Department of Ecology News Release - October 16, 2015

Coweeman wetland and fish conservation project proposed near Kelso

KELSO – A 320-acre site near Kelso is being proposed as a joint wetland and fish conservation bank that would improve ecosystems along the Coweeman River and other streams.

The Washington Department of Ecology is proposing to approve the Coweeman bank jointly with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Fisheries Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If approved, this will be the first joint wetland and fish conservation bank in Washington.

Wetland and fish conservation banks compensate for impacts to streams, rivers, and wetlands caused elsewhere by development. The goal of the bank is to increase ecological functions in an area and generate ecosystem credits. This is done by building and enhancing sites where developers can buy credits to satisfy permit requirements.

The increase in habitats and ecological functions at the conservation site determines the bank’s credit value. The proposed Coweeman River Mitigation Bank will provide a high-functioning ecosystem that generates high-quality credits. It has six tributary streams (including three headwaters), old growth forest, and habitat for fish and other aquatic wildlife.

Ecology is inviting the public to comment on the approval of the proposed bank. If approved, the bank will be certified with credits available once the site is permanently protected. Comments are being accepted through Nov. 13, 2015. Comments can be emailed to kate.thompson@ecy.wa.gov or mailed to: Kate Thompson, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600 Olympia, WA 98504-7600. To request a public hearing on the proposed bank, submit a written request before the end of the comment period.

A more detailed description of the project is available on Ecology’s website and at Kelso City Hall, 203 S. Pacific Ave.

Contact:

Camille St. Onge, communications, 360-584-6501, @ecologyWA