State Awards $26.1 Million for Salmon Recovery Projects

By Nisqually Valley News Staff
Posted 12/18/19

The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board this week announced that $26.1 million in grants will be awarded for projects across the state aimed at bringing salmon back from the brink of …

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State Awards $26.1 Million for Salmon Recovery Projects

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The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board this week announced that $26.1 million in grants will be awarded for projects across the state aimed at bringing salmon back from the brink of extinction.

The projects receiving funding include money for the Nisqually Land Trust to purchase property along Ohop Creek and in the Lackamas Flats along the Nisqually River floodplain, along with efforts to remove fish barriers and enhance fish habitat in other areas of Thurston and Pierce counties. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board creation and the list of projects announced this week brings the total amount of salmon recovery efforts since the board’s start as follows:

• 713 barriers to migrating fish have been corrected, giving salmon access to 2,082 miles of habitat.

• 537 miles of streams have been conserved to ensure they remain healthy habitat for generations of salmon to come.

• More than 48,500 acres of shorelines, estuaries, wetlands and other stream habitat have been restored.

• More than 17,700 acres of land along rivers, wetlands and estuaries have been cleared of invasive species

The board has approved a total of 3,093 grants and surpassed the $1 billion investment mark since 1999, including matching funds from grant recipients.

“The work being done across the state on salmon recovery is critical,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “These grants for on-the-ground projects will help us restore salmon to healthy levels that allow for both protection and a robust fishery. We must do everything we can to restore this beloved Washington icon and help orcas, which are starving due to lack of salmon, before it is too late.”

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board awarded grants to organizations for 96 projects in 28 of the state’s 39 counties. Grant recipients will use this funding to remove barriers that prevent salmon from migrating to and from the ocean, increase the types and amount of salmon habitat and conserve pristine areas.

Below are some of the projects fund in the local area along with descriptions provided by the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board. For a full list, visit https://bit.ly/2EoiTY2.

 

Nisqually Land Trust Grant Awarded: $81,390 

Conserving Habitat Along Ohop Creek 

The Nisqually Land Trust will use this grant to buy 33.6 acres along Ohop Creek, about 1.2 miles downstream of Ohop Lake. The land includes about 17 acres of floodplain and about .1 mile of the creek. This project will connect protected habitat along the creek. The creek is used by Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern. The Land Trust will contribute $14,500 in a state grant. 

 



Nisqually Land Trust Grant Awarded: $50,000 

Preserving Habitat in the Lackamas Flats 

The Nisqually Land Trust will use this grant to buy 11.4 acres in the Lackamas Flats near the Nisqually River floodplain, including .1 mile of shoreline along Wilcox Reach in Pierce County. By protecting this land, the Land Trust would be providing an opportunity to remove residential and recreational structures and infrastructure in the floodplain. The river is used by Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern. The land trust will contribute $9,000 in a state grant.

 

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group Grant Awarded: $221,000 

Restoring Fish Passage in Lower Horn Creek 

The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group will use this grant to correct two barriers in Horn Creek, a tributary to the Nisqually River, and expand access to more than 8 miles of upstream habitat. The enhancement group will replace the upper barrier with a bridge that will allow fish passage. The enhancement group also will create a deeper plunge pool just downstream of the lower barrier, allowing fish to better make their way passed a 5-foot waterfall as well as use a “fishway” built by the landowner. The creek is used by Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by coho salmon, which are a federal species of concern. The Enhancement Group will contribute $39,000 in cash.

 

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group Grant Awarded: $595,000 

Enhancing Habitat in the Deschutes River 

The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group will use this grant to add large tree root wads and logs to about .3 mile of the Deschutes River and plant the banks of a side channel. Adding logs to a river creates places for fish to rest, feed, and hide from predators. It also slows the river, which reduces erosion and allows small rocks to settle to the bottom, creating areas for salmon to spawn. Finally, logs change the flow of the river, creating riffles and pools, which give salmon more varied habitat. Planting trees and bushes along a shoreline helps 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. Finally, the roots of the plants help keep soil from entering the water, where it can smother fish spawning gravel. The river is used by Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern. The enhancement group will contribute $105,000 from another grant. 

 

Thurston County Grant Awarded: $80,000 

Removing a Barrier on Peissner Road at Elbow Lake Creek 

Thurston County Public Works will use this grant to replace a culvert with a bridge on Peissner Road as it passes over Elbow Lake Creek, a tributary to the Nisqually River. A culvert is a pipe or other structure that carries streams under roads. They often are barriers to fish migration because they can be too steep or too small for fish to pass through easily. The downstream barriers have been removed. Removing this barrier will allow the creek to create a more natural, meandering stream channel and will give fish access to upstream habitat. The bridge also will allow more wood and gravel to move downstream. The river is used by Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern. The County will contribute $44,000 in cash and donations of labor. 

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