Salmon recovery funding awarded

Mid Columbia Fisheries to oversee two projects

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Map, showing the areas along Crow and Quartz creeks to benefit from a salmon recovery project over seen by Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group.

— More than $96,600 has been awarded to Mid Columbia Fisheris Enhancement Group for salmon restoration efforts.

The group is receiving the funds from the State of Washington Recreation and Conservation Office for the purpose of placing 250 trees along 2.2 miles of Crow and Quartz creeks, tributaries to the Little Naches River.

The group will work with the U.S. Forest Service to fell about 300 trees, as well.

The project is intended to improve habitat for steelhead, bull trout and Chinook salmon, officials said.

Smaller trees will be cut and moved into stream channels and into floodplains to create resting and hiding places for the fish. Flows will be slowed, reducing erosion and sediment, as well as allowing small gravel for spawning to settle.

“This project aims to restore the floodplain connectivity and instream habitat,” Mid Columbia Fisheries Yakima Basin Program Director Rebecca Wassell said in the proposal sent to the Recreation and Conservation Office.

She said the thinning of trees, some of which are to be used in the creeks, also helps with forest management.

“People used to think wood in streams create barriers,” Wassell said.

“We now know they create habitat,” she said.

The group is working with Fish Biologist Gary Torretta of the Naches Ranger District, who approached Mid Columbia Fisheries for the partnership. They have also partnered with Yakama Nation Fisheries on the project.

Mid Columbia Fisheries received an additional $219,101 for the Yakima Basin Stewardship Project, which allows the group to continue maintenance on prior projects on Cowiche and Oak creeks, and the Yakima River, Wassell said.

With the Legislature’s recent approval of the capital budget, grants are being distributed for 163 projects to organizations in 29 of the state’s 39 counties. The grants will be used to remove barriers that prevent salmon from migrating, increase the types and amount of habitat for salmon, protect pristine areas and restore critical habitat so salmon have places to spawn, feed, rest and grow, officials said.

“These projects will help tackle some of the fundamental problems that are destroying our salmon populations,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “By making these investments we are taking steps to increase the number of salmon so there will be enough fish for future generations, orcas and for the communities and jobs that rely on the fishing industry.”

The Columbia Land Trust was awarded $344,768 to purchase 281 acres along the Klickitat River north and east of Glenwood-Goldendale Road.

Plans for the land involve conservation and protection of the river, as well as access.

Underwood Conservation District, also in Klickitat County, was awarded $254,019 to replace the White Salmon Irrigation District headworks and conveyance system, which pulls water from Buck Creek. A roughened channel will also be built, a fish screen installed and 1.5 miles of open ditch and leaking pipes replaced.

The North Yakima Conservation District has been awarded $228,000 to improve habitat and fish screens in Ahtanum Creek.

The district plans to place tree root wads, logs and rocks in the creek, providing fish resting and hiding places.

Riffles and deep pools are expected to form to provide fish “more varied habitat,” officials said.



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