Salmon recovery projects in Jefferson County get financial boost

Leader news staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 9/28/20

Four projects in Jefferson County have won grants as part of an $18 million package to help salmon recover in Washington state by removing barriers that block fish passage, plus river restoration and …

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Salmon recovery projects in Jefferson County get financial boost

The existing Morganroth Springs fishway. The design of the replacement fishway.
LEFT: The existing Morganroth Springs fishway.
Image courtesy of Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office
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Image courtesy of Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office
Posted

Four projects in Jefferson County have won grants as part of an $18 million package to help salmon recover in Washington state by removing barriers that block fish passage, plus river restoration and replanting efforts.

The grants were awarded late last week by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

Board officials said grants will go to 91 projects across the state. The board also approved Puget Sound projects that total $38 million, which will be funded from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund next year if the Legislature gives its OK.

“These grants are the lifeblood of our salmon recovery efforts in Washington state,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in an announcement Thursday, Sept. 17.

“They fund the core of our efforts and attract $37.5 million from other sources. These grants, along with the hard work invested by thousands of people working in our state to save salmon, have gone a long way to slowing the decline of salmon,” he added.

Officials said the grants will help restore Washington’s dwindling salmon; 17 species of salmon, steelhead and bull trout in Washington are currently on the Endangered Species Act list.

Grant funding for saving salmon is distributed annually by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, which was set up in 1999 to determine how to funnel state and federal funding into recovery projects.

Three groups in Jefferson County will get grants to assist with project funding: the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group; the Pacific Coast Salmon Coalition; and Trout Unlimited.

The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group was awarded a $45,700 grant for land appraisals along the Lower Big Quilcene River.

The money will be used as part of a $454,650 project to buy
11.45 acres in the Big Quilcene River estuary in the upper west corner of Quilcene Bay in Hood Canal and restore the land’s estuary function. 

Officials said the river is used by chum salmon, a species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The $45,700 grant will go toward appraisals and cultural reviews.

The enhancement group will contribute $81,000 in a state grant, and the project also will seek additional funding from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration fund.

The Pacific Coast Salmon Coalition was awarded a grant for $23,546, which will be used to design a project that will address a failing wooden embankment and fishway at the outlet of Morganroth Springs wetland, which is used by coho salmon and steelhead trout.

Morganroth Springs flow into the Bogachiel River, and the project’s design will feature a more permanent solution that restores natural conditions and processes, officials noted, and requires no maintenance.

Trout Unlimited was awarded two grants.

The first grant is for $111,920, which will be used to evaluate about 1.7 miles of Owl Creek and its floodplain, with a plan for habitat restoration to follow.

Owl Creek is used by coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Trout Unlimited will use the grant to evaluate about 1.7 miles of Owl Creek and its floodplain and then develop a plan for habitat restoration. Trout Unlimited said it will use the grant to review background data, engage stakeholders, collect data, evaluate geomorphology and hydrology, and develop preliminary and conceptual designs. 

Trout Unlimited received a second grant, for $244,601, to fix a barrier to migrating fish in an unnamed tributary to Matheny Creek under Forest Service Road 2100. Matheny Creek is home to coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

Officials said the project will protect against road washout of Road 2100, prevent unnatural erosion, and re-establish the natural transport of sediment and woody materials through the site to support habitat formation processes. The potential of a road washout at the site in the Olympic National Forest has been determined to be a “significant threat” to fish and habitat downstream.

Trout Unlimited Inc. will contribute $200,000 in matching funds; the total project costs have been estimated at $450,528.

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