Dec. 15, 2009
King County watersheds share $2.6 million in state grants for salmon habitat protection, restoration
Habitat for salmon and other wildlife in three major watersheds in King County will see added improvements thanks to grants from the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB). The board has awarded more than $2.6 million for nine projects to protect and restore salmon habitat in King County.
Projects funded include floodplain restoration, levee setbacks, and restoring Puget Sound shoreline. The state funds will be matched by funds from cities, King County and federal grants.
“Grants help us accomplish more for the environment during challenging economic times,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Salmon Recovery Fund Board funding is essential to our ongoing work to restore and protect habitat.”
During the last five years as a member of the King County Council, Constantine co-chaired one of the three watershed committees that developed and prioritized the grant applications.
Three projects in the Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed in southern King County received a total of more than $1.5 million; four projects in the Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed received more than $866,000; and two projects in the Snoqualmie/South Fork Skykomish Watershed in eastern King County received more than $224,000.
These watersheds stretch from the Cascade crest west to the shoreline of Puget Sound, and are home to chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout, all listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Sockeye, coho, chum and pink salmon and cutthroat trout also depend on the freshwater and saltwater habitats in these watersheds. Restoring the health of all of these watersheds is a key part of the Puget Sound Partnership Action Agenda program to protect and restore Puget Sound.
Local projects were evaluated in a rigorous process intended to identify the most effective and scientifically-sound projects. Local watershed groups reviewed and prioritized projects before sending funding requests to the state.
Statewide, more than $42.8 million was awarded for habitat acquisition, restoration and assessment projects. The funds came from both state and federal sources.
Here is a summary of the grant awards by watershed:
The Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed in southern King County received grant awards totaling $1,554,103 for three projects:
Recipient: City of Auburn $304,103
Project: Moving the Fenster Levee and Restoring the Floodplain
Auburn will use this grant to set back the Fenster levee to restore habitat in the Green River and its floodplain. This project will complete years of work by Auburn and King County to set back or completely remove all levees within a two-mile stretch of high quality habitat. Combined with the work previously done, this final project reconnects the floodplain to the river, providing off-channel habitat for large numbers of juvenile salmon and steelhead. After construction of the levee setback, the site will be replanted and monitored by the Veteran’s Conservation Corps in partnership with the city. In aggregate, these projects also increase storage of floodwaters, reducing the risk of flooding downstream. Auburn will contribute $53,665 from a grant and cash. (09-1429)
Recipient: City of Burien $750,000
Project: Restoring Seahurst Park’s Shoreline
The Burien Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Department will use this grant to return the northern portion of the park and shoreline to a restored, more accessible, and more natural condition. Crews will remove a seawall, rock riprap, groins, paving and fill. Since being armored in the 1970s, beach elevations in Seahurst Park have dropped three to four feet from wave scouring and the disconnection of the beach from sources of sediment. The changes in the beach have significantly degraded the quality of habitat for salmon and the organisms they depend on, particularly forage fish. Burien will contribute $133,000 from a federal grant and the Army Corps of Engineers will contribute $1.8 million through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act. (09-1415)
Recipient: City of Kent $500,000
Project: Restoring Riverview Park’s Ecosystem
Kent will use this grant to create a channel off the Green River with benches, large woody materials, spawning gravels, and riverbank plantings adjacent to the mouth of lower Mill Creek. The channel will provide much needed summer rearing habitat and refuge from high winter flows for salmon. This project also will provide incremental storage for floodwaters, helping to reduce flood risk downstream. Kent will contribute $88,235 and the Army Corps of Engineers will contribute $2.2 million through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act. (09-1418)
The Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed received grant awards totaling $866,411 for four projects:
Recipient: King County $178,411
Project: Protecting the Cedar River Reach at Elliot Bridge
