The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board announced $14.6 million in grants for projects to restore salmon habitat across the state.
“These projects around the state are a critical part of our efforts to restore salmon and keep our runs healthy,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “We all want our children and grandchildren to enjoy the thrill of going out to the water and casting their first line. We all share a stake in helping the many families and businesses that rely on salmon for their livelihoods and recreation. And we all have an obligation to assure that the fish we share with tribes are healthy and resilient. These grants help communities fix what’s damaged and make the land and water better for both people and salmon.”
Locally, projects in Grays Harbor will receive $509,493 in grant funding. This includes projects to remove fish barriers on, the North River and Taylor Creek, restoring the a portion of Hoquiam River, designing fish passage on Halbert Creek, and treating invasive knotweed in the Lower Quinault River Floodplain.
In Pacific County, they will receive $1,024,474 in funds to design fish passage, restore, and enhance local waterways.
The Salmon Recovery Funding Board awarded grants to organizations in 26 counties for 77 projects. The grants will be used to remove barriers that prevent salmon from migrating, increase the types and amount of habitat for salmon, conserve pristine areas and replant riverbanks so there are more places for salmon to spawn, feed, rest, hide from predators and transition from freshwater to saltwater and back again.
“We are committed to restoring salmon and these grants are important to stopping their decline around the state,” said David Troutt, chair of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “After nearly 20 years of working on this issue, we know what works. Local communities are using this state and federal money, matching it with their own and restoring the places salmon live. The work they are doing is also reducing flooding, improving water quality and keeping water in the rivers for salmon and all other fish. This is important work, work worth doing.”
Funding for the grants comes from the sale of state bonds authorized by the Legislature and funds from the federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.
Recent studies showed that every $1 million spent on watershed restoration results in an average of 16.7 jobs and up to $2.6 million in total economic activity and that 80 percent of grant money is spent in the county where the project was located. These new grants are estimated to provide 115 jobs during the next 4 years and nearly $18 million in economic activity as grant recipients hire contractors, crews and consultants to design and build projects, including field crews to restore rivers and shoreline areas.
Projects in Grays Harbor County
|Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force||Grant Awarded: $26,500|
|Removing Barriers to Fish Migration in Taylor Creek|
|The Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force will use this grant to design and get permits to remove two barriers to fish migration on Taylor Creek, southeast of Elma. One of the barriers is a large concrete structure under Taylor Creek South Bank Road that is passable by only 33 percent of the salmon. It will be replaced with a structure that is passable to all salmon and opens access to 2.86 miles of excellent spawning and rearing habitat in forests. The second barrier is about 75 feet downstream on an abandoned railroad grade crossing private property. These two sideby-side cement pipes block about 67 percent of the fish and will be removed along with the abandoned railroad grade, and the area restored. Five species of fish will benefit from the improved habitat in the Chehalis River basin as a result of this project, including Chinook, coho, and chum salmon, and steelhead and cutthroat trout. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (16-1776)|
|Chehalis River Basin Land Trust||Grant Awarded: $200,000|
|Designing Restoration of the Middle Fork Hoquiam River|
|The Chehalis River Basin Land Trust will use this grant to design a project to restore tidal action and fish passage to a railroad-impounded wetland along the Middle Fork Hoquiam River and the Hoquiam River, on land owned by the trust. The Hoquiam watersheds have spawning populations of Chinook, chum, and coho salmon and steelhead. The project’s design will look at options for removing up to six fish barriers, installing fish-passable structures, and opening up two railway-impounded wetlands to tidal waters. That work would restore fish passage to 4 miles of river and restore 72 acres of surge plain to intertidal habitat. Design work will include an analysis of alternatives and preliminary designs for the preferred alternatives. A neighboring landowner intends to abandon five other fish-blocking culverts on the Middle Fork Hoquiam River soon. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (16-1756)|
|Grays Harbor Conservation District||Grant Awarded: $84,348|
|Removing a Barrier to Fish Passage in the North River|
|The Grays Harbor Conservation District will use this grant to remove an aluminum pipe that carries a tributary of the North River under the C-400 road, just south of the town of Vista in Grays Harbor County. The conservation district will replace the pipe, which is blocking fish passage, with a bridge, opening 2.1 miles of habitat to coho salmon and cutthroat trout. Making small side streams like this one available to wild fish in the North River watershed will provide habitat so that the population density can improve over time. The landowner, Weyerhaeuser will contribute at least $84,348. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (16-2039)|
|Quinault Indian Nation||Grant Awarded: $48,645|
|Designing Fish Passage in Halbert Creek|
