Photo courtesy of Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

Photo courtesy of Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

Kitsap County awarded numerous salmon-saving grants from state

Several Kitsap County projects will receive funding assistance through statewide Salmon Recovery Grants thanks to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.

In Suquamish, a county project to remove a bulkhead from a shorefront property along the shores of Port Madison will receive some $20,000 and an additional $5,000 matching grant to help with the costs of the removal. The project seeks to build on efforts to encourage private shoreline owners to voluntarily remove their bulkheads. Removing the bulkheads allows for sand and sediment to settle naturally, creating habitats for smelt and sand lance, which salmon eat.

In Hansville, another project seeks to examine the possible restoration of critical salmon habitat to its natural state. Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group was awarded $59,212 to conduct a study on the feasibility of reconnecting the Point No Point wetland to the Puget Sound, thereby restoring a salt marsh. Restoration of the marsh could reopen a critical habitat for Chinook salmon.

Jeanette Dorner, of the Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group, said receiving the grant was the first step in the early stages of the project.

“This is the very first stage of an exploratory conversation about whether any changes should be made at this site or not,” Dorner said.

The money, Dorner said, would be used to compensate experts for their time in studying the site and reaching out to the locals.

“This grant is for some staff time and for some technical experts to spend time talking to people in the community, working very closely with all the neighbors and the people in that community,” Dorner said.

“The most important thing is coordinating with the people that live all around that site. Whenever you’re doing a design for a project like that where you actually have other kinds of human infrastructure in the surrounding area, you have to figure out a balance between reopening the site to allow for natural processes and still protecting surrounding infrastructure,” she continued.

Dorner said that a small pipe exists to allow for drainage from the current rain-fed freshwater marsh, but that the pipe was not sufficient to allow for young salmon to take refuge in the marsh.

“It’s not a real connection and it’s certainly not a connection that allows for juvenile salmon migrating along the shoreline to make use of that site,” Dorner said. “There’s a whole range of options that we would look at for how we would restore the site to allow for better access for salmon as well as more natural salt marsh.”

Another project in Hansville, headed by the Wild Fish Conservancy was awarded $34,671 to help in the design of a restoration project for Finn Creek. The group will be using the grant money to produce preliminary design drawings for a project to remove a tide gate and culvert on Finn Creek, thereby opening 2 miles of habitat to salmon and steelhead. The final quarter-mile of Finn Creek, where the work will be done, runs along a ditch beside Norwegian Point County Park.

Other Grants Awarded in Kitsap County:

Mountaineers Foundation — $65,000 to put toward designing the restoration of the Chico Creek confluence.

Great Peninsula Conservancy — $17,000 to be used to conduct a feasibility study for a project to buy 4.8 acres along Ross Creek in Port Orchard.

Great Peninsula Conservancy — $88,450 to be used to consider restoration alternatives and develop preliminary designs to restore fish access in the upper Dickerson Creek watershed.

Great Peninsula Conservancy — $236,225 to buy 30 acres of lower Curley Creek.

— Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at ntwietmeyer@soundpublishing.com.

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