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Salmon recovery money flowing to Enumclaw's Big Spring Creek

Nearly $30 million has been earmarked for projects throughout the state – including one in the Enumclaw area – to enhance salmon recovery efforts.

The awarding of the grants was announced Dec. 12 by the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

The local recipient was Big Spring Creek north of Enumclaw.

The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks will use this grant to begin restoring the creek, which historically fed into Newaukum Creek, a tributary to the Green River. The county will build about three-quarter mile of new stream channel, create open-water and emergent pools, place logs and tree root wads into the newly-created stream channel and wetland and replant the creek banks. Big Spring Creek will be rerouted from roadside ditches to the recreated channel. Additionally, King County will monitor and maintain the area for at least five years after construction.

The project received slightly more than $131,000 from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. King County will contribute $275,000, bringing the total cost of the project to more than $406,000.

“These grants do two things: They provide needed money for local organizations to help repair damaged rivers and streams and protect the most pristine areas,” said Don “Bud” Hover, chairman of the state funding board. “They also create jobs. They will put people to work improving the environment and restoring something that is important to Washington’s economy: salmon.”

A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife study in 2006 pegged the economic impacts of commercial and recreational fishing in Washington as supporting an estimated 16,374 jobs and $540 million in personal income. This new round of grants is expected to provide more than 300 jobs during the next four years.

Salmon populations in Washington have been declining for generations. In 1991, the federal government declared the first salmon, Snake River sockeye, as endangered. By the end of that decade, populations had dwindled so much that salmon and bull trout were listed as threatened or endangered in three-quarters of the state. Those listings set off a series of activities including the formation of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to oversee the investment of state and federal funds for salmon recovery.

Information about the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Recreation and Conservation Office is available online at www.rco.wa.gov.

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