National Estuary Program (NEP) Watershed Grants Awarded in April 2014 for Work in Puget Sound Watersheds

The Washington Department of Ecology has offered nearly $4 million in grants to help save a troubled Puget Sound. The grant funding is part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program which identifies, restores, and protects significant estuaries of the United States. The grant program includes partnerships among seven Washington state agencies that are focused and collaborating on efforts saving Puget Sound.

Land Use Management Improvement Projects

Island County — Review of Island County Wetland & Critical Areas Protection ($250,000)

The County will review and update their Comprehensive Plan and development regulations. This work will include a multidisciplinary review of current wetland and critical areas protections. The County will integrate land use, critical area protection, water quality, and habitat restoration programs into a single cohesive policy using a process that considers development activities and critical area impacts on a broad, landscape scale. This is expected to improve watershed management and land use decisions and minimize future impacts to ecosystems in the County.

North Olympic Peninsula Resource Conservation & Development Council (NOPRC&D)— Planning for Climate Change on the North Olympic Peninsula ($152,078)

The NOPRC&D will conduct a detailed assessment of climate related vulnerabilities and develop a climate adaptation plan for the North Olympic Peninsula. This work will focus on options for reducing risks from climate change by improving the resiliency of the local ecosystems in watersheds of Jefferson and Clallam County. The process will engage stakeholders and planning agencies in generating data, priorities and strategies that will inform the creation of the adaptation plan. The plan will inform the comprehensive and strategic planning processes of the cities, counties, tribes, Public Utility Districts and ports within the North Olympic Peninsula.
Partner Organizations: Adaptation International, Washington Sea Grant.

City of Shoreline – Implementation of Regional Program Promoting Urban — Redevelopment and Watershed Protection ($42,060)

Shoreline will continue its efforts to promote urban redevelopment in its downtown area and conserve farms and working forests outside the city by studying how a new tool could be implemented in its Light Rail Subarea and Commercial Core. This is a regional-scale tool known as the Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure Program (LCLIP) that authorizes new financing for central Puget Sound cities to invest in infrastructure to support growth and redevelopment. A central goal of LCLIP is to reduce conversion pressure on county farm and forest lands by decreasing urban development costs and expanding infrastructure capacity. The transfer of growth potential from county resource lands to Shoreline’s downtown will reduce impacts to critical watersheds in the Puget Sound basin. Partner organization: King County.

Snoqualmie Tribe – Watertyping to Improve Land Use Management in the Snoqualmie Watershed ($250,000)

The Snoqualmie Tribe will field verify the water type classification within two Snoqualmie sub-basins: Cherry Creek and Peoples Creek. Data on stream location and fish habitats will be collected. These data will be used to evaluate and refine a model that can be used to predict the distribution and classification of streams in the Snoqualmie Basin that are downstream from Snoqualmie Falls. The Tribe will also evaluate the usefulness of a method for detecting fish DNA in water samples as a supplement to traditional surveys of fish species distribution. They will share their results with affected local and state governments to support informed decisions about where, how, and to what extent development will occur. Improved accuracy of water type maps will increase the effectiveness of local and regional watershed-protection regulations. Partner Organizations: Wild Fish Conservancy, University of Washington, U.S. Forest Service.

City of Tacoma – Tacoma Mall Regional Growth Center Subarea Plan and EIS ($250,000)

The City of Tacoma will develop a subarea plan and environmental impact statement that will identify the potential impacts of projected growth and development in the Tacoma Mall area, an urban growth center. These documents will identify mitigation options for adverse environmental impacts. The Tacoma Mall Regional Growth Center represents a model opportunity for the redevelopment of an existing auto-oriented, low-density mall to become a compact and complete community center that supports local, regional and watershed scale best management practices. Focusing new growth in appropriate urban centers is necessary to support regional salmon and watershed recovery efforts. Partner Organizations: Pierce County, Pierce Transit, Metro Parks Tacoma, Forterra, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, South Tacoma Neighborhood Council, Chamber of Commerce, and Simon Corporation (Tacoma Mall)

Thurston County – Deschutes Watershed Land Use Analysis ($247,573)

Thurston County will coordinate with the cities of Olympia, Rainier, and Tumwater and the Squaxin Island Tribe to develop and implement changes to land use and development regulations in the Deschutes River watershed. This project will take a proactive watershed-based approach to reducing nutrient loads by identifying areas that are at highest risk from future development and areas that can benefit most from protection and restoration of ecological functions. This work will in modifying current development regulations and zoning as well as new requirements and incentives for implementing low-impact development where it is most appropriate. Anticipated outcomes include improved water quality in the Deschutes River, as well as long-term protection of sensitive lands and ecological functions. Partner Organization: Thurston Regional Planning Council.

