The Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board announced it will be funding a project involving the Entiat River. The intention is to restore salmon and steelhead habitat with the ultimate goal of improving both the fish population as well as southern resident orca whale numbers.
Mike Cushman of the Cascadia Conservation District said they will use the roughly $360,000 grant to restore about 5 acres of wetland, create an additional acre of wetland, and add nearly 1 mile of side channel.
“We’re looking to support and protect endangered and threatened salmon species, and in this case that’s spring chinook and steelhead.” explained Cushman, “We’re looking to create habitat through complex wood structures and also restoring a more productive flood plain and wetland habitat, in that case for juvenile fish.”
Restoring the wetland is important for a number of reasons. First, wetlands can provide a slowing effect to the river which could help communities downstream. Wetlands also provide a defense against both flooding and erosion.
Said Cushman, “Previously this wetland area was managed as a lawn and it would get flooded seasonally to some degree depending on the amount of flow. So in this case with the creation of side channels and planting of native species we’re kind of going to step back and allow the river to take back this flood plain.”
The Cascadia Conservation District’s project is just one of many that received a total of $18 million in grants from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board recently. Projects in Chelan county were awarded just over $1 million, while Okanogan county was granted $849,084 and Kittitas county received just under $1,173,00.