OLYMPIA – The Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board has recognized King County with a Bravo Award for its outstanding project to conserve and restore 6 miles of the Tolt River, an essential area for salmon recovery.
The Bravo Award is given to organizations applying for grants that have outstanding projects. The Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s Review Team examined 225 projects and recognized the county’s project as one of seven notable projects, citing the county’s effort to restore watershed processes to an area that floods almost yearly. The project provides multiple benefits including protecting salmon habitat, preserving a wildlife corridor and reducing flood hazard along the Tolt River.
The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks and the King County Flood Control District are working to restore the lower 6 miles of the river, where 20 percent of Snoqualmie Chinook salmon spawn. The federal government has declared Chinook salmon as threatened with the risk of extinction under the Endangered Species Act, and has required an action plan for their recovery. In that plan, the Tolt River basin is named as one of the highest priority basins for conservation and restoration in the Snohomish River watershed.
The county plans to continue to buy houses and land from willing sellers within the San Souci reach and then remove an upstream levee, access road and utilities to give the river full access to its floodplain and more than a mile of side channels.
The Tolt River project is significant because it affects a large stretch of a river important to Chinook salmon,” said David Troutt, chair of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “Without projects like these, we would lose salmon forever. We can’t let that happen in Washington. Salmon are too important to our economy, our culture and our way of life.”
The Salmon Recovery Funding Board was created by the Legislature in 1999 to administer state and federal funds to conserve and restore salmon habitat.