Projects will open 130 miles of streams to fish

Public and non-profit organizations in Grays Harbor, Lewis, and Thurston counties are receiving about $6 million in state grants this spring for 28 habitat restoration projects in the Basin.

The projects represent an initial phase of a long-term effort to restore habitat and reduce damage throughout the basin. State lawmakers included the grant funds in the 2015-17 capital budget as part of a $50 million appropriation for the overall initiative.

Most of the grant projects, scheduled for completion by July 2017, are designed to restore fish passage where it is blocked by culverts or dams. Altogether, they will open more than 130 miles of streams to migrating salmon and other aquatic species, said Kirsten Harma of the Chehalis Basin Lead Entity, a consortium leading the effort that includes local, state, and tribal governments and interested citizens.

Projects receiving funding include:

  • Improvement or replacement of three culverts that block fish passage in the Johns River watershed of Grays Harbor County, under the sponsorship of the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force.
  • Eight culvert corrections proposed on private property by the Conservation District. The projects are designed to open 68 miles of streams to migrating coho, steelhead, and cutthroat trout.
  • A culvert removal project on Darlin Creek, a tributary of the Black River in . The project, sponsored by the Capitol Land Trust, will open two miles of coho and cutthroat habitat in an important section of the Chehalis watershed.

The competitive grant process was conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife () and the Chehalis Basin Lead Entity’s Habitat Work Group. Proposals were selected for funding by biologists, engineers, and habitat restoration professionals from , the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Quinault Indian Nation, and a representative of the Lead Entity’s citizen advisory committee. The state Recreation and Conservation Office is administering the funds and overseeing the projects.

Projects were evaluated based on their potential benefits for fish and other species, value to local communities, and the likelihood that they could be implemented quickly and cost-effectively. Twenty-five (25) of the projects involve on-the-ground restoration work, while three are for planning and design of restoration activities that will take place in future years in Grays Harbor and Lewis counties.

Chehalis Basin Habitat Restoration Grants 2016

Project Sponsor County Grant award Stream miles opened
Lower River: Restoration project design and permitting Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Grays Harbor $251,000 N/A
Fish barrier corrections scoping and design Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force Grays Harbor $308,000 N/A
Big Creek Polson Camp Rd. fish barrier correction Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force Grays Harbor $529,000 4.8
Gaddis Creek South Bank Rd. fish barrier correction Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force Grays Harbor $307,000 6.5
Darlin Creek fish passage improvements Capitol Land Trust Thurston $100,000 2.0
Bunker Rd. and Wisner Creek barrier removal (2 projects) Lewis County Conservation District Lewis $45,000 5.4
South Fork Newaukum stream and habitat assessment Wild Fish Conservancy Lewis $98,000 N/A
Great Eight barrier removal (8 projects) Lewis County Conservation District Lewis $799,000 68.1
Harstad Creek Middle Satsop Rd. fish barrier correction Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force Grays Harbor $306,000 3.3
Boyer Road fish barrier correction Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force Grays Harbor $66,000 2.5
Eaton Creek South Bank Rd. fish barrier correction Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force Grays Harbor $307,000 3.3
Taylor Creek Taylors Ferry Rd. fish barrier correction Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force Grays Harbor $293,000 2.9
Johns River tributaries barrier corrections (3 projects) Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force Grays Harbor $1,150,000 11.0
Mox Chehalis Branch Rd. fish barrier correction Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force Grays Harbor $412,000 12.2
Sylvan Terrace barrier removal Sylvan Terrace Owners Association Thurston $97,000 0.5
Stearns Creek tributary fish barrier removal Lewis County Public Works Lewis $39,500 2.4
Prairie Creek fish barrier removal Lewis County Public Works Lewis $39,500 4.8
Carlisle Lake/Gheer Creek fish passage Wild Fish Conservancy Lewis $700,000 10.2

Notes: Stream miles opened to fish passage are rounded to the nearest 0.1 mile.

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