Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Feb. 18, 2020

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State salmon board awards grants for three county projects

Work will design projects to remove barriers, assess cold-water habitat, add nutrient-rich salmon carcasses

The Columbian
Published:

The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board has awarded $26.1 million for 96 fish projects in 28 of the state’s 39 counties, including $309,000 for three projects in Clark County.

One of the three county projects includes work in Cowlitz County.

Designing fish passage improvements in Jones Creek: The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will use the $99,572 grant to develop designs to correct two barriers to migrating fish where Boulder Creek Road crosses this tributary to the Little Washougal River.

Fixing these barriers will restore access to 2 miles of habitat. The watershed is used by coho salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will donate labor valued at $17,600.

Assessing East Fork of the Lewis River for cold-water habitat: The Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership will use the $150,034 grant to identify cold-water habitat in 16 miles of the river, from Lucia Falls west to La Center.

The partnership will map these habitats, also referred to as thermal refuge areas, and identify their restoration and protection potential. The East Fork is used by chinook, chum and coho salmon and steelhead trout, all of which are listed as threatened with extinction.

The Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership will donate labor valued at $27,782.

Adding nutrients into salmon-bearing rivers: The Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group will use the $59,729 grant to place 60,000 salmon carcasses in 90 river miles in the East Fork of the Lewis and Washougal watersheds in Clark County and the Kalama and Toutle watersheds in Cowlitz County during the next three years.

Adding salmon carcasses provides nutrients that benefit fish, other wildlife and streamside vegetation. The project will coordinate dispersal sites and volunteers and record where carcasses are placed. The watersheds are used by threatened chinook, chum and coho salmon and steelhead trout.

The Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group will donate labor valued at $14,500.

$1 billion investment

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s creation.

With the 96 awards announced earlier this month, the board has approved 3,093 grants and surpassed the $1 billion investment mark, including matching funds from grant recipients.

Twenty years of project has or will:

• Correct 713 barriers to migrating fish, giving salmon access to 2,082 miles of habitat.

• Conserve 537 miles of streams so they remain healthy habitat for future salmon generations.

• Restore more than 48,500 acres of shorelines, estuaries, wetlands and other aquatic habitat.

• Clear invasive species from more than 17,700 acres along rivers, wetlands and estuaries.

“The work being done across the state on salmon recovery is critical,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “These grants for on-the-ground projects will help us restore salmon to healthy levels that allow for both protection and a robust fishery.

“We must do everything we can to restore this beloved Washington icon and help orcas, which are starving due to lack of salmon, before it is too late.”

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