Hoquiam dam removal project receives $1.2 million in funding

The City of Hoquiam announced that their West Fork Dam Removal Project is one of 36 projects in the nation recommended for funding within the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through the Restoring Fish Passage through Barrier Removal funding opportunity.

The funding was part of a release by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and totals $1.2 million.

According to the agency, the City of Hoquiam would use the funding to assess the feasibility of removing the West Fork of the Hoquiam River Dam. 

The project would involve installing and testing groundwater wells as an alternative water source for the city. 

If found feasible, the effort would open 13 miles of habitat for salmon and provide a more reliable water supply for city residents. 

City Administrator Brian Shay tells KXRO that the project “will provide tremendous long-term benefits for the citizens of Hoquiam, the environment and our critical salmon stocks”. 

The local funding was part of nearly $40 million statewide being allocated for removal of fish passage barriers.

Of the 10 projects funded in Washington, nine will be led by or completed in partnership with Tribes. Together, these projects will help recover habitats for endangered migratory fish and support the sustainability of commercial, recreational, and Tribal fisheries.

“When completed we will remove the second worst fish barrier in the entire Chehalis Basin Watershed opening up 13 miles of new salmon habitat, while also providing a new, safe, reliable drinking water source for our community.” said Shay.

The City of Hoquiam has been working on this project since 2009 and hopes to reach completion by the end of 2027, subject to future grant applications for construction.  

This specific NOAA grant will allow the City to complete pre-design of the dam removal, install production groundwater wells, and initiate water right permitting.