High Point Natural Drainage System (NDS) Project

Photo of sidewalk planting in High Point

Because of its size and its relationship to Longfellow Creek, the redevelopment of the High Point neighborhood in West Seattle offered Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) a unique opportunity to implement a large scale natural drainage system in an urban environment, where it could make a real difference. High Point features the largest natural drainage project that the City has undertaken, and the first time that a natural drainage strategy of this scale has been used in such a high density urban setting.


Features and Benefits 

Designed in partnership with Seattle Housing Authority, this natural drainage system will treat about 10 percent of the watershed feeding Longfellow Creek – one of Seattle’s priority watersheds.

The natural drainage system at High Point mimics nature in many ways by using features such as swales to capture and naturally filter storm water and open, landscaped ponds or small wetland ponds to hold an overflow of storm water.

The end results are nothing short of remarkable. When completed, High Point will process water in a manner similar to a forest meadow.

High Point serves as an exemplary model for other large-scale developments, both locally and across the country. And SPU will continue to look for even more innovative ways to promote and encourage responsible stewardship of the environment in Seattle and across the country.


Photo of drainage planting near a sidewalk in High Point


The High Point NDS is part of the High Point Redevelopment, which covers 34 blocks from 35th Ave SW to High Point Drive SW and SW Juneau St. to SW Myrtle St. A self-guided walking tour (pdf) is provided by Svr Design.


Construction Schedule

Construction of the first phase of the High Point NDS was completed in the fall of 2005. The first phase is bounded on the north and south by SW Juneau St. and SW Morgan St., and on the west and east by 35th Ave SW and High Point Drive SW. The second phase of construction was completed in 2009.

SPU began monitoring the first phase of the High Point natural drainage system in January of 2007.


Project Resources