Suds Creek Watershed

Suds Creek Watershed, Felida

Suds Creek Watershed, Felida neighborhood

Where is Suds Creek?

Located almost entirely west of I-5 and south of Salmon Creek Greenway, Suds Creek is about 1.6 miles long and covers about 0.6 square miles.

It is primarily a developed watershed with residential homes, apartments, retail stores, Sacajawea Elementary School, Stockford Village neighborhood park, and part of the Salmon Creek Greenway.

The creek is primarily in a forested canyon that is about 20 feet deep. The majority of the creek is on private property owned by single-family residential homeowners. The watershed includes about 400 homes, over a dozen retail establishments, including Fred Meyer, and several large apartment complexes.

How healthy is Suds?

Not very healthy. Suds Creek was thoroughly assessed in 2008 and 2009. Additional data is being collected in 2017. Being significantly developed, the stormwater flows in a series of pipes. This includes from residential downspouts that are connected to underground pipes as well as the storm drain systems in the streets that discharge directly to the creek. Most of this water has no treatment to remove pollution.  

Here are some key points from the assessment:

  • Aquatic bugs (macroinvertebrates) - As indicators of water health (like the classic canary in a coal mine story), these bugs help describe the health of the water by the diversity and number of bugs in the water. In 2008, the bug score, called B-IBI, was ranked as low, at 18 points. There was a low number of the types of bugs, including no stoneflies (a sensitive species that relies on good habitat and water quality).
  • Water quality (amount of chemicals and pollutants in the water) - (data being collected)
  • Temperature (fish and bugs need cool water to thrive) - (data being collected)
  • Vegetation - The amount of trees and shrubs, as well as the type of vegetation, is important to provide shade (cool water temperatures), provide strong roots that hold soil (prevent erosion) and offer wildlife habitat. Suds creek has many areas with vegetation, but the majority is shrubby or small trees. There are a number of plants that are invasive and should be removed.
  • Bank channel - Erosion is prominent throughout the creek, given the volume of water it needs to carry and the lack of good vegetation on the banks.
  • Culverts impede fish - Suds creek has a number of culverts (pipes under pavement) as it makes its way to Salmon Creek. Given the size and location of these culverts, fish will not use the culverts, therefore will not make their way upstream to historic spawning areas.

What are we and can we do to help Suds Creek? 

Making Suds Creek healthier is going to need time and multiple projects to help clean up the waterway. No one change will "fix" the creek. A multi-prong approach will go a long way to improve the water quality and conditions in the creek.  

If you could do just one things to help Suds, what would you do?

  • Reduce the amount of water getting to the creek - Currently, all of the hard surfaces in the watershed prevent water from soaking into the ground. This sends water directly to the creek. More water than it ever did historically. 
    • Plant more trees - Trees catch and use a lot of water, allowing it to evaporate back into the air or soak into the ground. Learn more about tree plantings in your neighborhood here.
    • Disconnect downspouts on homes - Let roof water soak into your landscape and keep out of the storm drains. 
  • Keep pollution out of storm drains - Remember, if it goes in the drain, it goes into Suds Creek. Keep soap from car washing, dirt from power washing and fertilizers from your yard off of hard surfaces that will wash down to the drains.
  • Fix car leaks - At some point, everyone's car will leak. Those fluids wash into the drains and the creek.  Visit a local auto shop for a free leak inspection.  Check out our Don't Drip and Drive program to learn more.
  • Pick up pet waste - With thousands of dogs in Clark County, that adds up to a lot of poop. Fecal coliform, the bacteria from dog waste, is one of the leading pollutants in our waterways. That limits the oxygen in water for fish and aquatic bugs to thrive. Take the pledge to always pick up your pet's waste and put in the trash. Learn more here and sign up for free swag. 
  • Remove invasive plants - Remove those weeds that take over your yard and block out native species. Replant areas with native trees and shrubs to create a diverse habitat for wildlife and protect the creek. Learn more about invasive species and best methods to remove them here.
  • Mark the storm drains in your neighborhood - Use our loaner kit to add metal medallions to storm drains to remind residents that all of our drains go directly to local creeks, streams and rivers. Only rain down the drain!  Learn more here.

More information

Feel free to contact us at with questions or comments. Learn more about what you can do to protect Suds Creek here.