City of Tukwila – Implementation of Regional Program Promoting Urban Redevelopment and Watershed Protection ($42,060)

Tukwila will continue its efforts to promote urban redevelopment in its downtown area and conserve farms and working forests outside the city by studying how a new tool could be implemented in its regionally designated Urban Center and in the Tukwila International Boulevard (TIB) Corridor area. This is a regional-scale tool, known as the Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure Program (LCLIP) that authorizes new financing for central Puget Sound cities to invest in infrastructure to support growth and redevelopment. A central goal of LCLIP is to reduce conversion pressure on county farm and forest lands by decreasing urban development costs and expanding infrastructure capacity. The transfer of growth potential from county resource lands to Tukwila’s downtown will reduce impacts to critical watersheds in the Puget Sound basin. Partner organization: King County.

Stormwater Retrofit Planning and Pre-design Projects

City of Friday Harbor - Spring Street Stormwater Retrofit Design ($66,879)

The Town of Friday Harbor will assess stormwater treatment strategies for the main downtown sub-basin and stormwater outfall, and develop a design for the selected water quality treatment facility. This area in downtown Friday Harbor is one of the most densely populated areas of San Juan County, and has the highest concentration of impervious surface coverage. The Town was built before stormwater management controls were required, so much of the stormwater runoff from the urban area is currently discharged untreated into Friday Harbor. Future construction of this facility will significantly reduce the pollutants from stormwater runoff entering the harbor at this location. Partner Organization: San Juan Island Conservation District.

King County Department of Transportation - Road Runoff Water Quality Hot Spot Identification and Prioritization System ($249,965)

This project will develop a systematic, watershed-based approach to prioritizing road-specific, stormwater retrofit projects that have the highest potential for reducing pollutant loading (hot spots). Using existing data and strategies, King County will perform an analysis of the Little Soos Creek sub-basin to establish associations between road infrastructure and water quality. The County will use the results to create a methodology for identifying and prioritizing water quality hot spots in existing road infrastructure. The method will then be applied to the remainder of unincorporated, suburban/rural WRIA 9. If it proves effective, the method could be applied in the future to all of unincorporated, suburban/rural King County. Improving and updating stormwater controls can significantly contribute to improved water quality and biological health in a watershed.

City of Redmond - Monticello Creek Watershed Wide Retrofit Siting ($250,000)

The City of Redmond will identify the type and quantity of stormwater retrofits needed to restore healthy hydrology and water quality in Monticello Creek. This project will include inspection of existing conveyance and stormwater facilities and analysis of in-stream and buffer areas to document the watershed’s needs. Once stormwater retrofit project types and locations are planned, the City will select at least three of the proposed projects and produce pre-design plan sets, descriptions, and cost estimates suitable for incorporation into the City’s 2016 budgeting process. Monticello Creek watershed includes areas of Redmond and unincorporated King County, creating an opportunity to demonstrate the value of local collaboration across political boundaries in planning for watershed-based restoration and retrofit.
Partner Organization: King County.

Whidbey Island Conservation District - Ebey’s Prairie Watershed Stormwater Pre-Design ($53,385)

This project will build on an effort currently under way in Ebey’s Prairie Watershed that will restore water quality and watershed function. Whidbey Island CD will identify specific stormwater retrofit and filtration opportunities that will reduce pollutant inputs and improve water quality and flow. Anticipated project elements include stormwater retrofitting, bio-filtration by plants and soils, restoration of farm field subsurface drainage systems, and landowner involvement and participation. The most feasible opportunities will be developed to the pre-design level for future implementation. This project will involve close collaboration with landowners to achieve long-term water quality improvement for Ebey’s Prairie watershed.

Riparian and Floodplain Protection and Restoration Projects

Kitsap County Public Works - Dickerson and Chico Creeks Floodplain Restoration ($350,000)

Chico Creek, and its tributaries, are some of the most productive salmon streams in Kitsap County. Two culverts on the main tributary, Dickerson Creek have been identified as significant fish-passage barriers. In addition, the stream is disconnected from its floodplain, has extensive bank armoring, and riparian habitat has been limited by adjacent land-use. Kitsap County will replace the two aging culverts with larger fish-passable culverts, remove streambank armoring, restore floodplain habitat and off-channel areas, enhance in-stream and riparian conditions, and provide public education on the benefits of floodplain restoration. The County will use a watershed-based approach to achieve multiple outcomes including enhancing fish migration, improving floodplain connectivity and function, reducing flooding impacts, and significantly improving riparian and in-stream habitat for salmon and steelhead productivity and wildlife.

