The North Creek Wetland

The University of Washington Bothell/Cascadia College campus houses one of the largest and most complex floodplain restorations in Washington State. The restoration began in 1997 with the construction of campus and has been the most successful floodplain restoration in Washington. The project represents a bold attempt to restore the lower part of North Creek and 58 acres of pastureland to a sustainable, functioning floodplain ecosystem within an urbanizing watershed. The project is unique in the degree to which fundamental theories of ecosystem and restoration ecology were utilized in the design and are being employed in the management of the site.

Diligent maintenance combined with thoughtful design has helped make this wetland a regionally-recognized success story. Just seven years after finishing planting, the wetland met 100% of its 10-year project objectives set in the design plan. It is now home to a rich mosaic of plants and animals, providing a living laboratory for the study of wetland ecosystems and ecological restoration.


The University maintains two full-time staff positions (plus additional seasonal workers in the summer) to continually and intentionally restore the area, including replanting, removing invasive species, monitoring and gathering data, and adaptive management. The wetland is maintained without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.


The wetland has created a thriving habitat for salmon and many other animal species, while simultaneously creating natural filtration for stormwater run-off from the campus. This natural feature is regionally recognized for its success and is one of the proudest achievements on our campus. The wetland serves as an incredible refuge for biodiversity in an increasingly urbanized corridor extending from Seattle to the Cascades.

Visit the Wetland

As part of our 2020 Virtual Earth Week, the UW Bothell Sustainability Office created a virtual wetland history and tour video for your enjoyment from anywhere.

Sarah Simonds Green Conservatory

The Sarah Simonds Green Conservatory (SSGC) was completed in the summer of 2013. This complex on the western edge of the wetland houses a greenhouse, classroom, and support space for education and research. Surrounding the SSGC are raised beds for demonstration of native plantings and experimental plots, as well as facilities for raising native plant starts for ongoing management of the wetland. The SSGC provides a dynamic center for environmental learning and a portal to the campus wetland.

Learn about the Wetland

We invite you to visit the wetland from the paved trail around the edge or the boardwalk that leads to the banks of North Creek. Further access is carefully regulated and balanced with protection of this ecosystem.

This land has an abundance of deep rooted history, and the story of how the Campus Wetland was created is complex and fascinating. Read about the restoration and the story of campus history.


Please contact us for questions or comments about the wetland.