Submitted by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Recreation and Conservation Office
Salmon recovery projects in San Juan County were awarded $277,742 from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board on Dec. 10.
The board issued nearly $18 million in grants for projects to restore salmon habitat to bring the iconic fish back from the brink of extinction. An estimated 75 percent of the funded projects will benefit Chinook salmon, which make up a large part of the Southern resident orca whale diet.
“This funding helps protect one of our most beloved legacies,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “Together we’re taking a step forward for salmon, and in turn dwindling Southern resident orca whales, while also looking back to ensure we’re preserving historic tribal cultural traditions and upholding promises made more than a century ago.”
Friends of the San Juans received $120,484 to plan the restoration of San Juan salmon habitat. The Friends of the San Juans will use this grant to plan for the removal of shoreline armoring to increase the quantity and quality of habitat for young Chinook salmon and their prey, thereby increasing food for Southern resident killer whales. The group will reach out to landowners, assess 10-15 potential sites, complete conceptual designs for 3-5 sites and advance 1-2 sites through preliminary design. Removing armoring will restore habitat and natural coastal processes. This project will benefit Chinook salmon, which is listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and by coho salmon, which is a federal species of concern. This is part of a larger project that the Salmon Recovery Funding Board approved to receive Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration funding, pending approval by the Legislature. The Friends of the San Juans will contribute $30,691 in a private grant.
San Juan County received an award of $91,758 for Agate Beach County Park Shoreline Restoration. The San Juan County Parks and Recreation Department will use this grant to design armor removal and shoreline restoration along Agate Beach County Park on Lopez Island’s Outer Bay.
Designs will include removal for 340 feet of armor in the park and potentially 190 feet of armor on privately owned land to restore natural processes that nourish the beach. Outer Bay includes rearing habitat for migrating young salmon and spawning habitat for the fish salmon eat. The area is used by Chinook salmon, which is listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
The county was also awarded $65,500 for the restoration of MacKaye Harbor.
The San Juan County Public Works Department will use this grant to complete a feasibility alternatives analysis, design and permitting for a project to remove shoreline armoring near the MacKaye Harbor boat launch on Lopez Island. The County will consider partial or full jetty removal, partial or full revetment removal or relocation, removal of armor along a bluff, and restoration of natural beach processes.