BI gets money to revitalize Springbrook Creek

The city of Bainbridge Island has been awarded almost $2.6 million from the state Department of Transportation to revitalize the Springbrook Creek fish passage.

“This is a critical step in the recovery of important ecosystems to boost salmon return,” Mayor Brenda Fantroy-Johnson said.

The program is designed specifically to help communities remove and repair culverts that block salmon from their natural habitats. It’s part of the National Culvert Removal, Replacement and Restoration Grant Program.

BI’s grant is part of $58 million awarding 23 salmon restoration projects statewide.

Springbrook Creek is designated as critical habitat for Endangered Species Act, listed as threatened Puget Sound steelhead. The project was identified as the No. 1 priority restoration project in its watershed as part of a 2018 assessment. The culvert is located east of the transition of New Brooklyn Road to Fletcher Bay Road.

The BI Land Trust was instrumental in crafting the grant application, which included letters from the Wild Fish Conservancy, BI Watershed Council, the Suquamish Tribe and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-WA. Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group sponsored the original design grant.

The funding will support additional design and provide significant leverage toward securing the balance of funds needed for construction to eventually remove a 60-inch failing culvert and weir and replace it with a 60-foot bridge.

City manager Blair King said: “The Springbrook Creek project will help revitalize an important part of Bainbridge Island’s watershed and salmon habitat. Identification of funds for this project has been a concern and an impediment to implementation. This grant will help move the project to the next level.”

City staff is proceeding toward a preliminary design with support from city funding, which will define the project scope and allow the city to apply for the necessary permits. Next steps include working with consultants to evaluate project strategies to lower the anticipated costs, completion of the final design upon receiving permits, and working with state and local partners to secure gaps in funding.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantell, D-WA, said the grants also will create new estuary habitat in Port Orchard. “Combined, these investments will help revitalize critical watersheds that Chinook, coho, chum, and steelhead rely on, and boost the ecosystems and orcas that depend on robust salmon returns.”