Fish Passage, Floodplain Connectivity, and In-Stream Flow are the Regional Priorities
The region is removing barriers to fish migration, keeping water in streams, planting trees to shade and cool the water, and removing and setting back dikes to allow rivers to meander and connect with their floodplains. Recent accomplishments include the following: multiple projects placed tree root wads and log structures in the Tucannon and Touchet Rivers and along Alpowa and Asotin Creeks to improve salmon habitat. On the Tucannon River, more than a mile of dike was set back. Fish passage has been restored where fish-blocking culverts were removed on Buford and Cottonwood Creeks, opening nearly 7.5 miles of habitat. Efforts continue to restore fish passage to more than 50 miles of habitat in Mill Creek.
Natural processes improve when suites of actions are implemented, and they take years or decades to improve. We will be tracking this indicator through time.
Problems for Salmon: Stream Alterations Result in Warm, Muddy, Blocked, and Low Flows
Monitoring by the Department of Ecology shows that there is too much fine sediment in about 60 percent of the salmon streams studied in this region. Too much sediment can smother salmon eggs, change the shape and route of streams, and reduce streams’ ability to hold floodwater or provide shelter for fish.