$280,000-plus for salmon projects

State funding has been approved for work on making the Nisqually River and Ohop Creek more hospitable to salmon. The Pierce Conservation District and the Nisqually Land Trust, champions of the local projects, are among organizations in 29 counties statewide that will share $18 million in grants to restore salmon habitat and conserve natural areas to help bring salmon flourish, the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board announced this month. The conservation district will use its grant of $111,803 to remove Japanese knotweed in the Nisqually River basin and replant at least 20 acres of riverbank once they're free of the vegetation that negatively impacts salmon habitat. Volunteers coordinated by the Nisqually Stream Stewards and Pierce County Stream Team will do the replanting. The district, which is contributing another $35,000 of its own money to the project, also will continue monitoring the Nisqually River and its tributaries for the presence of knotweed, including areas that haven't been surveyed previously. Officials expect knotweed to be completely eradicated or under control by 2020. The Nisqually is used by Chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. The war on knotweed will help provide more places for salmon to spawn, feed, rest, hide from predators and transition from freshwater to saltwater and back again The Nisqually Land Trust is receiving a combined $170,000 for two projects - $80,000 for conserving Ohop Creek, and $90,000 for conservation efforts in the Upper Ohop Valley near Eatonville.. The trust plans to buy as much as 52 acres of pasture and forest in the middle stretch of Ohop Creek. The areas, including about a quarter-mile of creek waterfront, are next to protected land owned by the Nisqually Indian Tribe or the state Department of Natural Resources. Putting more land under conservation control will protect habitat of steelhead and Chinook salmon, both of which are listed as threatened. Cutthroat trout and coho salmon, as well as other wildlife will also benefit from the land setaside. Similarly, the Land Trust will apply the $90,000 grant toward buying and permanently conserving up to 202 acres of the upper Ohop Valley, which is in the Nisqually River watershed.. The property includes 1.2 miles of Ohop Creek, nearly a half-mile each of tributaries and Ohop Lake shoreline, 66 acres of wetlands, and 89 acres of forested creek banks. The payoff will include improved habitat for steelhead trout and Chinook, pink and coho salmon in Ohop Creek and 25-Mile Creek. "Salmon are important to Washington because they support thousands of jobs in fishing, seafood processing, boat sales and repair, and tourism,GÇ¥ Governor Jay Inslee said in tandem with the announcement of the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board grants. "When we restore land and water for salmon, we also are helping our communities. We get less flooding, cleaner water and better beaches. We also make sure that our grandchildren will be able to catch a fish or enjoy watching the return of wild salmon.GÇ¥ Siimilar to the Nisqually and Ohop projects, grant recipients elsewhere will use the money to remove barriers that prevent salmon from migrating, reshape rivers and streams, conserve pristine areas and replant riverbanks.


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