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News / Clark County News

Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s salmon projects gets funding

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: August 15, 2023, 5:58am

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s plans to restore salmon and steelhead movement in local Columbia River tributaries will receive full funding through a new federal program.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the tribe more than $7.5 million for two fish restoration projects in Skamania County.

  • Hardy Creek Fish Passage ($5 million): This project will remove a fish barrier at a BNSF Railway crossing on Hardy Creek. Removing the block is slated to provide fish access to 296 meters of spawning and rearing habitat between the railroad and barrier at state Highway 14.
  • Indian Mary Springs Fish Passage ($2.55 million): Two undersized culverts on the Indian Mary Springs will be removed and replaced with a new 90-foot steel bridge crossing. The project will improve young salmon access to cool water habitat.

The Department of Transportation will provide $58 million for 23 projects across Washington through the first round of its National Culvert Removal, Replacement and Restoration Program.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said she created the grant to further restoration efforts in watersheds that salmon and steelhead rely on.

“Washingtonians are going to see more salmon coming back to rivers all across the Evergreen state,” she said in a statement. “(The grants) will restore miles of salmon and steelhead habitat, helping revitalize communities that depend on these iconic fish for their livelihoods, recreation, and Treaty rights,”

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Columbian staff writer