The state Department of Ecology on Wednesday, Oct. 7, announced the recipients of $22 million in grant funding to support projects protecting rivers and streamflows, and Nisqually-based projects are expected to take home at least $727,000 of that.
Sixty-three applications were submitted to Ecology this year for the Streamflow Restoration Competitive Grants, which were created in 2018 under the Streamflow Restoration law passed by the Legislature.
Though a total 21 projects were selected this year to receive funding, the Legislature intends to authorize about $300 million of funding over 15 years.
Local organizations that will receive funding include the Nisqually Land Trust and the Nisqually River Foundation, as well as Thurston County’s Community Planning and Economic Development and Water Resources Division departments.
The Nisqually Land Trust will receive approximately $296,230 for property acquisitions on the lower Ohop Creek preservation area and other sites.
On the lower Ohop Creek, the Land Trust is looking to acquire an 11.4-acre property along the south shoreline of the creek. The property includes roughly 4 acres of floodplain and 4 acres of valley bluff.
The Land Trust is also looking to collaborate with a local planning unit, regional conservation organizations and a water rights consultant to further investigate water rights identified in the Nisqually Rapid Water Rights Assessment. This project would also help the organization gage with landowners their willingness to participate in a water rights project to benefit streamflow.
The Nisqually River Foundation will receive roughly $431,000 for a streamflow restoration project to benefit the Muck Creek Watershed, which feeds into the Nisqually River.
“Muck Creek is an important salmon-bearing stream in the Pierce County Prairie Tributaries Sub-Basin. This project is the first phase of a multiphase approach to identify, prioritize and construct projects that provide increased streamflow and net ecological benefit to the Muck Creek Basin,” a project description reads.
Thurston County’s two departments will receive about $464,364.
One project aims to draft a feasibility study to redirect seasonal stormwater from the Hidden Forest system to a new managed aquifer recharge site to benefit the Little McAllister Creek.
The county’s second project will draft a feasibility study to evaluate 22 potential water offset sites in the Lackamas and Yelm sub basins.