The State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category provides funding to two state agencies to help repair damaged plant and animal habitat. These grants focus on resource preservation and protection of public lands. Projects in this category help bring important natural areas and resources back to their original functions by improving the self sustaining and ecological functionality of sites.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this grant to stabilize the North Fork Toutle River and prevent erosion to benefit salmon and elk. The department will install log walls in the river to move the main river channel away from eroding banks and will place small logjams in the river to slow the river and create a more stable river channel. Logjams create places for salmon to rest and hide from predators. They also slow the river, which reduces erosion and the amount of sediment in the river. A slower river allows small gravels to settle to the river bottom for spawning areas. Finally, logjams change the flow of the river, creating riffles and deep cold pools, giving fish more varied habitat. The department also will plant trees along the riverbank to stabilize the banks and prevent erosion. The new riverbank plantings will help shade the water, cooling it for salmon. The plants also drop branches and leaves into the water, which provide food for the insects salmon eat and places for salmon to rest and hide from predators. Finally, the roots of the plants help keep the soil from entering the water and burying spawning gravel. The work will be done along 3 miles of the North Fork Toutle River, in the Mudflow Unit of the Mount Saint Helens Wildlife Area. The goal of the project is to stabilize the river channel by reducing channel migration and erosion. The work will protect riverbank and upland habitat used by wintering elk and improve river habitat for salmon species.