Peninsula salmon enhancement projects receive more than $2.3 million in grant funds

OLYMPIA – More than $2 million has been awarded to North Olympic Peninsula projects by the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

Seven projects in Jefferson County received a total of $1,553,093. Two projects in Clallam County received a total of $835,795.

The $2,388,888 in North Olympic Peninsula grants are among the $14.6 million provided to projects statewide to restore salmon habitat in an effort to bring them back from the brink of extinction, according to the state Recreation and Conservation Office, which announced the grants earlier this month.

“These projects around the state are a critical part of our efforts to restore salmon and keep our runs healthy,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “These grants help communities fix what’s damaged and make the land and water better for both people and salmon.” 

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board awarded grants to organizations in 26 counties for 77 projects.

The grants will be used to remove barriers that prevent salmon from migrating, increase the types and amount of habitat for salmon, conserve pristine areas and replant riverbanks so there are more places for salmon to spawn, feed, rest, hide from predators and transition from freshwater to saltwater and back again.

Jefferson County

Here are the projects awarded grants in Jefferson County.

• The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group was awarded $29,436 to buy 2.4 acres in the estuary and historic floodplain of the lower Duckabush River.

The project is part of a larger endeavor. The group also will demolish a building, decommission a well, remove a septic system and plant the riverbanks.

The goal is to restore the tides and reconnect the river to its floodplain to support rearing of young salmon in the Duckabush River.

The salmon enhancement group will contribute $247,005 in grants from the state Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program and the Puget Sound Restoration and Acquisition fund.

• The salmon enhancement group also was awarded $725,473 for planning conservation and restoration in the Big Quilcene Moon Valley Reach.

The group will buy about 100 acres of farmland in the Moon Valley reach of the Big Quilcene River. It also will develop a plan to restore salmon habitat, water quality and flow, a functioning shoreline, flood resilience and recreational access.

The project is the initial phase of restoring floodplain connectivity, spawning and rearing habitat, and shoreline vegetation in this reach of the Big Quilcene River.

The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group will contribute $640,425 in a state grant, Conservation Futures, and donation of labor and materials.

• Another grant to the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group provides $25,398 for a project to plan, design, and get permits for a project to restore habitat and remove fish traps in the lower Duckabush River.

The Duckabush Oxbow Side Channel Restoration Project will be undertaken in partnership with Jefferson County Conservation District and Jefferson Land Trust.

The work will be done on land owned by the Jefferson Land Trust, which is known as the Duckabush Oxbow property.

• A fourth grant to the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group provides $17,609 to study surf smelt and Pacific sand lance and their use of the nearshore in Hood Canal.

These fish are food for salmon and they spawn on beaches. While they play an important role in the food web, relatively little is understood about their basic ecology, particularly related to nearshore habitats, the salmon enhancement group said.

The enhancement group will produce a technical report of findings, new data on the use of Hood Canal nearshore habitats by forage fish, updated maps of forage fish habitats, and a list of priority habitats for conservation and shorelines needing restoration.

The data will be merged into a regional assessment of the potential effects of sea level rise on beach-spawning forage fish and updated shoreline habitat protection plans.

The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group will contribute $42,170 in a grant from the state Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account and donations of equipment and labor.

• Jefferson County was awarded $202,926 to purchase 1 acre of floodplain of the Big Quilcene River and restore the land by removing structures and planting native vegetation.

The land will be added to the inventory of protected lands needed for a larger restoration project that will reconnect the lower river with its floodplain and distributary channels.

Jefferson County will contribute $35,811 in a state grant.

• Wild Fish Conservancy was awarded $389,251 to continue restoration of the Dosewallips floodplain and estuary in Dosewallips State Park.

The conservancy will remove all of the remaining revetment and dike downstream of U.S. Highway 101 on the Dosewallips River, create a new distributary channel system in an area currently used by a park road and more than 20 campsites, build three logjams, place more tree root wads and large logs in the river, and plant the river banks with native trees and shrubs.

The project is a continuation of a partnership with the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission that started in 2002.

The Wild Fish Conservancy will contribute $373,185 in a state grant.

• The 10,000 Years Institute was given $163,000 to remove invasive weeds along 38 miles of shoreline forest along the Hoh River’s floodplain and seven large tributaries.

The group will target knotweed, scotch broom, reed canarygrass and herb Robert.

The 10,000 Years Institute will contribute $30,000 in a state grant and donations of labor and materials.

Clallam County

Here are the projects awarded grants in Clallam County.

• The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe was awarded $600,546 to place tree root wads and large logs in Deep Creek to improve salmon habitat and reconnect the creek to its floodplain.

The wood will be placed at 15 sites in lower Deep Creek.

• The Quileute Tribe was granted $235,249 to remove four barriers to fish migration under Thunder Road in La Push on the Quileute Reservation.

The barriers will be replaced with larger or different types of culverts to carry streams under roads.

Fixing the barriers at these four sites will open more than 22 acres of habitat for use in the winter.

The tribe also will improve 1 mile of road by laying gravel on the surface, improving ditches and drainage structures, and reshaping the forest floor to reduce runoff impacts to fish-bearing streams.

The Quileute Tribe will contribute $133,879 in cash and a federal grant.

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