State Salmon Recovery Funding Reaches Pierce and Thurston County Projects

“The Salmon Recovery Funding Board has granted $13.34 million for salmon recovery projects across the state. A number of projects in the South Sound region received funding for work to better salmon habitat.The Salmon Recovery Funding Board approved funding for over $13 million in salmon recovery grants around the state at its March 16 and 17 Board meeting in Wenatchee. This first funding cycle will provide money to projects that will provide positive benefits to help restore salmon in the state, said Salmon Recovery Funding Board Chair William Ruckelshaus. The watershed groups – or Lead Entities as they are called – did an excellent job of providing the Board with a good list of projects from which to choose.Funds were distributed to 84 individual projects in 45 of the 62 watershed areas in the state. Of the 84 projects: 19 involve acquisition of key salmon habitat, 47 focus on in-stream work such as fish screens, 14 support riparian habitat improvements, including vegetation plantings for stream shading, and four focus on upland habitat changes.The grants are the result of a call for proposals by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board earlier this year. The Board received 245 grant applications requesting a total of $42 million.The Board established expert Review Panels to review the local methods used in identifying and bringing forward projects for funding. Projects were proposed by a wide range of interest groups including local governments, nonprofit organizations, and tribes.In each watershed area the projects were reviewed by a technical committee of scientists and were ranked by a citizen committee. These groups were established under the authority granted by the legislature to help focus local efforts in salmon recovery, including prioritizing local watershed improvement projects. For this round, 20 different watersheds participated in the application process. The SRFB is planning another grant round toward the end of 2000 following a comprehensive evaluation of this first process.The SRFB was established in July 1999 by the state legislature, to help oversee the investment of state and federal funds for salmon recovery. William Ruckelshaus, from the Madrona Investment Group of Seattle chairs the Board.Other members include Frank Larry Cassidy, Vancouver, Brenda McMurray, Yakima, John Roskelley, Spokane, and James Peters, Olympia. Five state agency directors also serve.South Sound Projects96th Street Oxbow ProjectLocated on the right bank of the Puyallup River near intersection of Riverside Drive and McCutcheon Road. The oxbow area is approximately 4 acres choked with invasive vegetation and currently provides no functions beneficial to fish.The project reconnects the oxbow and 23 acres of associated wetlands to the mainstem of the Puyallup River by installing a 64-foot long aluminum culvert with a 190-foot channel. The culvert is to allow juvenile coho, steelhead, chinook and cutthroat unrestricted access to the oxbow.Invasive vegetation will be cleared and re-planted with native plants.Sportsmans Club Oxbow Reconnection ProjectThe project reestablishes fish access to an existing oxbow lake on the lower Puyallup River using a concrete culvert structure with an internal fish ladder. The fish ladder replaces an existing barrier culvert.This project was rated third in priority of potential restoration sites on the lower Puyallup by the Puyallup Tribal Fisheries Site Restoration Catalog.The oxbow is to provide 18 acres of off-channel rearing habitat for juvenile coho, chinook, steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout.Flett Creek Dam Removal ProjectThis project consists of removal of a dam and adjacent dilapidated fish ladder on Flett Creek, a tributary to Chamber Creek in the city of Lakewood.The existing fish ladder is currently impassable to salmon and has become unstable. The project will remove the dam and fish ladder, then re-grade the stream back to its original slope. This project is considered the removal of the last barrier to fish passage in the Flett Creek drainage, insuring passage for chum and coho salmon, as well as cutthroat trout.There is approximately two miles of fish habitat above the dam.Zarelli Dam and Clover Creek Fish LadderA small dam and pond exists on Clover Creek upstream from Gravelly Lake in Lakewood. The dam originally served as a water retention facility for a water wheel.The spillway for the weir is a velocity barrier at some flow levels and must be monitored to insure fish passage. Maintenance is difficult as the site is on private property behind a locked gate.This project incorporates a concrete fish ladder into the existing weir dam to allow fish passage at all flows. Nearly seven miles of fish habitat are available above the dam.Stewart Engineered Log JamThis project is off of Old Highway 99 on the Deschutes River in Olympia. It involves constructing three engineered logjams along 1,500 feet of eroding stream bank. The protection will allow for establishment of native conifers and shrubs within a 125 to 350-foot buffer.Project objectives are to provide habitat diversity to the Deschutes system, to reduce erosion and deposits of fine sediments over spawning gravels, and to reestablish native vegetation that shades the water, reducing summer water temperatures.The improvements will benefit spawning, rearing and resting habitat.Mosman Shoreline AcquisitionThe shoreline purchase is to permanently protect a section of the Nisqually River by acquiring 35 acres with approximately 3,500 feet of river frontage. The land is to remain undeveloped to facilitate improvement of natural salmon production on the river.This purchase is part of a larger salmon recovery project on the Nisqually River to permanently protect the mainstem Nisqually shoreline – a distance of approximately 42 river miles. Acquisition is underway with over 60 percent of these shoreline miles permanently protected.Wilcox Flats – Phase 1This project is to acquire privately owned undeveloped lands in the Wilcox Flats area of the Nisqually Basin to provide permanent protection for the habitat present, and to allow for future restoration of old side channels to improve salmon productivity.The area is an area of about 150 acres along a bend of the Nisqually River south of Wilcox Farms. The area was historically a floodplain. Over time the area was subdivided for home sites. Major flooding has rendered the area unsuitable for homes with Pierce County acquiring 12 occupied parcels of 41 acres through flood relief.”