The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Wahkiakum MRC wins fishery, restoration funds


The Washington legislature has budgeted $835,000 for habitat restoration and fisher development in Wahkiakum County.

The funding is part of $11.7 million in projects allocated for marine resource committees, nonprofit organizations, tribes and agencies for restoration and habitat work.

Locally, Wahkiakum Marine Resource Committee (MRC) handled the application for the funding.

Wahkiakum County's Road Department will benefit with $535,000 for restoration projects, including a culvert replacement at Clear Creek and another small tributary in the Elochoman Valley. Some funding will go for design work for small projects on the Altoona/Pillar Rock Road. The local match is $720,000.

County Public works Director Pete Ringen appreciated the additional funding for the Clear Creek project, which requires replacing a failing culvert with a new bridge.

Another $300,000 is designated for selective fishery projects, which will be administered by Port District No. 2. These include a new phase in the long-term work by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Columbia River fishers using and studying alternative gear and implementing new select area fisheries such as in the Cathlamet channel. This phase will provide skills and tools, including a mobile processing trailer, to help the commercial fishers to develop new markets.

Specialists from Washington State University's Food Science Program, the state Department of Agriculture, University of Washington SeaGrant, the Small Business Development Center and local banks will provide training and advice in processing, handling, financing and marketing.

Part of the program, said Carrie Backman, county WSU Cooperative Extension Agent, is to provide an ice machine and mobile processing trailer that will allow fishers to clean their fish, ice them down, and sell directly to buyers, such as restaurants. This will increase the value of the fish, she said.


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