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11930 Cyrus Way
Mukilteo, WA 98275
Phone: 425.263.8000

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 / Planning & Community Development / Smuggler's Gulch Low Impact Development and Retrofit Project

Smuggler's Gulch Low Impact Development Project

Smugglers Gulch Low Impact Development - Citizen Advisory Committee

On January 22, the Mukilteo City Council approved two actions moving the Smuggler’s Gulch Low Impact Development and Retrofit project forward.  These include:

  1. Continue the design and proceed with summer 2013 construction of the detention pond retrofit projects (88th Street Pond, 50th Avenue Pond, and the Whisper Wood Estates Pond) and the 44th Avenue rain garden. A separate letter will be sent out to the adjacent neighbors with the details of these projects.

  2. Establish a citizen advisory committee to review and evaluate the remaining rain garden and gravel gallery options to determine the best location and/or project alternatives to meet the requirements of the Department of Ecology grant.  Thank you to those who volunteered for the committee.  The Committee Members are as follows:
  • Gary Bland
  • Eric Hovland
  • George Bowden
  • Mary Bess Johnson
  • David Davenport
  • Sylvia Kawabata
  • Tim Ellis
  • Christine Schmalz
  • Andy Higgins
  • Bruce Simpson

The purpose of the committee will be to prioritize and select the best LID options for the upper portions of the Smuggler’s Gulch basin that meets the project goals to reduce flooding and erosion, and improve water quality.   As part of this process, we also want to hear your concerns about the whole basin.  While it is not practical to do a large or expansive enough project to solve all of the issues in any given drainage basin, your participation in the project will help us understand any issues we may not be aware of or understand and thus help establish a more solid, long term strategy for future work in the basin. 

Below is the schedule and agenda's from the Citizen Advisory Committee.  Committee meetings are open to the public and will be held in Council Chambers located at City Hall, 11930 Cyrus Way, Mukilteo, WA  98275.

Advisory Group Schedule & Agenda 
Milestones: Dates
Step 1 - Select Members of the Citizen Advisory Committee:  Send out a letter to all those in the basin describing the status of the project and the purpose of the subcommittee.  Solicit interested parties to participate on the committee.  The committee would include 7-9 members depending on interest level in each of the three subareas within the Smuggler’s Gulch basin.  Feb 1- Feb 22
Step 2 – Committee Meeting #1 - Kick-off Meeting:  Introductory meet and greet; share information about LID and the project goals; provide basin maps and project materials; listen to the concerns of the committee and develop a Drainage Issues list describing the known drainage issues for each subarea.
Agenda Report & Attachments 
Power Point Presentation
Audio recording of the meeting
Issues Matrix with Responses
Meeting Notes

Thursday-March 14
6 pm to 8 pm
Step 3 – Project Evaluation Period #1:  Collate the issues learned from the first meeting and sort them into project issues and larger basin wide issues. March 18 – April 10
Step 4 – Committee Meeting #2 – Design Charrette:  Take information from first meeting and evaluation period and present to Committee; divide into groups based on subareas and discuss potential LID projects and other solutions; share concepts / recommendations with entire group.
Agenda Report
Power Point Presentation
Audio recording of the meeting
April 11
6 pm to 8 pm
Step 5 – Project Evaluation Period #2:  Evaluate and summarize the Committee recommendations into presentation format for an open house. Prepare project recommendations and basin strategy for issues beyond the scope of the LID project.  Send update to City Council. April 15-24
Step 6 – Basin Wide Open House:  Hold an open house to present findings and proposed project options / alternatives / strategies.
Power Point Presentation
Presentation Boards
Meeting Notes
April 25
6 pm to 8 pm
Step 7 – Project Evaluation Period #3:  Meld information gained from the open house with the Committee recommendations. Send update to City Council. April 29-May 8

Step 8 – Committee Meeting #3 – Refinement Meeting:  Present draft project recommendations to the Committee based on meetings and open house results. 
Agenda Report
Meeting Boards
Planning Level Project Cost Estimates
Audio Recording of the meeting
May 9
6 pm to 8 pm
Step 9 – Project Evaluation Period #4:  Refine recommendation and prepare for City Council presentation. May 13-24
Step 10 – City Council Approval:  Submit recommendation with project list (& potential basin strategy) to City Council for approval.
Potential LID Sites
Agenda Packet
Draft Sub-Basins Issues Map
Draft Existing Conditions Map
Power Point Presentation
June 3
Step 11 – Initiate Project Design:  Issue notice to proceed on remaining LID project elements.  Construction would be scheduled for summer 2014. June 4-7
Step 12 - Committee Meeting #5:  Select two project sites to proceed with full design and construction
Agenda Packet
Meeting Notes
December 4, 2013

Below is an map with the issues identified by the Committee at their March 14, 2013 Meeting.  This map will be updated and revised as the Committee adds to or edits the existing issues.  Click on the place marks for more information about the issue.


