Crews work to clear a grove of trees in the shadow of I-5 on SR529 in Marysville to aid in salmon habitat restoration Monday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Crews work to clear a grove of trees in the shadow of I-5 on SR529 in Marysville to aid in salmon habitat restoration Monday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

100 Marysville trees will be chopped to help save the salmon

Treetops and roots will be scattered to create micro habitats; the buffer along 529 will disappear.

MARYSVILLE — The commute on Highway 529 in south Marysville may start to look different this week when more than a hundred trees are scheduled to be cut down along the roadway.

Clearing was scheduled to start Monday and is expected to continue for the next couple weeks. There may be lane closures during that time, for safety.

The job is being completed by the state Department of Transportation. The goal is to help restore salmon habitat.

Similar work has been happening lately in the Snohomish River basin. While this project has the same purpose, it isn’t related.

Trees are going to be removed from about 12 acres to help rebuild the habitat for fish and other animals, said Ruth Park, a biologist with the Department of Transportation.

The tall trees have grown all around Highway 529, blocking views of traffic heading the opposite direction and on I-5.

The buffer is going to be taken away from both sides of the highway.

“Most of those trees will be removed,” Park said. “They have to be, so the area can function as an estuary.”

The department has been teaming up with agencies that have done similar work and have an interest in rebuilding the fish habitat. That list includes the Tulalip Tribes and the city of Marysville.

“We all have the same goal to save the salmon,” Park said.

In the next few months, treetops and roots will be scattered to create micro habitats. Dikes in Steamboat Slough will be breached to flood the land with tidal waters. Fish are expected to move in almost immediately, Park said.

The project is expected to be finished in October.

The Department of Transportation has plans to add an exit to I-5 from Highway 529. That money came from Connecting Washington state funding, which is also paying for the restoration.

One example of habitat renewal in the wetlands near Marysville is the Tulalip Tribes’ Qwuloolt Estuary. It was created in 2015.

At that time, almost no salmon were using the marshland. Now, between 10,000 and 100,000 Chinook are there, according to the tribes.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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