White Center Ponds Redesign Project
White Center Ponds Redesign Project
Tell us what changes we should make to White Center Ponds!
We are gathering community input through June 30, 2022. We will use the responses to this survey to make preliminary design choices.
Site construction is tentatively targeted for summer 2024.
Welcome, We Want Your Input!
King County is redesigning the White Center Ponds site. We will dig the ponds deeper so they will hold more stormwater and be wet year-round. This will reduce neighborhood flooding and help clean the water going into lakes and streams that is used by fish, birds, amphibians and other animals. But the White Center Ponds are not just a stormwater facility. The site is also a natural area and green space that is accessible to the public. We want to make this site work better for everyone in the neighborhood. How do you want us to change the White Center Ponds natural area? Make your voice heard by answering our short 10 question survey below.
We want to hear from you!
Our design team is attending community meetings and events throughout White Center. We want to hear from everyone who is interested in this project.
Make the ponds a place everyone in the community can enjoy and feel safe in.
Improve safety and enhance pedestrian access.
Increase recreation opportunities and access to green space.
For more information and to sign up for project updates visit our website.
The White Center Ponds are a wetland and a stormwater pond facility. When it rains the ponds collect water that picks up pollution as it runs across roads and pavement. The White Center Ponds help clean the water. When stormwater stays in the pond, it allows time for pollutants to settle out to the pond bottom, which can then be removed by maintenance crews. Plants growing around the ponds draw pollutants and excess nutrients up into their roots. Plants that grow in the water also trap sticky things like oil and grease and prevent them from washing downstream. This cleaner water then drains into Mallard Lake and Hicklin Lake at Dick Thurnau Park before heading into Salmon Creek and out into Puget Sound.
So what’s the problem?
White Center is becoming more developed. When more streets, sidewalks and buildings are added that means there is less soil and plants available to absorb the rain. Rainwater instead flows over roads and sidewalks and through storm drains into stormwater ponds. Too much stormwater can flood neighborhood streets and lead to polluted streams and lakes.
Water quality downstream at Hicklin Lake (Lake Hicks) has been poor for years. Toxic algae blooms have led to frequent lake closures and the lake has suffered from high concentrations of phosphorus and bacteria (fecal coliform). Although prior water treatments with alum have had some success, high pollution concentrations have continued to be an issue. This means it is often not safe to swim in, is dangerous for pets, and it isn’t providing good quality habitat for birds or other animals.
The White Center Ponds are a public natural area but many people avoid the area because of safety concerns. The area is very dark at night. The dense vegetation is hard to see through and provides cover for camping especially when the ponds dry out in the summer. The King County Sheriff’s Office is often called to the area in and around the ponds due to illegal activities.
What changes will happen with the redesign?
The redesigned ponds will contain water year-round and it will be easier to see through the plants. The project team is considering adding lighting so the area feels safer at night and also adding other features to encourage more community use. Do you have ideas for how we can improve the area around the ponds? Tell us what you think in our brief survey below.
- What would it take for you to feel safe in White Center Ponds?
- What could we add or change that would make you excited about going to White Center Ponds?
- Is there anything about the current White Center Ponds that you would want us to keep the same?
This redesign project will make the ponds bigger which will allow them to store more water. The result will be less neighborhood flooding during heavy rainstorms. Bigger ponds also allow stormwater more time to settle in the ponds. This will help remove pollutants and allow water to be absorbed by plants. This means cleaner water flowing into Hicklin Lake, Salmon Creek and Puget Sound.
When we dig out the ponds to make them bigger some of the existing shrubs and trees will need to be removed. The new design will prioritize protecting existing large trees wherever possible. Some of these large trees will be preserved on islands in the middle of the ponds. It will look much like the redesigned pond that is located just south of this project between Southwest 100th and Southwest 102nd streets. Native plants will be installed after construction to provide habitat to insects, birds and other animals.
What is your experience with the White Center Ponds?
We want to hear from everyone in the White Center community. These questions will help us understand whether or not we’re doing that and whose voices we might be missing. Answering these questions is voluntary.