Five large “reach-scale” restoration projects are in the design process for different river sub-basins that are tributaries to the Chehalis: the Wynoochee, Satsop, Skookumchuck, Newaukum, and Stillman Creek/South Fork Chehalis. These sub-basins were chosen through a rigorous scientific process because of their potential to increase salmon abundance with restoration actions.
These Early Action projects will serve as a pilot for future reach-scale restoration projects in the Basin: they are being developed in collaboration with willing landowners where there is a high likely benefit to salmon. Each project area is 2 to 3 miles long and is meant to restore habitat-forming processes, recreate key habitat features and riparian areas, reconnect off-channel and floodplain habitats, remove and/or relocate infrastructure as needed, and maximize positive outcomes for fish and non-fish aquatic species.
Getting Projects on the Ground
In April 2016, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Chehalis Basin Lead Entity’s Habitat Work Group administered approximately $6 million in grants to public and non-profit organizations in Grays Harbor, Lewis, and Thurston counties. The grants funded 28 habitat restoration projects in the Chehalis Basin, most of which were designed to restore fish passage in streams. Altogether, the projects opened more than 130 miles of streams to migrating salmon and other aquatic species.
In 2018-19, eleven undersized culverts were replaced with bridges or larger culverts and the engineering and design process began for six more culvert improvement projects. Once complete, these projects will open an additional 32.5 miles of stream habitat.
During the 2019-21 biennium, the design phase for the five reach-scale projects will be completed and construction will begin. In addition, the ASRP Steering Committee will solicit proposals for projects through a separate grant round. This grant round will focus on high-priority actions in geographic areas of importance throughout the Basin and will occur in synchronization with the release of the Phase 1 Plan.