SEQUIM — The North Olympic Salmon Coalition honored 10 years of work and partnerships made along the way in its 3 Crabs nearshore and estuarine restoration project at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the estuary off 3 Crabs Road earlier this month.
Kevin Long, senior project manager for the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, said the work was not easy.
“We did it for all of us here,” Long said. “We did it for the community, for juvenile chinook salmon, to remove contaminants from the shoreline and food chain which we all are a part of, and we did it for the birds.”
This restoration project is one of many NOSC has implemented in areas throughout the Olympic Peninsula.
It was made possible by 29 stakeholders and supporters involved in the project.
“Without these groups this project would have never happened,” Long said.
It cost about $4.2 million to design, permit and construct the project, he said.
NOSC received about $199,962 in grant money from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board in early December that it plans to put toward restoring about 22 acres of the Dungeness River estuary.
The Dec. 18 ceremony kicked off with a special opening by Jamestown S’Klallam tribal members Kurt Grinnell and his daughter, Loni Grinnell-Greninger, who sang a verse from “The Happy Song” — a song that originated with the Jamestown S’klallam Tribe.
“We chose this work, and it’s good work,” Grinnell-Greninger said. “Not only does it benefit us here, but it benefits our environment and our animals.”
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is one of the many partners involved in the project, along with the North Olympic Land Trust, the state Recreation & Conservation office, and many more.
Representatives from these organizations spoke at the ceremony along with state representatives Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger of Legislative District 24, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula.
Tom Sanford, executive director of the the North Olympic Land Trust, said in his speech that the project is important for preserving the lower Dungeness River ecosystem.
“A vision has been created for this place,” Sanford said.
“This project makes sure the lower Dungeness maintains a quality of life that makes this place an amazing one on this planet.”
Phil Rockefeller of the state Recreation & Conservation Office said this project creates a need for accountability.
“A long-term return of salmon are in store for projects like this,” he said.
Long said while there is no longer a restaurant at the site, “we still continue to serve salmon every day.”
The goal for this project, Long said, was to restore salmon access to the marsh by removing structures from the area, such as infrastructure, fill and armoring at the site of the former 3 Crabs Restaurant.
The project also created a public access point from 3 Crabs Road at a newly established U.S. Fish and Wildlife area along the Dungeness Bay and Meadowbrook Creek, the last freshwater tributary to the Dungeness River that provides rearing habitat for out-migrating Dungeness River salmon, according the the organization’s website.
Long said the idea is to create a habitat where salmon can return and juvenile salmon can grow and get as big as possible before swimming out to sea.
The Dungeness estuary and Dungeness Bay support an average of 7,500 waterfowl during migration and winter, the organization’s website says, and the habitat restoration of this area benefits a variety of waterfowl species by improving access to habitat types.
The project, among its many other feats, has restored ecological function to over 40 acres of coastal wetlands and one-half mile stream channel.
To learn more about the project, visit the North Olympic Salmon Coalition’s website at https://nosc.org/.