighborhood and provide habitat for wildlife and improve the quality of stormwater runoff.

The Pierce County Public Works and Utilities project is located east of McKinley Avenue East and between 91st and 96th streets. Work on the site includes modification of drainage ditches on the property that impact existing wetlands. Crews will also excavate a seasonal pond to provide habitat for animals that depend on wetlands.

“The Larchmont Wetland Reserve project is intended to help families and community members all along Clover Creek feel more secure during storms when a lot of rain is coming down,” said Pierce County Public Works and Utilities Surface Water Management division manager Harold Smelt. “Not only will this project store excess water during storms, it will also provide habitat and an alternative means of compensating for wetland impacts from certain development projects.”

This wetland project is proposed as a “bank” to help public projects and private developers mitigate for impacts to wetlands on construction projects in the same basin. Qualifying public and private projects located in the same basin would pay a fee toward developing and maintaining these wetland areas, like Larchmont, and relieve the project developers from any further mitigation burden. The In Lieu Fee Program is in development pending approval by Pierce County Council and state agencies.

A branch of the north fork of Clover Creek flows across the property and is an important part of the plan. Most of the $704,000 project is slated for completion in September, though native plantings will be installed later in the fall. A grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology is funding the project. Active Construction, Inc. of Tacoma is the contractor.

More information is available online at piercecountywa.org/larchmont.