The King County Water and Land Resources Division will use this grant to buy almost four acres along both banks of the lower Cedar River. The project builds on previous acquisitions, both upstream and downstream, to form a continuous corridor of protected riparian land. It sets the stage for large scale restoration of all these lands, including levee setbacks. Targeted parcels are located just upstream of the “landslide reach,” which is one of the two highest quality habitat areas on the lower Cedar River and home to significant chinook salmon runs. Local grant match: $271,589. (09-1575)
Recipient: Seattle Public Utilities $500,000
Project: Protecting the Royal Arch Reach of the Cedar River
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will use this grant to buy 27.4 acres to protect, and later restore, habitat for chinook salmon in the lower Cedar River. SPU is buying land for salmon habitat protection and restoration below its municipal watershed ownership boundary at the Landsburg Diversion Dam. After the December 2008 flood, several landowners at the Royal Arch reach of the river expressed interest in selling their properties. Purchase of this land would provide restoration opportunities that would enable the river to migrate in the floodplain, thereby increasing habitat complexity for chinook salmon. SPU match: $88,000. (09-1578)
Recipient: Washington Department of Natural Resources $154,000
Project: Designing Restoration Projects for the South Lake Washington Shoreline
The Washington Department of Natural Resources will use this grant to design a project to restore a quarter of a mile of shoreline and three acres of upland habitat in southern Lake Washington. The restoration will improve the water quality of the lake and shoreline habitat for chinook salmon. The department will complete a feasibility study and design of a project that would remove 650 linear feet of hardened shoreline; restore 660 linear feet of shallow water habitat; remove nonnative, invasive plants; replant the shoreline and three upland acres; and remove 21 creosote-treated piles and rip rap. State grant match: $24,000. (09-1534)
Recipient: City of Renton $34,000
Project: Designing a Habitat Project on South Lake Washington
The City of Renton will use this grant to design and apply for permits for a project that will create protected, shallow-water habitat for chinook salmon along Lake Washington’s shoreline, and reduce the need for future dredging in the vicinity of the Renton Municipal Airport’s Seaplane Base. The project goals are to dramatically increase the quality and quantity of shallow-water, shoreline habitat for juvenile salmonids. The project will reuse clean, dredged sediments to build a shallow-water habitat island to enhance the existing Cedar River delta habitat. This project will also restore the airport’s Lake Washington shoreline, which consists entirely of rip rap and a sheet pile wall. A new shallow-water habitat bench will create a high quality migration route along the airport’s shoreline for migrating juvenile chinook salmon. Renton match: $15,000. (09-1606)
The Snoqualmie/South Fork Skykomish Watershed in northeastern King County received grant awards totaling $224,300 for two projects:
Recipient: King County $184,300
Project: Snoqualmie - Fall City Reach Restoration Assessment
The King County Water and Land Resources Division will use this grant to identify, quantify, and prioritize high value habitat restoration projects on the Snoqualmie River between the confluence of the Raging River and Patterson Creek. Initial design will be completed for one of nine potential restoration projects identified in the river reach. The reach is one of the two chinook spawning areas on the Snoqualmie River where the river historically had significant off-channel habitat that provided greater rearing habitat. Steelhead trout, coho salmon and other salmon species all will benefit from future restoration projects. Local grant match: $20,000. (09-1281N)
Recipient: Seattle City Light $40,000
Project: Tolt River Riparian Area Restoration
Seattle City Light in partnership with the Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force will control non-native species including Himalayan blackberries on three acres of public land along the lower Tolt River upstream of the City of Carnation. These areas will then be replanted with native trees and shrubs by local residents and school volunteers. Outreach to private landowners in the vicinity will encourage similar actions on adjacent riparian areas. The lower Tolt River is an important spawning and rearing habitat for chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Local grant match: $33,751. (09-1263R)
For more information on salmon habitat conservation in the watersheds, see www.govlink.org/watersheds/.
- Perry Falcone, Snoqualmie Watershed, 206-296-1940
- Jean White, Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed, 206-263-6458
- Doug Osterman, Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed, 206-296-8069
Salmon and trout topics
King County watersheds map
Habitat restoration projects