Peninsula Daily News
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The culverts were replaced earlier this year with a 30-foot-long bridge to span the creek, provide fish access and prevent water from flowing over the top of Weel Road.
The project was accomplished through a partnership with private landowner Ken Sadilek and was financed by the state Recreation and Conservation Office’s Family Forest Fish Passage Program, which provides funding to small forest landowners to repair or remove fish passage barriers.
The bridge was manufactured by Big R Bridge of Greely, Colo., and construction and installation was completed by 2 Grade LLC of Port Angeles.
The total cost of the design, project management, engineering and construction was $75,000.
Weel Road was built in the 1950s to provide vehicle access through a large wetland and across the creek.
Over time, a beaver dammed the culverts, causing flooding over the road and blocking juvenile fish from a 16-acre forested wetland located upstream of the road.
“This project has corrected a flooding problem in addition to re-establishing access to ideal wintering habitat for juvenile coho salmon,” said Jamie Michel, assistant project manager for the North Olympic Salmon Coalition.
Michel reported seeing abundant populations of juvenile coho salmon taking advantage of the newly available habitat.
Coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout are likely to use the newly available habitat, Michel said, adding that the wetland is a particularly important rearing habitat for juvenile coho salmon looking to escape high winter flows in the Clallam River.
The salmon coalition is a community-based nonprofit organization that works with willing landowners and volunteers to restore salmon habitat on the North Olympic Peninsula.
It has been working on salmon habitat restorations along the Strait of Juan de Fuca for more than 20 years and is based in Port Hadlock with a satellite office in Port Angeles. For more information, visit nosc.org or phone 360-379-8051.