fish passage

Canada geese paddle along on a Johnson Creek pond near the intersection of Riverside Cutoff Road and Greenacres Road.

OLYMPIA – Trout Unlimited is getting more than $2.26 million from the state for fish passage work on Johnson Creek near Riverside.

The state Recreation and Conservation Office and state Department of Fish and Wildlife last week announced the grants from the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board.

Statewide, $25 million grants were awarded to groups that plan to provide access to 82 miles of streams.

Trout Unlimited will get three grants for work on the creek.

In the first, for $489,673, the group plans to use the money to restore passage at the Johnson Creek State Street crossing in Riverside. Improving passage there will provide unimpeded access for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout to high-quality, upstream spawning and rearing habitat, said the group.

The group plans to design and implement corrections for the culvert and channel erosion downstream from the culvert.

Both Chinook salmon and steelhead trout are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. The work also will benefit cutthroat trout, said the state announcement.

Trout Unlimited will contribute $90,000 in federal and other grants.

The second grant, for more than $1.29 million, calls for replacing an undersized Johnson Creek culvert near Riverside and correcting an upstream trash rack, which is designed to keep garbage from getting into the creek.

The project is aimed at helping migrating steelhead, resident trout and Chinook salmon access high-quality upstream spawning and rearing habitat.

For the final project, Trout Unlimited plans to use a $480,670 grant to restore passage for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout in Johnson Creek where it crosses Greenacres Road west of Riverside.

The project will help fish access high-quality, upstream spawning and rearing habitat, said the state.

The board will fund more than 50 projects in 20 counties to remove fish passage barriers that block salmon and steelhead from swimming upstream to their spawning areas. The most common barriers to fish passage are culverts, which can be too high for fish to reach, too small to handle high water flows or too steep for fish to navigate, said the state.

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.

Among other groups, the Colville Confederated Tribes has a representative on the board.

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