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

Salmon recovery board awards grants for salmon stream projects

 

September 30, 2021



The Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board on Sept. 23 announced the award of $21 million in grants across the state to aid in salmon recovery.

The grants, given annually, went to 105 projects in 29 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 from reaching the ocean, and conserving pristine habitat.

“Salmon are important to every Washingtonian, whether they spend time fishing, eat salmon, rely on salmon for their business or use salmon in their cultural celebrations,” said Gov. Jay Inslee in a news release. “It’s imperative that we improve the areas salmon need, and these grants help do that.”

Wahkiakum County received funding for a tidegate replacement on Oneida Road, $79,000. The highest funding, $1.9 million, went to Pacific County, and Cowlitz County received funding of $990,342 for projects on Germany Creek and the Toutle River.

Projects involving Wahkiakum County watersheds include:

Columbia Land Trust, $600,000

Conserving the Grays River Area Watershed: The Columbia Land Trust will use this grant to buy and permanently conserve 536 acres in the Grays River watershed in Pacific and Wahkiakum Counties in southwest Washington. The land contains forest and productive river shoreline habitat, including the headwaters of Crazy Johnson Creek, a half-mile of the Grays River, and a number of unnamed tributaries. Purchase of the land will enable the land trust to sustainably manage the forest to improve shoreline conditions and reduce erosion and sedimentation. The land trust will open the property to public access, and will continue to pay taxes to support the local community. The area is used by Chinook, chum, and coho salmon and steelhead trout, all of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Columbia Land Trust will contribute $2.4 million in a grant from RCO’s Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and donated cash.

Wahkiakum Conservation District, $79,000

Designing Oneida Road Tide Gate Improvements: The conservation district will use this grant to design improvements to fish passage at the location of a tide gate under Oneida Road in Deep River. The goal of the project is to improve fish passage and flow in an estuary and forested wetland. The tidally influenced section of the river is used by chum, coho, and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, all of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. The district will contribute $16,000 in staff labor and a state grant.

Cowlitz Indian Tribe Grant, $684,899

Restoring the Grays River: The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will use this grant to correct three barriers to fish passage, opening 5.4 miles of habitat in the headwaters of the Grays River in Pacific County. The Tribe will remove debris flow jams and redistribute the sediment captured behind the jams to restore more natural channel conditions. The Tribe also will place engineered log structures in 1.2 miles of the river. Adding logs to a river creates places for fish to rest, feed, and hide from predators. It also slows the river, which reduces erosion and allows small rocks to settle to the riverbed, creating areas for salmon to spawn. Finally, logs change the flow of the river, creating riffles and pools, which give salmon more varied habitat. The project will benefit coho, chum, and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, all of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will contribute $601,700 in a state grant.

 

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