Jensen Creek Fish Passage Restoration

Summary

The Chehalis Basin is Washington’s second largest river system, home to some of the state’s most important salmon rivers and one of the only major basins without any federally-listed endangered salmon. At the same time, salmon runs within the basin are returning at a fraction of their historical abundances, with fish passage barriers and other habitat loss representing one of many causes for this decline.

The project area includes a section of Jensen Creek, a tributary to the Skookumchuck River, that passes under a small logging road where an undersized, and now failing, culvert blocks coho, cutthroat, and other native fishes from accessing 1.22 miles of vital stream and wetland habitat. By interrupting habitat connectivity, even a single barrier can have a disproportionately large impact on the abundance and resiliency of wild fish populations.

WFC staff replaced the failing 2-foot culvert with a 15-foot wide concrete bridge that will provide a huge increase in flow capacity and provide wild salmonids access to critical spawning and rearing habitat upstream from the project site.

Location
Start Date
Jensen Creek, Chehalis River
09/01/2020
Project Type
Completion Date
Fish Passage
12/31/2020

Goals & Objectives

When it comes to fish habitat restoration, improving fish passage remains one of the most effective and cost-efficient project types routinely implemented in the Pacific Northwest. Since our inception in 1989, WFC has removed barrier culverts on salmon spawning streams throughout the state, improving access to over fifty miles of critical spawning and rearing habitat. In the early 1990’s, WFC director Kurt Beardslee earned the nickname “the culvert guy” from local state officials, a testament to WFC’s advocacy to raise awareness of the importance of addressing barrier culverts.

Man-made barriers to fish migration have significant impacts on wild fish; limiting distribution, reducing access to spawning and rearing habitats, and disrupting the spatial habitat complexity historically available to fish populations. Whether for resident species that spend their entire lives in one watershed, or migratory species that travel thousands of miles, instream barriers compromise a populations’ ability to weather environmental uncertainties. Evolutionary fitness of the entire population is weakened when barriers restrict gene flow, creating small, isolated sub-groups that can suffer from inbreeding.

Primary Habitats Impacted By Project:
Managing Agency/ Organization:
Tributary habitat
Wild Fish Conservancy
Project Contact:
Budget or Project Cost:
Jamie Glasgow
Funding Sources:
Partners:

Attachment(s)