Fish habitats to be restored thanks to $1.2 million in grants

The restoration of floodplains and fish habitat along the Upper Yakima River has received funding from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

photo courtesy Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board
The restoration of floodplains and fish habitat along the Upper Yakima River has received funding from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board.



photo

Screens that prevent fish from entering irrigation channels along the Lower Yakima River will be replaced thanks to $1.2 million in funding from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

A total of $1.2 million will be invested in the Yakima Basin to help bring salmon and steelhead back from the brink of extinction.

Nine projects will restore floodplains, remove forest roads and create new habitats for fish in streams and rivers in the Yakima Basin.

The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board is a partnership of tribal, county and city governments that reviews and ranks proposed projects for the basin each year.

The board worked with the Yakama Nation, local stakeholders, and federal and state agencies from 2005 to 2009 to write a recovery plan that details what needs to be done to get Yakima steelhead off the Endangered Species List.

Since 2009, the board has worked to get funding to the projects that do the best job of implementing that plan.

This year, four projects located in Yakima County will receive $411,282 in funding, which will be matched with sponsor monies.

The South Fork Oak Creek Habitat Enhancement will connect floodplains and re-establish fish habitat in Oak Creek, a tributary to the Tieton River. The project is part of an integrated plan to restore Oak Creek, started in 2013. The project will cost $156,690.

The Ahtanum Creek Restoration will involve spending $130,000 for the design of a project that will restore riparian and floodplain areas to the creek, which is currently rated in poor condition due to erosion. The area encompasses approximately 8,600 feet of stream length, and more than 25 acres of floodplain.

The Naches River Side Channel project proposes to spend $76,392 to investigate the feasibility of creating a groundwater fed side-channel in the Naches River floodplain. Additional off-stream habitat in this reach of the Naches River will improve habitat conditions for Mid-Columbia steelhead, spring Chinook, coho and bull trout by providing refuge from the flip flop flow regime change that takes place in the fall.

Another Naches River project involves reducing the road density along the Naches watershed, decommissioning more than four miles of national forest road in the Nile and Lower Rattlesnake creek subwatersheds. The project is expected to cost $85,850.

Other projects include work on Naneum Creek and Coleman Creek and various tributaries of the Yakima River in Kittitas County, removal of buildings along Manastash Creek, major habitat restoration on the Yakima River near the confluence with the Cle Elum River, and the replacement of aging fish exclusion screens in the Lower Yakima River that prevent juvenile fish from entering irrigation canals.

For more information on specific projects, visit ybfwrb.org/2014-srfb-process.



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