Conserving land along our waterways protects important habitat and helps keep our rivers healthy, clean, and more resilient to drought. Riparian Protection projects conserve and restore fresh and saltwater habitat while protecting fish habitat. In doing so, the grants help provide our families, farms, and fisheries with clean water across the state.
Coho and summer chum salmon habitat in Chimacum Watershed has decreased dramatically both in quantity and quality. Extensive ditching has eliminated nearly all of the rearing habitat associated with wetland–beaver pond complexes. Remaining habitat is degraded and characterized by low oxygen levels, elevated temperatures, lack of forested riparian zones, heavy siltation of gravels, and loss of channel complexity. These high priority and complimentary projects are key elements of an overall strategy recommended in a watershed assessment prepared in 1996 by the Port Gamble S’Kallam Tribe, Wild Olympic Salmon, the Conservation District and Chimacum Valley residents, based on recommendations of the Dungeness/Quilcene Plan. Protection of the remaining strongholds of the wild coho population is proposed through acquisition of riparian zone conservation easements and restoration of associated rearing habitat in 4 critical areas: 2 forested headwaters; a major wetland; and a forested ravine along the lower mainstem. Water quality monitoring by the District and the Tribe will continue at established sites. Jefferson Land Trust will establish an endowment to support site monitoring and enforcement. Wild Olympic Salmon will oversee restoration efforts through the Jobs for the Environment funding.