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 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will use this grant to accelerate the natural recovery processes along a 3-mile stretch of the North Fork Toutle River, on the Mudflow Unit of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area. Restoration will consist of the construction of large wood and earthen structures to reduce channel migration and erosion, which will restore aquatic and riparian habitats for salmonids and protect crucial wintering habitat for elk. This project would build upon previously successful projects that helped stabilize the river channel, protect the riverbank from erosion, and lead to the riparian area being restored. The previous projects funded by RCO on the Wildlife Area have greatly reduced the amount of habitat loss due to erosion and channel migration. This project would fortify and complete the protection measures needed to stabilize the reaches of the area that are most prone to erosion and habitat loss. The past projects, and this proposal, include installation of two types of log structures to slow bank erosion and allow for the recovery of riparian forest habitat which is seen as the long-term stability measure. Lateral log wall structures will be used to move the main channel away from eroding banks and small log jams may be placed to increase floodplain roughness fostering a more stable river channel. After the structures are constructed, tree plantings will occur to create, enhance, and stabilize the riparian area along the riverbank.