Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group announces salmon project funding

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Courtesy photo - Bull Canal Company President, Jeff Brunson (left) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Fish Passage and Screening Biologist Josh Rogala (right) discussing options for providing irrigation flow and reducing fish mortality in a side channel of the Yakima River near Ellensburg in 2016.

Yakima — Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group is pleased to announce that is has received over one million dollars in funds this year to help salmon and the habitat that they call home.  Mid-Columbia Fisheries will be putting those monies to work to restore stream and river habitats vital to the restoration of the Pacific salmon, steelhead and bull trout in the region.

Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group will use these funds to directly impact salmon, steelhead and bull trout in meaningful and measurable ways by increasing habitat through stream channel enhancement, placing wood in stream to create places for fish to rest and hide from predators and slow the river, creating useable spawning areas, restoring floodplain function, stewarding projects already completed under previous funding, and educating the public about the role salmon play in our lives.

Mid-Columbia Fisheries will receive these funds from Washington’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board 2017 grant-funding cycle, which is awarding more than $16 million in project grants that, will protect and restore salmon habitat statewide. 

Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group will manage and implement the following five awarded projects in Kittitas, Skamania and Yakima Counties:

·Yakima River Side Channel at Bull Canal Diversion

· Swauk Creek Floodplain Reconnection

· Yakima Basin Stewardship

· North Fork Teanaway Large Wood Trapping

· Crow/Quartz Creek Large Wood Recruitment

· Wind River Beaver Reach Restoration Design

“In the Yakima basin, our important work to restore salmon, steelhead, bull trout, and other at-risk species could not be accomplished without our partners dedicated to the management of the biological and economic resources of the Yakima River Basin,” said Rebecca Wassell, Yakima Basin Program Director. “These projects will be successful if the agencies, organizations and individuals working in the Yakima Basin continue to bring together the technical expertise, sound policy decisions and local community involvement to ensure long term success for fish in the Yakima Basin and the State of Washington.”

The Legislature’s recent approval of the capital budget has paved the way for project grants, which are fully vetted by a team of private citizens, and regional and state technical experts, to be distributed for 163 projects. Throughout the state, grants will be used to remove barriers that prevent salmon from migrating, increase the types and amount of habitat for salmon, protect pristine areas and restore critical habitat so salmon have places to spawn, feed, rest and grow.  Salmon were identified as endangered in 1991 and all of the approved projects are linked to federally approved recovery plans.

“Salmon are vitally important to Washington’s economy and to our way of life. They are one of our state’s most precious resources,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “These projects will help tackle some of the fundamental problems that are destroying our salmon populations. By making these investments we are taking steps to increase the number of salmon so there will be enough fish for future generations, orcas and for the communities and jobs that rely on the fishing industry.”

Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring wild salmonid populations and their habitats through restoration, protection, education, and community involvement throughout our region, which includes the Yakima Basin. Mid-Columbia Fisheries is part of a statewide network of Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups dedicated to restoring and protecting salmon habitat.

Mid-Columbia Fisheries works with landowners in south central Washington’s Columbia Basin, including the Yakima, Klickitat, White Salmon, and Wind Rivers.  

To learn more about the specifics of these projects, Mid-Columbia Fisheries and our other programs, please visit our website or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/midcolumbiafisheries.  You may also contact Yakima Basin Project Manager Merritt Mitchell-Wajeeh (509) 310-9274 or at her email merritt@midcolumbiafisheries.org.

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