Greenhead Slough Restoration
In 2014, the Friends successfully obtained a grant from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to remove a fish passage barrier in the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). An undersized culvert, located south of Greenhead Slough on Highway 101, is the last remaining barrier in the watershed for spawning salmon. There are four restored streams upstream of this culvert, which provide ten miles of spawning and rearing habitat and 149 acres of restored estuary.
The grant provided $373,524 for the restoration and was managed by the Sustainable Fisheries Foundation. Willapa Bay Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group also contributed $86,000 and the Refuge contributed over $400,000 in funds and in-kind labor.
Restoration was completed in 2015. Work included abandoning the blocking culvert, realigning the existing channel, and installing a bridge over the new channel for access to the uplands. The daily influence of tides, mix of fresh and salt water, and growth of salt-tolerant plants, algae, and phytoplankton now create cycles of rich nutrients that provide essential food, spawning, and nursery habitat for chum, coho, and cutthroat trout. Hundreds of other species also benefit, such as invertebrates, migratory and resident birds, and mammals.
This project has been in design and development for over 12 years, in collaboration with various agencies and groups, including Bonneville Power Administration, Craig Enterprises, Ducks Unlimited, Hart Crowser, Natural Resource Conservation Service, NDC Timber, Rayonier Timber Company, Smayda Environmental Associates, Sustainable Fisheries Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, The Watershed Company, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Coast Sustainable Salmon Partnership, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Washington State Department of Transportation, and Willapa Bay Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group.
To learn more, please visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/willapa/conservation/greenhead_slough_restoration.html