2 NK projects recipients of Salmon Recovery grants

The state Salmon Recovery Funding Board is awarding nearly $76 million in grants across the state, including two projects in North Kitsap.

The grants went to 138 projects in 30 of the state’s 39 counties, according to a news release from the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office. The grants will pay for work to restore salmon habitat, including repairing degraded habitat in rivers, removing barriers blocking salmon migration and conserving pristine habitat.

Two grants went to Kitsap County — $455,868 to Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group to restore the Rose Point embayment near Eglon, and $188,000 to Wild Fish Conservancy to restore Finn Creek near Hansville.

For Rose Point, Mid Sound Fisheries will use the grant to restore a historic barrier estuary connected to a stream across two private properties near Eglon to improve habitat for juvenile salmon, according to RCO. The enhancement group will restore salmon access and natural coastal processes to the estuary by removing a creosote timber bulkhead, restoring the wetland, planting native shrubs and trees, and rebuilding a more natural estuary outlet for the stream.

The future condition will be a fully reconnected and fish-accessible coastal watershed, ending in an estuary with a natural outlet, and a natural shoreline. The restored area will provide habitat for juvenile Chinook to grow before they travel to the ocean. Mid Sound Fisheries will contribute $161,001 in a federal grant, a grant from the state Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, a Suquamish Tribe grant, and donated labor. The enhancement group is requesting an additional $453,730 from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration grant program that will be considered by the Legislature in 2023.

For Finn Creek, WFC will use the grant to design and permit a restoration project that will recover estuarine habitat near Hansville. The conservancy plans to restore the natural processes of this small watershed’s estuary in Norwegian Point County Park by removing a 300-foot-long culvert and tide gate, creating a tidal embayment and naturalizing the estuary and stream channel by adding large wood and a native riparian/saltmarsh corridor, according to RCO.

Culverts are pipes or other structures that carry water under roads and often block fish migration because they are too steep, tall or small to allow fish to pass through easily. Adding wood, such as logs, to a creek creates places for fish to rest, feed, and hide from predators. It also slows the creek, which reduces erosion and allows small rocks to settle to the riverbed, creating areas for salmon to spawn.

To prevent flooding outside of the park, the design will include a low berm around the perimeter that also will function as an interpretive trail. The design includes measures to restore salmon access from Puget Sound to spawning and rearing habitat in the watershed. Once constructed, this restoration project will benefit juvenile salmon, including Chinook that forage along the Kitsap Peninsula shorelines. Chinook salmon is a species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act.

“This is incredibly important work,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “The projects will help restore salmon across the state. That means more salmon for our endangered orcas, more jobs for people and industries that rely on salmon and improved habitat that can better protect us from floods and the effects of climate change.”