Cedar River Watershed

The City of Seattle's Cedar River Municipal Watershed is carefully managed to support and supply clean drinking water to 1.6 million people in the greater Seattle area. The watershed covers 90,638 acres, hosts a rich diversity of plants, animals, and habitats, and is owned by the City of Seattle.

Come explore and learn about this remarkable rain-soaked landscape by visiting the Cedar River Watershed Education Center (open year-round). 

  • Meadow Mountain Cascade Crest: At 5414 feet, Meadow Mountain is the highest point in the Cedar River Watershed.
  • Cedar River near Yakima Pass Cascade Crest: At the crest of the Cascades, the headwaters of the Cedar River begin near Yakima Pass.
  • old growth forest Upper Watershed: Most of the remaining 14,000 acres of old-growth forest in the watershed are at high elevations.
  • Findley Lake Upper Watershed: At the center of the Joe E. Monahan Research Area, Findley Lake is an undisturbed jewel nestled in the Cascade Range.
  • Upper Cedar River Upper Watershed: Above Chester Morse Lake, the Cedar River provides excellent spawning habitat for endangered bull trout.
  • wetland Upper Watershed: A rich wetland has developed around the remnants of ancient forests where the Rex River enters Chester Morse Lake.
  • reservoir Reservoirs: The snowpack that collects in the winter is a vital source of drinking water to fill our reservoirs for the dry summer months.
  • Chester Morse Lake and hills Reservoirs: Looking east across Chester Morse Lake towards the highest point in the watershed, Meadow Mountain.
  • Low Chester Morse Lake water level Reservoirs: Towards the end of the summer, the water level in Chester Morse Lake can drop dramatically.
  • Chester Morse Lake Reservoirs: Chester Morse Lake is the main storage reservoir in the watershed.
  • Masonry Pool Reservoirs: From the Masonry Dam, looking east towards the mountains of the watershed, across the Masonry Pool, one of two storage reservoirs in the watershed.
  • Masonry Dam Reservoirs: The Masonry Dam can hold back up to 16 billion gallons of clean water.
  • Old Masonry Dam Reservoirs: Constructed in 1914, this relatively small dam is operated for flood control and hydroelectric power while storing water for fish, people, lakes and the locks!
  • Cedar Falls Cedar Falls Area: One of many beautiful places in the watershed, Cedar Falls inspired the naming of the town.
  • Rattlesnake Lake Cedar Falls Area: Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area, managed by Seattle Public Utilities, provides opportunities for walking, biking and hiking in a spectacular natural setting.
  • Watershed Education Center Cedar Falls Area: The Cedar River Watershed Education Center is now open to the public. This regional water education center provides unparalleled opportunities to understand the promise, and the challenges for the Cedar River Watershed.
  • Cedar Falls Power Plant Cedar Falls Area: Seattle City Light's Cedar Falls Power Plant once supplied 100% of Seattle's electrical needs. Now it barely meets 1.5% of the power needs for the City of Seattle.
  • Cedar Falls Power Plant windows Cedar Falls Area: Seattle City Light Cedar Falls Power Plant: The first municipally owned power plant in the United States, this hydroelectric plant has been on-line since 1904.
  • Cedar Falls Cedar Falls Area: Headquarters for the Watershed Management Division, this historic town still has remnants of the City community that thrived here for 75 years.
  • Landsburg Lower Watershed: At Landsburg, 1/3 of the annual flow of the Cedar River is diverted into pipes for drinking water. Over 100 million gallons of water a day are screened, chlorinated and fluoridated, then delivered to customers throughout the greater Seattle area.
  • Landsburg Diversion Dam Lower Watershed: The Landsburg Diversion Dam releases 2/3 of the annual flow of the Cedar River to provide water for Lake Washington, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and four species of salmon.
  • Walsh Lake Lower Watershed: One of several small lakes in the watershed, Walsh Lake has a resident population of land-locked sockeye salmon (also known as kokanee).
  • Cedar River Lower Watershed: The clean, reliable water delivered from the Cedar River is some of the best in the world!
  • Low elevation Cedar River Lower Watershed: This view of the Cedar River is typical of low elevation areas in the watershed. Completed in 2003, fish passage facilities at Landsburg allowed salmon to spawn in this excellent habitat for the first time in over 90 years!

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.