|The Quinault Indian Nation’s Division of Natural Resources will use this grant to complete engineering designs and a cost estimate for a project to remove a pair of barriers to fish passage in Halbert Creek, a tributary to the Moclips River, and replace them with a bridge. The barriers are culverts, which are large pipes that carry Halbert Creek under roads. The culverts are on Quinault Indian Reservation in Grays Harbor County. Replacing them will restore access to 2.2 miles of habitat for coho salmon and cutthroat trout. The Tribe also plans to assess stream habitat conditions and complete stream rehabilitation designs for up to .8 mile of the creek. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (16-1322)|
|Quinault Indian Nation||Grant Awarded: $150,000|
|Treating Invasive Knotweed in the Lower Quinault River Floodplain|
|The Quinault Indian Nation’s Division of Natural Resources will use this grant to survey and treat 2,555 acres of invasive knotweed plants in the lower Quinault River floodplain. Knotweed grows vigorously, creating dense colonies that make it hard or impossible for native plants to survive. Its ability to out-compete other plants results in an altered natural landscape. Once established, they are very difficult to remove. The Quinault River is used by Chinook, chum, coho, and sockeye salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. The Quinault Indian Nation will contribute $26,471 in staff labor and a federal grant. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (16-1509)|
Projects in Pacific County
|Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce||Grant Awarded: $185,952|
|Designing an Estuary Off-Channel Fish Passage and Habitat Enhancement Project|
|The Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce will use this grant to complete designs for a project to improve fish passage and off-channel rearing habitat in Hungry Harbor, near Long Beach. The group will replace a 60-inch pipe that sits too high and prevents fish passage into streams and wetlands with a culvert that will allow year-round fish passage. The streams and wetlands are important habitats for juvenile salmon and steelhead and are lacking in the estuary. The designs will include excavation of sediment from the streams, tree and shrub plantings along the shorelines, and placement of large wood structures in the streams to create more varied habitat, feeding opportunities for fish, and cooler water temperatures. This project is the third and final phase of a larger restoration project on three tributaries to the Columbia River along the Washington shoreline, providing important off-channel, sheltered habitat in the estuary for rearing and migrating fish from across the Columbia River system. In earlier phases, an undersized culvert was replaced at Fort Columbia and another culvert will be replaced in Megler Creek. The river is used by lower Columbia River Chinook, coho, and steelhead and by Columbia River chum salmon, all of which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (16-1524)|
|Cowlitz Indian Tribe||Grant Awarded: $599,638|
|Enhancing the Lower South Fork Grays River|
|The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will use this grant to enhance spawning and rearing habitat for winter steelhead and coho by installing engineered logjams in .6 mile of the lower South Fork Grays River and 900 feet of Blaney Creek in Pacific County. Logjams create places for fish to rest and hide from predators. They also slow the river, which reduces erosion and the amount of sediment in the river and allows small gravel to settle to the river bottom for spawning areas. Finally, they change the flow of the river, creating riffles and deep cold pools, giving fish more varied habitat. The logjams will allow stable island formation and foster mature floodplain forest establishment. The shoreline plantings will help shade the water, cooling it for fish. The plants also drop branches and leaves into the water, which provide food for the insects salmon eat and places for salmon to rest and hide from predators. Finally, the roots of the plants help keep the soil from entering the water and burying spawning gravel. The river is used by lower Columbia River Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead, and Columbia River chum salmon, all of which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will contribute $500,000 in a federal grant. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot at Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (16-1534)|
|Pacific County Anglers||Grant Awarded: $238,884|
|Restoring Lower Green Creek|
|The Pacific County Anglers will use this grant to complete restoration of Green Creek, a tributary to the Willapa River, in Pacific County. Crews will remove all the rip-rap at the mouth of the creek, slope the steep south bank to a gentler grade, place logjams in the creek and along the Willapa River shoreline, and replant the shorelines with native trees and shrubs. A small foot bridge that crosses Green Creek will be replaced when the banks are re-sloped. The creek is used by Chinook, chum, and coho salmon, and steelhead and cutthroat trout. The landowner will contribute $42,157 from a federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) grant, which will provide plantings and maintenance of the new trees and shrubs. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (16-1683)|
Grants were given to projects in the counties below.:
|Asotin County||$176,000||Mason County||$78,194|
|Chelan County||$624,512||Okanogan County||$795,488|
|Clallam County||$835,795||Pacific County||$1,024,474|
|Columbia County||$759,585||Pend Oreille County||$261,860|
|Cowlitz County||$97,316||Pierce County||$876,982|
|Grays Harbor County||$509,493||San Juan County||$223,505|
|Island County||$175,144||Skagit County||$901,833|
|Jefferson County||$1,553,093||Snohomish County||$751,613|
|King County||$614,864||Thurston County||$232,908|
|Kitsap County||$279,169||Wahkiakum County||$361,786|
|Kittitas County||$697,938||Walla Walla County||$227,073|
|Klickitat County||$480,197||Whatcom County||$517,519|
|Lewis County||$31,040||Yakima County||$212,341|