The North Olympic Peninsula is receiving nearly $7.1 million in grant funding aimed at restoring salmon habitat and populations, state officials have announced.
The funding in Clallam and Jefferson counties is part of $45 million in grants intended to restore chinook salmon, a critical food source for endangered Southern Resident orcas, and other Puget Sound salmon populations.
Projects in Clallam County were awarded a total of $6.49 million and Jefferson County projects saw a total of $601,529 in this round of funding.
The projects and awards announced last week include $300,000 for preserving the Lower Big Quilcene floodplain in Jefferson County and $3.04 million for restoration efforts in the Dungeness River floodplain in Clallam County.
The state Salmon Recovery Funding Board, in partnership with the Puget Sound Partnership, awarded 64 grants in counties surrounding Puget Sound.
The state Recreation and Conservation Office houses the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
• Protecting Duckabush River, $131,000
The Jefferson Land Trust will use this grant to buy 25 acres near the Duckabush River that are zoned for residential development and under increasing pressure for logging.
The land trust will contribute $24,792 in a local grant.
• Preserving Lower Big Quilcene floodplain, $300,000
The Jefferson County Public Health Department will use this grant to buy land in a floodplain near the Big Quilcene River to allow for future restoration of spawning habitat for summer chum and help the river reconnect to historic floodplain areas.
Jefferson County will contribute $78,000 in conservation futures.
• Conserving Dosewallips River, $170,529
The Jefferson County Public Health Department will use this grant to buy 21 acres of shoreline and develop designs to restore salmon habitat and connect floodplains near the Powerlines Reach.
Jefferson County of will contribute $52,917 in a state grant.
• Restoring the Dungeness River floodplain, $3.04 million
Clallam County will use this grant to reconnect eight-tenths of a mile of the Dungeness River with 112 acres of its historic floodplain by moving a portion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ east bank levee and relocating Towne Road.
The county will improve habitat conditions, restore natural river and floodplain processes, and incorporate walking trails in the project.
The county will contribute $552,036 in another state grant.
• Adding logjams in Elwha River for fish habitat, $1.35 million
The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, in partnership with the city of Port Angeles, will use this grant to add 24 logjams and reinforce three natural logjams along 1 mile of the Elwha River.
This section of the river at Ranney Reach has few deep, cold pools; not enough woody materials; and too much fast-moving water in winter.
Logjams create places for fish to rest, feed, and hide from predators. They also slow the river, which reduces erosion and allows small rocks to settle to the riverbed, creating areas for salmon to spawn.
Finally, logjams change the flow of the river, creating riffles and pools, which give salmon more varied habitat.
Between 1999 and 2017, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe built 52 logjams in the Elwha River.
This phased, ongoing logjam creation is one of the largest projects of its kind anywhere in the world.
The tribe will contribute $250,000 from Port Angeles and a $150,000 federal grant.
• Conserving Clallam Bay, $135,151
The North Olympic Land Trust will use this grant to buy 71 acres of important habitat for salmon and steelhead at the mouth of the Clallam River in Clallam Bay.
The land includes a half-mile of the Clallam River, highly active floodplain, a quarter-mile of Swamp Creek and tributaries, two fish-bearing forested wetlands, and other short channel segments that provide diverse freshwater habitat.
The land trust will control noxious weeds and do some planting to supplement work done after recent logging.
• Protecting the lower Elwha River, $332,609
The North Olympic Land Trust will use this grant to buy a conservation easement on 33 acres along the Elwha River.
The land includes about four-tenths of a mile of the Elwha River, a side channel and significant floodplain habitat.
The agreement will conserve a buffer along the Elwha River floodplain and preclude future development.
The land is next to land owned by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and allows access for pedestrians.
The land trust will contribute $58,696 in cash and other resources.
• Preserving Morse Creek, $8,135
The North Olympic Land Trust will use this grant to buy 97.3 acres along Morse Creek, conserving about 1 mile of important salmon and shoreline habitat.
The land trust also will remove the hydroelectric operation and spillway near Morse Creek.
The North Olympic Land Trust will contribute $120,825 in cash donations.
• Restoring Upper Dungeness River, $700,000
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe will use this grant to build at least 12 logjams in the upper Dungeness and Gray Wolf rivers in Olympic National Forest.
During many past decades, the former practice of removing large trees and wood from rivers has severely degraded salmon habitat. While wood removal has stopped, these reaches remain extremely lacking in wood-formed habitat.
The U.S. Forest Service, which is partnering with the tribe on this project, will contribute $125,000 in donations of materials.
• Conserving the Elwha River estuary, $573,239
The Coastal Watershed Institute will use this grant to conserve up to 20 acres of the historical west estuary of the Elwha River along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The institute will work with willing sellers to protect marine shoreline and establish long-term estuary conservation management.
The Elwha River is known for previously supporting legendary salmon runs. With its two dams now removed, attention has turned to protection and restoration efforts in the estuary and lower river to ensure that the watershed has adequate rearing habitat for the needs of recovering salmon populations.
Nearly 97 percent of the Elwha River is under conservation management. However, none of the historical west estuary is managed for conservation.
The Coastal Watershed Institute will contribute $109,000 from a federal grant.
• Restoring Dungeness riverbank habitat, $96,878
The North Olympic Salmon Coalition will use this grant to remove weeds and plant 25 acres along 1 mile of the Dungeness River near Sequim.
The coalition will eliminate or control noxious weeds, plant 25 acres with native shrubs and trees, and maintain the plantings until a riverbank forest takes root in about 5 years.
The coalition will contribute $17,334 in cash and donations of materials.
• Assessing the Elwha River estuary, $167,000
The Coastal Watershed Institute will use this grant to evaluate the effects of the Place Road levee on lower Elwha River habitat and processes.
The Elwha River was the site of a watershed-scale restoration project that removed two dams to restore habitat-sustaining processes throughout the entire river system.
The institute will increase its understanding of the effect of the levee on the habitat, evaluate the levee’s effectiveness and develop alternatives to modify the levee to improve habitat and maintain flood protection. The levee isolates more than 6 acres of historic estuary from the Elwha River.
The institute will contribute $33,000 in a federal grant.
• Restoring Western Clallam County watersheds, $85,201
The North Olympic Salmon Coalition will use this grant to replant and restore 20 acres of riverbank in western Clallam County along waterways that empty into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Many watersheds in this area, which includes rivers such as the Clallam, Sekiu, Hoko, and Pysht, have degraded shorelines dominated by deciduous trees or invasive species. These conditions have impacted water quality and sedimentation.
The North Olympic Salmon Coalition will contribute $16,667.