In late 2010 the Department of Ecology issued a notice of funding availability under their Statewide Stormwater Grant Program.  These dollars were available via a competitive grant application process to local governments covered by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Stormwater Permit to fund stormwater infrastructure projects. 
The City of Mukilteo applied for a $1,000,000 grant under this program for the Smuggler’s Gulch Low Impact Development and Retrofit projects. As a requirement of the grant, a pre-design report was prepared describing the basin conditions and a list of potential projects that could be implemented with the funding.  Because the predesign report was “preliminary” additional work to determine which projects could be built was included in the grant proposal.  In November 2011, Ecology received 111 applications totaling more than $83M in eligible project costs. Ecology’s stormwater experts reviewed, rated, and ranked the applications and developed a priority list of the stormwater improvement projects.  Mukilteo’s project was not included in the ranked project list sent to the Legislature.
In order to continue to take steps in managing stormwater runoff with in the Smuggler’s Gulch Drainage Basin, staff proposed a capital project to the City Council during the 2012 budget process to initiate a Low Impact Development (LID) demonstration project in the Smuggler’s Gulch Drainage Basin.  The purpose of the project was to reduce flooding, manage erosion, and improve water quality. The upper regions of Smuggler’s Gulch basin, between 44th Avenue and SR 525, was selected for the project based on the aging drainage system (neighborhood was developed in the 1970’s - 1980’s) where stormwater facilities do not meet current capacity standards for water detention or water quality. It is also a fully developed neighborhood where retrofit projects could be used to help educate residents of their value and neighborhood context. With this in mind the City began working on two projects in early 2012:  the 44th Avenue Rain Garden and the 88th Street Detention Pond Retrofits.  These two projects were selected because they met at least one of the goals of LID and were also highly visible locations where public educational interpretive signs could be most effective.  These two projects have been designed and are planned to be constructed this year.
Seeing the high demand for stormwater funding, the 2012 Legislature provided an additional $13.987 Million Dollars to fund an additional 21 unfunded projects under the “Stormwater Retrofit and Low Impact Development Supplemental Capital Budget Proviso”.  These additional dollars could only be spent on retrofit and LID projects.  Mukilteo received a $1 million dollar grant out of these funds because our grant application met the specific criteria outlined by the Budget Proviso. This grant opportunity allowed the City to not only implement scope of the demonstration projects but also provided an opportunity to gain ground on addressing stormwater management needs within the larger basin.

Low Impact Development (LID) is an alternative approach to managing and treating stormwater runoff that includes aboveground drainage systems, such as rain gardens, vegetated swales, and other types of facilities, to slow down flows and clean stormwater and allow the water to be absorbed back into the ground, where practical--mimicking more closely what happens naturally.  LID techniques can be applied on a small scale, lot-by–lot, or large scale for subdivisions; it can also be integrated into the landscape features of existing residential lots or fit within a street/public right-of-way.

We anticipate that the project will take two years to construct a combination of rain gardens, gravel galleries, and detention pond retrofits. 

Below is a map showing the preliminary locations of these proposed improvements: Click on the map to view it larger.

Since the last open house in November, we have finalized the proposed list of projects and attached is a map showing the projects that are proposed to be included in the overall scope of the LID demonstration project.  The orange bubbles show the potential projects proposed to be included in the project.

Click here to go to the Projects Page

1.  Gravel Gallery
Gravel Gallery Chapter of the LID Manual
Underground Detention Chapter of the LID Manual
Porous Landscape Detention Information 

2. Rain Garden/Bioretention Facility
Rain Gardens Chapter  of the LID Manual

3. Department of Ecology Guides
Surface Water and Groundwater on Coastal Bluffs
Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control using Vegetation
Vegetation Management: A Guide for Puget Sound Bluff Property Owners

4. City Council Actions
April 16, 2012
September 4, 2012
January 22, 2013
 AND Presentation
March 4, 2013

5.  Previous Open Houses
May 24, 2012
November 28, 2012 

6. Additional Documents:
City of Mukilteo - Pre-Design Report - Smuggler's Gulch Stormwater Retrofit Study
Planting Plan
Mukilteo Comprehensive Surface Water Management Plan - Chapter 10 Excerpt - Basin G - Smuggler's Gulch
Study - Detention Pond Sediments in South Carolina
Study - Effect of Urban Runoff on the Dew Drop Pond
Implementing Low Impact Development on Residential Lots - Technical Resources for Homeowners

There are multiple ways you can get involved in this project.  You can stop by and talk with us and get more information or you may contact Patricia Love, Director of Community Development by phone at 425-263-8041 or by email at

In the near future you may see surveyors, engineers, and other specialists out in your community evaluating each project site and gathering information for future development plans.  The consultants hired for this project include:  Tetra Tech Inc. and Barker Landscape Architects.


Basic Rain Garden Palette 

Enhanced Rain Garden Palette


Rain Garden Plants - Small Trees

 Examples of Rain Gardens

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