The shoreline of Ebey Slough in downtown Marysville. City officials hope to put more public parkland into the shoreline property that they own next to Ebey Waterfront Park.


The city of Marysville is beginning the process to update its Shoreline Master Program which provides guidance to how land near shorelines will be used.

The plan is required to be periodically updated by Washington state’s Shoreline Management Act, which gives preference to uses that protect the natural environment, depend on water to operate or enhance public access/recreational opportunities.

Marysville’s shoreline includes the Ebey Slough, which borders the southern city limits, the Qwuloolt estuary, a project from the Tulalip Tribes put in motion in 2015, and the Quil Ceda Creek in central Marysville, which qualifies as shoreline because the water in the creek is flowing greater than 20 cubic feet per second.

Marysville officials held a public meeting to begin the process on Oct. 18.

Local residents came with questions regarding projects' environmental impact and about the potential impacts to their homes.

Some residents reported an increasing water table causing sinkholes and worried about the effects of further development on their sometimes century-old homes.

Cheryl Dungan, senior planner with the city of Marysville, said that it is possible the water table has risen recently. 

“What the studies show is that it looks like there is more water,” she said.

Marysville, like much of Snohomish County, is rapidly growing and may see increased development around its shorelines.

“Our area is growing and that obviously puts more pressure on shoreline resources over time,” said David Pater, a shoreline planner with the Department of Ecology at the meeting.

The city is planning a First Street bypass which would extend the downtown street.

That bypass would be able to avoid much of the nearby wetland, said Dungan, but there will be some impact.

“It will have less than a half acre of impact to wetland, that will have to occur because there are houses and apartments there that we can’t tear down,” she said.

Some cottonwood trees and other plants may be removed as part of the project as well, but Dungan said mitigation will be put in place to replace the plants.

Another transportation project that will impact the shoreline is the 100th Street bridge.

The section of State Avenue is the last remaining in the city that has only two lanes. A new bridge is meant to expand it to five lanes. Currently that section of the street is over a culvert.

“We’re removing the culvert and it will help the flow of fish,” said Dungan.

“The bridge will have to be designed so that salmon and fish can still go under it,” said Marysville’s community development director Dave Koenig.

Marysville has received some of the money for the project, but not all.

“We did get some funding and the city is reviewing if they can phase the project [begin it with just one phase done] or wait for more money,” said Koenig.

“We’re hopeful we’ll get the funding to do the project over time,” he said.

Recreationally, the city is planning more park area for the shoreline and extensions to the current Qwuloolt trail.

The city currently owns much of the Ebey Slough shoreline property west of State Avenue.

A waterfront park restoration project has been proposed by the city, said Pater, which is planned to be next to Ebey Waterfront Park.

“Those will be enhancing public amenities and access to shoreline,” he said.

Planned extensions to the Qwuloolt trail will also help it loop around the estuary.

“It’s not planned to be a full loop where the dike was breached, there are no plans to put a bridge there,” said Koenig.

That project is currently stalled as the city continues to work with property owners for trail easements (legal agreements which allow limited use of a land), said Dungan.

Marysville’s Shoreline Master Program will affect those developments as well as other smaller projects throughout the city.

The update to the program may not change much, as state law hasn’t changed much.

“There have been a number of changes in the state legislation since the last update, but a number of them really don’t apply to Marysville,” said Pater.

“Some of them do, but they’re pretty minor,” he said.

The process to update the Shoreline Master Program will continue over the next few months and Dungan said there will be more opportunities for public comment.

They expect to present a final draft to the Marysville City Council sometime in March.

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