Jefferson County estuary to be restored

Duckabush gets grant of more than $19M

OLYMPIA — Projects on the North Olympic Peninsula have received $21,314,496 in grant funding from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, with the largest being $19,174,000 to restore the Duckabush Estuary in Jefferson County.

Grants awarded to five Jefferson County projects total $20,057,474 while those for four projects in Clallam County add up to $1,257,022.

The more-than-$19 million grant given to the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group will fund construction that “will bring to fruition 20 years of collaboration and investment by a consortium of partners that formed the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project to identify opportunities for shoreline habitat restoration,” said the salmon recovery funding board in a press release.

The estuary, located primarily on state Department of Fish and Wildlife-managed lands in the Duckabush Unit of the North Olympic Wildlife Area, has been degraded for almost a century by a wall of highway fill that nearly severs the estuary from tidelands, according to the release.

The project would reconnect the river to its floodplain and wetlands by removing highway fill across the estuary, modifying local roads, elevating U.S. Highway 101 onto an estuary-spanning bridge and reconnecting historic channels.

In addition, four undersized culverts will be changed to improve connectivity and fish passage.

The project is a partnership between the enhancement group, the state departments of Fish and Wildlife and Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The estuary is used by chum, coho and pink salmon and steelhead trout.

Other Jefferson County projects that received funding are:

• Jefferson County was awarded $217,945 to design the restoration of the Dosewallips River’s Powerlines Reach.

The county’s Public Health Department will use the grant to develop conceptual and preliminary designs for restoration actions that will improve habitat and floodplain connectivity in the largely protected and unconfined Powerlines Reach of the Dosewallips River.

In addition, the designs will call for purchase of the shoreline in the lower Lazy C reach for future restoration. The county will acquire access agreements or easements.

The river is used by chum salmon. The restoration work will aim to protect core habitats and restore normal river systems.

• North Olympic Salmon Coalition was given $468,065 to restore the Snow Creek Uncas Preserve.

The coalition will design, permit and place logjams in a half mile of Snow Creek.

The creek is used by steelhead trout and chum and coho salmon.

• Pacific Coast Salmon Coalition was provided $167,923 to restore fish passage in Morganroth Springs.

The coalition, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, will remove a deteriorated water control structure in the Bogachiel River and restore the natural processes of the river.

The creek is used by steelhead trout and coho salmon.

• Trout Unlimited Inc. was given $29,541 to remove two culverts on Cassel Creek in the Hoh River watershed to improve fish migration and habitat in the creek

The creek is used by steelhead trout and coho salmon.

Trout Unlimited will contribute $5,300 in a private grant.

Clallam County

The North Olympic Salmon Coalition was given grants for three projects in Clallam County:

• $1,015,889 to restore fish passage in Johnson Creek;

• $43,983 to design fish passage in a Hoko River tributary;

• $25,935 to restore the Dungeness shoreline.

In addition, Trout Unlimited Inc. was awarded $171,215 to design fish passage in Upper Wisen Creek.

The Johnson Creek project will see three culverts replaced with a structure that will open nearly 16 acres of rearing and 2.4 miles of spawning and rearing habitat in Johnson Creek off Sequim Bay.

The coalition also will move the Johnson B tributary to the adjacent forest and place large woody materials in the water to improve the salmon habitat.

The creek is used by chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout.

The grant for the Hoko River tributary project will be used to complete designs for replacement of a road culvert.

The river is used by chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout.

The coalition will contribute $249,235 in a grant from the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board.

The grant for the Dungeness Shoreline project will fund removal of invasive plants on 36 acres along the Dungeness River near Sequim. The coalition also will plant and seed 14 acres with native shrubs and trees and maintain the plantings for three years to improve plant survival.

The river is used by chinook, chum and coho salmon, steelhead and bull trout.

The North Olympic Salmon Coalition will contribute $39,000 in a federal grant.

The coalition is requesting an additional $92,625 from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration grant program that will be considered by the Legislature in 2023.

The grant to Trout Unlimited Inc. will fund preliminary designs to correct two salmon and steelhead barriers on Wisen Creek in the Sol Duc watershed.

The creek is used by steelhead trout and by coho salmon.

The local grants announced last week are part of nearly $76 million allocated across the state to help salmon.

The board also approved an additional $58 million in grant requests for 55 projects through the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration program once funding is approved by the Legislature in 2023. If approved, the combined funding would be the largest amount of money directed at salmon recovery in a single year since the board was created 23 years ago.

The grants that were funded today went to 138 projects in 30 of the state’s 39 counties. The grants will pay for work to restore salmon habitat, including repairing degraded habitat in rivers, removing barriers blocking salmon migration and conserving pristine habitat.

“This is incredibly important work,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “The projects will help restore salmon across the state. That means more salmon for our endangered orcas, more jobs for people and industries that rely on salmon and improved habitat that can better protect us from floods and the effects of climate change.”

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