Farms, fish and people will all benefit from new restoration projects on three Puget Sound rivers, funded by a grant to The Nature Conservancy from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.
NOAA Fisheries is providing $1.4 million in the next year for the three projects, which will restore nearly 500 acres of floodplain for salmon habitat in Puget Sound:
- Upper Carlson Floodplain Reconnection Project, Snoqualmie River, King County (50 acres)
- Leque Island Restoration Project, Stillaguamish River, Snohomish County (up to 294 acres)
- Fir Island Farm Restoration Project, Skagit River, Skagit County (130 acres)
These projects represent a new approach to Puget Sound recovery: Coordinated Investment. The Conservancy is helping communities and agencies coordinate on bigger projects that benefit nature and people—projects that are designed to bring together multiple funding sources to yield big results. Together, these three restoration projects can make a difference for salmon in Puget Sound as well as for the people who live, work and play around the restoration sites.
The NOAA Fisheries grant provides funding for construction and monitoring, and supports Conservancy staff with deep restoration experience gained at Fisher Slough and Port Susan Bay to assist in implementing these projects:
Upper Carlson Floodplain
The Upper Carlson Reconnection Project, which is being led by King County, includes setting back a 1,600-foot levee along the Snoqualmie River near Fall City and restoring about 50 acres of floodplain habitat for salmon. The restoration is designed so that nearby farms, in the heart of the Snoqualmie Valley’s farmlands, will continue to receive the same level of flood protection. King County has completed preliminary design work and initial community outreach, and construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2014. Additional funding is being provided by King County and Washington state’s Coordinated Investment for Floodplain Management.
The Leque Island restoration, led by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Ducks Unlimited, has the potential to restore up to 294 acres of intertidal wetlands and maintain public access for recreation at the Leque Island Wildlife Area, at the mouth of the Stillaguamish River near Stanwood. This project is in the feasibility phase of design, and on-the-ground construction is expected to start in 2016. Additional funding is being provided by Washington’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP).
Fir Island Farm
The Fir Island Farm project, led by WDFW, will restore tidal flooding to 126 acres , west of Conway in the Skagit River delta. The project is being designed to restore estuary habitat for salmon, maintain snow goose management and public access on the project site as well as providing drainage and flood protection for neighboring farmland. Construction is expected to start in 2015. Additional funding is being provided by ESRP, the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Program, and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
The NOAA Fisheries grant, also includes some funding for the Conservancy to work with local communities and agencies to identify and begin scoping future projects, so that together we continue to make real advances on Puget Sound recovery.
Learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s work in Puget Sound floodplains.
Learn more about the Fisher Slough restoration.
See a video about the Conservancy’s restoration work in Puget Sound.