Coho Salmon

OLYMPIA–The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board today announced the award of $26.1 million in grants for projects across the state aimed at bringing salmon back from the brink of extinction.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the board’s creation and the suite of projects announced today brings the total amount of salmon recovery since the board’s start as follows:

·         713 barriers to migrating fish corrected, giving salmon access to 2,082 miles of habitat

·         537 miles of streams conserved to ensure they remain healthy habitat for generations of salmon to come

·         More than 48,500 acres of shorelines, estuaries, wetlands, and other stream habitat restored

·         More than 17,700 acres of land along rivers, wetlands, and estuaries cleared of invasive species

With today’s decisions, the board has approved a total of 3,093 grants and surpassed the $1 billion investment mark since 1999, including matching funds from grant recipients.

“The work being done across the state on salmon recovery is critical,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “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.”

“These grants create many other benefits for local communities, such as better water quality, less flooding, more resiliency to climate change and a boost to our statewide economy,” said Phil Rockefeller, chair of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “Since the board’s beginning, its grants have created or sustained more than 4,000 jobs and contributed to the state’s economy as grant recipients spend the money for products and services.”

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board awarded grants to organizations for 96 projects in 28 of the state’s 39 counties. Grant recipients will use this funding to remove barriers that prevent salmon from migrating to and from the ocean, increase the types and amount of salmon habitat and conserve pristine areas.

Projects in Mason County Total:

Great Peninsula Conservancy Grant Awarded: $511,000 Buying and Protecting Land on the Hahobas Shoreline The Great Peninsula Conservancy will use this grant to buy about 100 acres of lowland forest and shoreline near Dewatto Bay in Mason County. The land includes about .6 mile of Hood Canal shoreline, 1.2 miles of streams, and 8.45 acres of tidelands. The land includes habitat for salmon and surf smelt, as well as eelgrass beds, feeder bluffs, streams, and forest. The river is used by Chinook and chum salmon, and steelhead trout, all of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern. The conservancy will contribute $721,000 in a federal grant and donations of cash. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (19-1293)

Projects in Thurston County Total: $927,871

Capitol Land Trust Grant Awarded: $75,000 Preserving Land Near McLane Creek The Capitol Land Trust will use this grant to buy 55 acres near McLane Creek in lower Ed Inlet. The land includes 9.5 acres of tidal mud flats, 46 acres of coastal wetlands, and .6 mile of Salmon Recovery Grants Awarded December 2019 31 shoreline. The river is used by Chinook salmon, which is a species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern. The land trust will contribute $265,500 in a federal grant and donations of land. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (19-1398)

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group Grant Awarded: $595,000 Enhancing Habitat in the Deschutes River The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group will use this grant to add large tree root wads and logs to about .3 mile of the Deschutes River and plant the banks of a side channel. 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 bottom, creating areas for salmon to spawn. Finally, logs change the flow of the river, creating riffles and pools, which give salmon more varied habitat. Planting trees and bushes along a shoreline helps shade the water, cooling it for fish. The plants also drop branches and leaves into the water, which provide food for the insects salmon eat. Finally, the roots of the plants help keep soil from entering the water, where it can smother fish spawning gravel. The river is used by Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern. The enhancement group will contribute $105,000 from another grant. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (19-1443)

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group Grant Awarded: $177,871 Replacing a Barrier to Fish Passage on Beatty Creek The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group will use this grant to replace a barrier to fish passage where Beatty Creek passes under Chelsie Lane. The barrier is a culvert, which is a pipe or other structure that carries water under a road. Culverts can block fish migration when they collapse. The culvert failed in 2018, and portions of the road and dirt inundated the creek and damaged utilities affecting 15 households. Replacing the culvert will restore natural stream processes and mitigate for climate change. The creek is used by steelhead trout, which is a species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, by coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern, and by chum salmon and resident and searun cutthroat trout. The enhancement group will contribute $560,207 from donations of cash, labor, and materials. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (19-1417)

Thurston County Grant Awarded: $80,000 Removing a Barrier on Peissner Road at Elbow Lake Creek Thurston County Public Works will use this grant to replace a culvert with a bridge on Peissner Road as it passes over Elbow Lake Creek, a tributary to the Nisqually River. A culvert is a pipe or Salmon Recovery Grants Awarded December 2019 32 other structure that carries streams under roads. They often are barriers to fish migration because they can be too steep or too small for fish to pass through easily. The downstream barriers have been removed. Removing this barrier will allow the creek to create a more natural, meandering stream channel and will give fish access to upstream habitat. The bridge also will allow more wood and gravel to move downstream. The river is used by Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern. The County will contribute $44,000 in cash and donations of labor. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. (19-1349)

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