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.
HCSEG proposes acquiring approximately 297.12 acres of land within the Lower Big Beef Creek watershed currently owned by the University of Washington. The area proposed for acquisition consists of estuarine and freshwater wetlands as well as forested upland and riparian corridors which are all vital habitat for rearing and migration of the ESA-Listed Hood Canal Summer Chum Salmon. Big Beef Creek is one of four streams included in the Hood Canal Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW) program which centers on measuring the response of salmonid populations to specific habitat restoration actions as well as the mechanism driving observed responses. Since 2003, biologists from WDFW and the Washington Department of Ecology have been monitoring habitat conditions and salmonid population data-including estimating adult escapements, redd counts, egg-to-fry survival, parr-to-smolt survival, as well as smolt productivity-within Big Beef Creek. Additionally, smolt out-migration and adult escapement data for Coho, Summer Chum, and Steelhead has been collected at a weir situated in the mouth of Big Beef Creek since the 1970s. Furthermore, this weir sets harvest limits for Coho throughout the entire Puget Sound. If this land acquisition is successful, HCSEG will continue to steward this land in a manner which facilitates the continued operation of this weir as well as initiate discussion with WDFW to determine appropriate restoration actions which will not affect this valuable monitoring effort in the future.