Local culvert replacement timeline may be expedited

A new board responsible for restoring fish habitat by expediting the removal of fish barriers in Washington’s streams will hold its first meeting June 17 in Olympia.

The Fish Passage Barrier Removal Board will develop a statewide strategy for removing fish barriers on state, local and private lands. Washington has an estimated 30,000 fish barriers, such as culverts, which impede the migration of steelhead and salmon.

Grays Harbor County Commissioner Frank Gordon said that efforts continue to remove any barriers for fish. This includes a project approved this month along the Ocean Beach Road and Chenois(SHUN-NOOSE) Creek.

Commissioner Frank Gordon says this project will have a significant impact on fish that use that creek to spawn.

In 2001 the treaty tribes in western Washington, including the Quinault Indian Nation, filed suit under U.S. v. Washington, challenging the existence of fish blocking culverts. A 2013 federal court injunction requires Washington to remove hundreds of state-owned culverts by 2030.

The board was created earlier this year through state legislation that streamlines the permitting process for the projects. The board will give preference to projects that will most benefit threatened or endangered species.

Board members will meet at 9 a.m. June 17 in Olympia. All meetings are open to the public but only board members will participate in the discussion.

Information on future board meetings, as well as meeting agendas and notes, can be found on the Fish Passage Barrier Removal Board’s web page at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/fpbrb/.

Photo Property of NWIFC
Photo Property of NWIFC


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