Community Partnership to Increase Salmon Habitat on The Evergreen State College Campus

January 8, 2008

(Olympia, Wash) More wild salmon could soon be making their home on campus and in Puget Sound with a bit of ingenuity applied to a culvert and bulkhead on the Evergreen State College campus.

With funding and assistance from partners including the The Evergreen State College, Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, The Wild Fish Conservancy People For Puget Sound, the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration--Restore America’s Estuaries program, an undersized culvert at the mouth of campus’s Snyder Creek will be removed and replaced by a 14-foot wide box culvert. The cost of the culvert project totals $214,000, and is covered by contributions from The Evergreen State College, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program.

The new culvert will restore passage for fish species such as coho salmon, chum salmon, and cutthroat. These fish will once again gain access to almost one mile of spawning and rearing habitat. The process will also restore the natural processes of sediment, wood, and water transport.

Bulkheads, barrier culverts, and other shoreline obstructions represent threats to salmon habitat throughout the Puget Sound, and this project represents a potential model for actions around the Sound to restore fish access to critical breeding and rearing habitat. Restoring these habitats also has wider ecosystem benefits beyond the benefits for salmonids because it restores the ecological processes that shape diverse habitat structures. The shoreline of the College is one of the largest remaining stretches of undeveloped shoreline in south Puget Sound and thus restoration adjacent to that shoreline provides an opportunity for significant impact.

Snyder Creek flows into Snyder Cove at the northern end of The Evergreen State College Campus. Work will take place in Snyder Cove during Spring and Summer 2008. Pending the results of the feasibility study work on bulkhead removal should begin in Summer 2009.

Dan Grosboll, an Evergreen State College alumnus and now South Puget Sound Habitat Restoration Coordinator for People For Puget Sound, says, “We see this as a great opportunity for the Sound, and a good example of a public-private partnership that can bring benefits for the school as well as the environment. This is a great educational opportunity as well because students are welcome to get involved in the restoration and monitoring and we will be working with faculty members on various aspects of the project,” says Grosboll.

The total funding for the bulkhead removal feasibility study part of the project is about $60,000 with funding from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restore America’s Estuaries program, Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, and People For Puget Sound.