Mason Conservation District – Skokomish Riparian and Floodplain Initiative ($349,937)

The Skokomish River is the most frequently flooded river in the state of Washington. It suffers from degraded habitat, water quality, and river processes and thus is the focus of coordinated efforts by many partners to restore watershed health. For this project, the Conservation District will focus on the lower watershed and address two root causes of water quality and habitat impairment: floodplain disconnection and severe degradation of riparian areas. Activities will focus on invasive species control, riparian planting, floodplain planting and LWD installation. The project will improve riparian and instream habitat and floodplain connectivity.

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust - Issaquah Creek Knotweed Control and Reforestation ($172,000)

In 2008, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and its partners launched a comprehensive effort to survey and control invasive weeds and engage private landowners in the restoration of Issaquah Creek. This is a high priority basin in WRIA 8 for the recovery of Chinook salmon. Building on these efforts, this project will include a survey of 16 miles of Issaquah Creek and its tributaries, invasive weed control on over 60 acres, and installation of 10,000 native trees and shrubs throughout the riparian corridor. It will include a significant public engagement and education component focused on private landowners along the creek. Partner Organizations: King County, Issaquah, Washington Parks & Recreation Commission, and Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Nisqually Land Trust – Ohop Phase III Floodplain Restoration ($250,542)

This project is Phase III of a 4.5 mile restoration effort. The Nisqually Land Trust will re-meander over one mile of stream channel that was historically straightened, reconnect the floodplain and restore 70 acres of the surrounding valley floor. These efforts will return naturally functioning conditions to both the channel and adjacent wetlands allowing improved flood flows, increased filtration of water and enhanced aquatic habitat for threatened salmon and other aquatic-dependent wildlife. Restoring the riparian zone will shade the stream channel resulting in lower water temperatures and increased dissolved oxygen levels. Reconnecting the floodplain and restoring the valley floor will reduce erosion and filter runoff resulting in lower levels of sediment and fecal coliform entering the stream during storm and flood events. Partner Organizations: Nisqually Tribe, South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, Nisqually River Foundation.

Snohomish Conservation District – Healthy Soils for a Healthy French Creek, a Watershed Approach to Restoration ($207,846)

The Snohomish CD will coordinate a multi-faceted approach to improve water quality through restoration of soils and riparian buffers in the French Creek subbasin. This will include outreach to agricultural, residential and urban landowners to provide technical assistance to develop stewardship plans as well as resources to implement restoration. Restoration practices will include the planting of 7,800 shrubs and trees, improving soil through amendments and compost use, and implementation of manure, mud, and nutrient management practices. Partner Organizations: Tulalip Tribes and Forterra

Snohomish County – Lower Skykomish River Restoration ($277,520)

Snohomish County will restore natural river and floodplain processes and establish an enduring riparian buffer along 2,000 lineal feet of the lower Skykomish River. Activities include removing riprap from the river bank, installing bio-engineered bank stabilization, placing woody material, treating invasive species, planting 6.5 acres of riparian buffer, and installing flood fencing (snags that trap sediment and woody debris and foster plant establishment and stream channel braiding). In addition to work at this restoration site, the County will survey for and manage invasive species in other areas along the Skykomish River mainstem as part of a coordinated basin-wide weed control effort. Partner organizations: Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Snohomish County Public Works, Snohomish Conservation District, and USDA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

Squaxin Island Tribe – Goldsborough Creek Off-Channel Reconnection Phase I/Pond C ($266,000)

The Squaxin Island Tribe and its partners will reconnect a key wetland floodplain and restore fish access to a site in middle Goldsborough Creek in Mason County. Since 2001, the health of this watershed has improved significantly with the removal of a fish blocking dam and extensive conservation of land and habitat restoration. These efforts have resulted in increased production for coho smolts and a decrease in shellfish harvest restrictions. This project will build on this work by reconnecting seven acres of floodplain to Goldsborough Creek through the installation of culverts under an existing railroad line. This will improve groundwater and temperature regimes in an off-channel wetland while providing fish access. Partner Organizations: South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, Green Diamond Resource Company, Simpson Lumber Company


Colin Hume
Phone: 425-649-7139

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