Almost $600,000 to go toward fish-passage work on Geissler Creek

  • Thu Aug 8th, 2019 5:30pm
  • News

Grant money from the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board will go toward opening more than three miles of salmon spawning and rearing habitat on Geissler Creek in the Wynoochee River basin, according to the State Recreation and Conservation Office.

The $590,408 grant will go toward the replacement of three culverts on three separate road crossings on the creek. The project will open up 3.15 miles of habitat for coho, Chinook and chum salmon, along with steelhead and cutthroat trout.

The three targeted fish passage barriers are located between the West Wynoochee Road and Geissler Road, west of the Wynoochee River about 6 miles north of Montesano.

The grant was awarded to the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force, which will contribute $102,621 to the project in cash and a grant from the State Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

The Geissler Creek project is one of more than 50 projects in 20 counties receiving Brian Abbott grants for fish passage barriers; the Recreation and Conservation Office said $25 million in grants have been announced, and the projects they fund will open up more than 82 miles of streams for migrating fish.

The grants are named for “a life-long fisherman, avid salmon recovery leader” and the one who spearheaded the creation of the board in 2014 during his tenure as executive coordinator of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office, the grant managers, state grant managers said.

Created by the Legislature in 2014, the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board coordinates the removal of fish passage barriers that block salmon and steelhead access to prime spawning and rearing habitat on state, local, tribal and private land. Funding comes from the sale of state bonds.

Selected projects went through a technical review committee. The committee attempted to evaluate projects based on the severity of the barrier and its location in the watershed, prioritizing downstream barriers first.

The grant program is administered as a partnership between the board, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. The board is named after Brian Abbott, who was a life-long fisherman, avid salmon recovery leader, and spearheaded creation of the board while serving as executive coordinator of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office.

Other board members include representatives from the Washington Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources, Washington State Association of Counties, Association of Washington Cities, the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office, the Confederated Tribe and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and Council of Regions.