Agencies to drop logs to attract salmon to creek

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The Mount St. Helens Institute and the U.S. Forest Service begin restoring fish habitat this week on Slide Creek, on the East Fork of the Lewis River.

Part of a whole-watershed restoration initiative, the two entities will partner in the project intended to foster salmon spawning, said Amy Tanska, the institute's director of volunteer services, Tuesday.

Specifically, the groups will hire a contractor to helicopter over the stream and place logs strategically in order to slow down the rate of flow. Doing so, Tanska said, will allow debris to accumulate, creating a better spawning environment.

The accumulated sediment, pebbles and substrate will have a noticeable effect on next year's glacial snowmelt, according to Tanska.

In total, more than 200 logs will be deposited in the creek.

The helicopter will be used, in part, because of the treacherous surrounding terrain, which varies in elevation from 1,300 to 1,800 feet and consists of deep canyons and steep slopes.

The project costs $193,000 and is 50 percent funded through a private grant. "This is the second similar project of this type. We were partners in the first one, in 2011, on Clearwater Creek," Tanska said. "It was very successful -- the appropriate substrate was deposited."

The institute will take the lead on monitoring stream conditions, purchasing and supervision, including snorkel surveys.