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Published on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fish Barrier Removal Board seeking information on undersized culverts in salmon streams

The Fish Barrier Removal Board (FBRB) is seeking information on unfunded potential fish barrier projects that are important from the local perspective. Providing this information has the potential to bring funding for the project in the future.

Background

For many years, the state has been wrestling with problems caused by undersized and blocked culverts impeding the migration of salmon and steelhead, some of which are endangered species. State courts declared that these barriers impair tribal treaty rights to harvest these fish. The forestry industry and the state of Washington have obligations to correct barriers under their ownership.

In 2014, the Legislature recognized that without a system-wide approach, barriers could be corrected but still have other blockages upstream or downstream. They passed legislation directing the creation of the Fish Barrier Removal Board (FBRB). The board is tasked with developing a strategic approach to addressing this statewide challenge. The board is creating a schedule that identifies and prioritizes the necessary projects that maximize anadromous fish access to high-quality habitat. This coordinated strategy aims to correct fish barriers (single or multiple) across a watershed, including the barriers located furthest downstream. While many fish passage investments have already been made, thousands of barriers remain. AWC sits on the board because many of these barriers are owned by local governments, and cities want to help create an achievable plan that prioritizes barrier corrections.

The FBRB would like city input to help identify and fund priority barrier corrections. While the board works directly with the local salmon recovery regions and lead entities, we want to ensure that local governments have the opportunity to provide potential projects that may be unknown to these organizations. The information submitted will be analyzed by WDFW and then used to create a priority list of projects that will be approved by the FBRB. The goal is to submit a list of projects as a funding request package to the Legislature in the 2017-19 biennium.

Information needed

We are seeking potential fish barrier projects that are not currently funded, and are important from the local perspective.

FBRB requests that local governments consider high priority barrier removal projects adjacent to other funded or recently completed (within 5 years) fish passage projects. Example: A local government barrier and a private barrier downstream of a recently completed or funded WSDOT fish passage project.

The following other considerations will be used to review the list of barrier project nominations:

  • Habitat quality
  • Benefit to steelhead and coho salmon
  • Benefit to other anadromous species
  • Project readiness
  • Cost/benefit
  • Habitat upstream
  • Barrier owner willingness
  • Barrier corrections completed upstream and downstream of the targeted project
  • Maintenance or infrastructure issue

Please nominate one or more projects. For consideration, the prioritized project list must include:

  • GPS coordinates in decimal degrees of the target site and nominated barrier(s) (“target site” is the funded or recently completed fish passage project)
  • WDFW Fish Passage Diversion Screening Inventory (FPDSI) database Site ID, if applicable. FPDSI data here.
  • Photos of target site and nominated barrier(s)
  • Ownership type (state, local, private, etc.) of target site and nominated barrier(s)
  • Description of ‘project readiness’ of nominated barriers including any scoping, design, barrier owner willingness, etc.
  • Fish species use

The WDFW is available to directly assist local governments to share existing barrier information from the WDFW Fish Passage Database and answer questions where needed. For questions contact: Cade Roler (WDFW) – cade.roler@dfw.wa.gov or 360-902-2351

Please nominate one or more priority fish barriers by September 30, 2015 and provide a brief justification of your nomination. Submit nominations electronically to WDFW at FBRB@dfw.wa.gov. WDFW will do a first assessment of submitted nominations starting September 30.

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