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Salmon recovery projects to be started in county

YAKIMA - Yakima County Commissioners Kevin Bouchey, Mike Leita and Rand Elliott yesterday (Tuesday) signed two agreements, authorizing salmon recovery projects to move forward.

The projects will be funded by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the county, allowing salmon habitat to be restored on the Naches and Yakima rivers.

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board has awarded more than $280,000 for the combined projects and the county agreed to spend up to $51,000 as the project sponsor, if necessary.

Upstream of the Nelson Dam on the Naches River, Yakima County will purchase four parcels, equaling 32.07 acres along the floodplain.

The project will include a levee reconfiguration and will remove 950 feet of private levee. It also establishes pilot channels through areas of sediment accumulations and approximately 2,700 cubic yards of material will be removed from the floodway.

The agreement for the $263,400 project states the project is intended to benefit Chinook and Coho salmon, as well as endangered Steelhead and Bulltrout.

The project on the Yakima River is estimated to cost $68,000. It will involve the development of side channel habitat through a point bar complex currently elevated above water surfaces of the river.

Toe rock from a recently modified levee upstream of the Terrace Heights Bridge will be removed and side channels will be formed near the Washington State Park property and the Yakima Greenway. The same salmon species named in the Naches River project will also benefit from the project on the Yakima River.

Federal funding for salmon recovery was awarded to the state of Washington's Salmon Recovery Funding Board for projects like these, according to officials.

The two Yakima County projects are expected to be completed by December 2015.

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