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 improve wildlife habitat by restoring the floodplain function of north Wenas Creek and thinning trees from the adjacent slopes of Cleman Mountain. The department will remove the undersized Mellotte bridge and return the road that runs across the floodplain to a more natural state. The department then will install a new bridge a half-mile downstream, where the creek is confined and the bridge can be more efficiently sited. Moving the bridge and removing the rood will restore floodplain function. The department also will remove trees on 1,000 acres of the mountain slope, and place up to 500 trees in the creek to create habitat for steelhead, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and other fish. Trees in the creek create places for fish 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, they change the flow of the river, creating riffles and deep cold pools, giving fish more varied habitat. The 70,000-acre Cleman Mountain unit of the Wenas Wildlife Area is heavily used by recreationists, including hunters, bird watchers, off-road vehicle riders, and others.