Funding to Help Salmon, Forests and Create Jobs on the Coast

Restoration on the Washington Coast will take a big step forward thanks to the capital budget passed by the Washington Legislature Jan. 18.

The budget provided $12.5 million for funding for the Washington Coast Restoration Initiative. Through this initiative, coastal communities have developed important projects that address the region’s highest-priority restoration needs and put people to work restoring our lands and waters.

The Pacific Ocean, at the mouth of the Hoh River. Photo by  Hannah Letinich/LightHawk.

We are proud to participate in this coalition, which includes tribes, local governments and nonprofits. We are thrilled that restoration work on our land on the Hoh River and on the Clearwater River (a tributary to the Queets) will be funded. We are grateful to Senator Kevin Van de Wege and Representatives Steve Tharinger and Mike Chapman for their work to secure funding for this and other Washington Coast Restoration Initiative projects.

We will use a $1 million grant to protect and restore freshwater salmon spawning and rearing habitat and complex old-growth coastal forests on more than 9,000 acres along the Clearwater and Hoh rivers. This project will have both short- and long-term direct benefits for the local ecosystem, aiding salmon, trout, amphibians and birds.

It will also enable us to provide public access and benefits to local communities for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing and boating as well as woodcutting permits and volunteer opportunities.

Fishing guide Shannon Carroll flyfishing at dawn for steelhead on the Hoh River in the Olympic Peninsula. Photo by Bridget Besaw.

This project will support the equivalent of 13 full-time employees for a year with more than $575,000 proposed to go to wages and benefits. We will prioritize using local contractors and developing restoration knowledge and expertise that can be used for additional restoration projects in the area. Work is expected to start this summer.

See a complete list of WCRI projects included in the 2018 capital budget

Here’s what we’ll do on the Hoh and the Clearwater:

First run of chum salmon in Ellsworth Creek.Photo by David Ryan / The Nature Conservancy.

  • Upgrade roads and culverts to allow for fish passage and removeg or repair culverts that are undersized, no longer needed or damage ecologic conditions and water quality.
  • Thin more than 500 acres of young forest stands adjacent to main channels and tributaries of the Hoh and Clearwater, to accelerate the development of late successional forest habitat. This will increase shade along the rivers and streams to keep water cool for salmon, and improve the stream habitat functions necessary for the restoration of wild salmon populations.
  • Treat 200 acres of invasive species on the Hoh ownerships and develop an invasive species early detection rapid response (EDRR) plan that will incorporate detection protocols, monitoring, and best control and eradication treatment practices for invasive species into the future.
  • Install up to 40 large woody debris(LWD) placement jams to improve fish habitat by retaining and improving spawning gravels, providing foraging and cover, and reconnecting the floodplain on 1.4 miles of Clearwater tributaries.