A New Plan for Community & Ecological Resiliency
A changing climate is bringing extremes to the Chehalis Basin. In the last 50 years, there have been fourteen federally declared disasters. This, combined with human development and land use, have added up to significant habitat loss and degradation over the past several decades. Salmon and other aquatic species have declined dramatically and face a dire future in the Basin. In response to this, the Aquatic Species Restoration Plan (ASRP) was designed to protect aquatic species and restore their habitats–now and in the face of climate change.
The ASRP is a key component of the Chehalis Basin Strategy. It’s a new science-based plan designed to help restore aquatic species habitat and enhance local economies. It was designed to efficiently, effectively rebuild and protect a productive ecosystem that is resilient to the impacts of climate change.
The ASRP is a collaborative process that reflects diverse interests across the basin. Basin-wide, diverse collaboration formed this plan, and basin-wide, diverse collaboration will ensure its success. It will solve multiple challenges with efficient investments in land protection, restoration and community planning. Taken together, the efforts of local governments, landowners, tribes, and conservation groups add up to more than anyone could do alone.
In the face of climate change, healthy riparian forests and floodplains can support salmon and other aquatic species. The ASRP is designed to provide smart guidance and work with willing landowners and communities, while honoring existing community values, leading to more investment in the natural systems that sustain our economy.
Reconnect the flow
The work outlined in the ASRP will allow the flows of the river to connect with side channels and wetlands. This will help cool water stay in the rivers when fish need it most, enhance salmon spawning grounds up and down the river, and support overall ecosystem resiliency. Smart restoration like this, if enacted today, is one of the most important investments Washington can make to ensure a resilient future in the face of climate change.
Reinvigorate rural economies
Local businesses are at the core of the Chehalis Basin’s economy, and their vision for a resilient future is key to the new plan. Restoring and protecting land and water will help ensure that the natural resources we depend on are flourishing, and taking action now makes smart economic sense: the longer we wait, the more expensive it gets to bring back salmon, Oregon spotted frogs, and other aquatic life.
Rebuild the habitat
The key to a healthy, thriving region starts with our lands and waters. This new plan builds upon all the work and investment of previous efforts to restore and protect Chehalis Basin habitat. The actions and scale proposed in the new, comprehensive plan will help native species such as salmon have accessible, quality habitat now and into the future.
Read the draft plan here and share your comments now through January 14, 2020.
Learn more here about restoration work happening in the Chehalis Basin.