Snohomish County gets nearly $2.5 million in state salmon recovery grants

  • By Mike Benbow
  • Monday, December 12, 2011 2:14pm
  • Sports

Snohomish County has been awarded nearly $2.5 million in grants to a variety of projects intended to help restore salmon runs. Here’s a look at the projects:

PEOPLE FOR PUGET SOUND GRANT AWARDED: $100,000 FOR STUDYING THE FEASIBILITY OF UNCOVERING WILLOW CREEK

People for Puget Sound will use this grant to explore the feasibility of maximizing Chinook salmon rearing habitat in Edmonds marsh by taking Willow Creek out of a pipe and restoring the stream connection to Puget Sound. The organization will document the current topography and hydrology of the marsh complex and scope feasibility of three options for taking the creek out of a pipe and restoring its connection to Puget Sound. This information will help assess maximum size and ecological function for juvenile Chinook rearing habitat. People for Puget Sound will contribute $52,100 including donated labor from the City of Edmonds and a federal grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

SKAGIT RIVER SYSTEM COOPERATIVE GRANT AWARDED: $177,557 REMOVING SUIATTLE RIVER RIP-RAP

The Skagit River System Cooperative will use this grant to remove less than a quarter-mile of rip-rap bank protection on the Suiattle River to improve habitat complexity for Chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. The rip-rap is on U.S. Forest Service Road 25, about 1 mile upstream from Circle Creek, where the road has been closed to motorized access. Rip-rap bank protection structures damage salmon habitat by reducing habitat complexity, degrading river bank functions and limiting the formation of secondary channels and off-channel habitat in the floodplain. Complex, natural habitat along river channels provides important foraging and resting opportunities for juvenile Chinook salmon. The cooperative will contribute $31,333 from a federal grant.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY: $200,000 INSTALLING WOODY MATERIALS IN THE SOUTH FORK OF THE STILLAGUAMISH RIVER

Snohomish County will use this grant to place logs and tree root wads in two places in the south fork of the Stillaguamish River to improve habit for Chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. The work will be done east of Arlington and north of Granite Falls. Logs and tree root wads will slow the river, creating places for salmon to rest and hide from predators. The grant will pay for final site selection, designs, permitting and construction. Snohomish County will contribute $36,000 in donations of cash. See more information about this project.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY: $144,502 RESTORING THE LOWER SKYKOMISH RIVER

Snohomish County will use this grant to place logs and tree root wads in the Skykomish River and plant 5 acres of trees near Sultan to improve habitat. The projects are in a portion of the reach adjacent to two, large, right-bank side channels, downstream from the confluence of the Sultan and Skykomish Rivers. This project works closely with farmers and results in a win-win for agricultural productivity and salmon viability. The County is proposing this project as a first phase of implementing its reach-scale assessment of the Skykomish River, which runs from Sultan to the just downstream of Monroe. Snohomish County will contribute $36,125.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY: $750,000 RESTORING THE SMITH ISLAND MARSH

Snohomish County will use this grant to build a setback dike and fill a ditch on Smith Island, restoring natural marsh conditions to about 400 acres in the heart of the Snohomish River estuary near Everett. This is part of a larger restoration project that includes breaching the levee, excavating a tidal channel, installing logs and tree root wads in the water and reshaping and replanting the land. The project will improve conditions for Chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and other salmon species by increasing access to critical estuarine marsh habitat. The Smith Island project is the largest of four estuarine restoration projects proposed or completed in the lower Snohomish estuary. Snohomish County will contribute $132,353 in a state grant.

SOUND SALMON SOLUTIONS GRANT AWARDED: $369,152 ENHANCING MIDDLE PILCHUCK RIVER HABITAT

Sound Salmon Solutions will use this grant to re-establish habitat in the Pilchuck River near Lake Stevens. Sound Salmon Solutions will place logs and tree root wads in the river, remove invasive plants and plant native trees on the riverbank to create buffers on 5 acres and exclude livestock from these buffers along 1 mile of the Pilchuck River. Installing logs and tree root wads slows the river and creates places for salmon to rest and hide from predators. Logs in river systems also increase pool habitat that salmon use for cover and cool water in summer. Removing invasive weeds will improve the diversity of plants along the riverbanks. Planting the riverbanks with trees will provide shade to cool the water as well as attract insects that salmon eat. Excluding livestock will keep the plants in the newly planted area alive. The project will increase habitat for Chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, as well as chum, coho, pink salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout. Sound Salmon Solutions will contribute $84,200 in donations of cash, labor and materials.

STILLAGUAMISH TRIBE OF INDIANS GRANT AWARDED: $300,000 PLACING LOGJAMS IN THE NORTH FORK OF THE STILLAGUAMISH RIVER

The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians will use this grant to install five or six logjams in the north fork of the Stillaguamish River west of Darrington. The logjams will slow the river, creating places for salmon to rest, spawn and hide from predators. They also will increase the types of habitat within the river and protect the riverbanks from erosion. The river is home to Chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. The tribe will contribute $75,000. See more information about this project.

STILLAGUAMISH TRIBE OF INDIANS GRANT AWARDED: $206,280 PROTECTING TREE FARM HOLE

The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians will use this grant to buy 126 acres of floodplain forest on the north fork of the Stillaguamish River, protecting it from logging and development. The tribe also will perform some minor restoration work. The land is outside of Arlington and encompasses more than 1 mile of shoreline on the north fork of the Stillaguamish River and more than a half-mile of side channel. It is a spawning and rearing area for Chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and pink, coho, chum, bull trout and steelhead. The tribe also will replant the former home site. The tribe will contribute $781,220 from a federal grant and another grant.

STILLY-SNOHOMISH FISHERIES ENHANCEMENT TASK FORCE GRANT AWARDED: $249,906 RESTORING JIM CREEK

The Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force will use this grant to improve the habitat along a half-mile of Jim Creek near Arlington by removing invasive weeds from 4 acres and replanting, installing nearly a half-mile of fencing to keep livestock out of the creek, removing 150 feet of bank armoring and installing three logjams in the creek. Jim Creek is one of a few tributaries below Granite Falls to provide significant habitat for Chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. Adding logjams will slow the river, creating places for salmon to rest and hide from predators. Logjams also increase the types of habitat. Trees planted along the creek bank will shade the water, cooling temperatures, and attract insects, which are eaten by salmon. The task force will contribute $50,529 from a federal grant and donations of labor and materials. See more information about this project.

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