WDFW invites public input on proposed estuary restoration project

Groups proposing project to reconnect Duckabush River to neighboring floodplains, wetlands

BRINNON — The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is encouraging the public to review and comment on a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed 38-acre restoration project on the Duckabush River estuary in Jefferson County, according to a press release.

Comments can be provided online or by mail from now through Feb. 20.

People can learn about the project’s environmental impacts and provide written or oral comments at a public open house Saturday, Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon at Brinnon School, 46 Schoolhouse Road, according to the release.

“The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (HCSEG), is proposing a project that would reconnect the Duckabush River to neighboring floodplains and wetlands,” the email release said.

“The project would remove fill, modify local roads and elevate Highway 101 onto a bridge spanning the area where freshwater from the Duckabush River meets saltwater of Hood Canal.”

WDFW is leading state environmental review in accordance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). As part of that review, WDFW is developing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) that identifies possible environmental impacts and avoidance, minimization and mitigation options that were not identified in previous environmental documents for the project.

“WDFW selected four elements of the environment for analysis in this draft SEIS based on interest during a public scoping process: water; plants and animals; transportation; and noise,” said Theresa Mitchell, WDFW environmental planner, in the press release.

“Review of this draft by the public and decision-makers allows the opportunity to provide input into the final SEIS. A final SEIS will be issued in mid-2020 that will include responses to comments received on this draft SEIS.”

The Duckabush River estuary is impacted by fill, dikes and road infrastructure, which blocks water channels and limits critical habitat for fish and wildlife, including endangered salmon species, according to the release.

For more information on the project, visit www.wdfw.wa.gov/duckabush.

Written comments can be mailed to Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, WDFW Habitat Program, Protection Division, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504-3200.

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