The three projects sharing $1.1 million in salmon recovery grants from the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board in Okanogan County are in the Methow Valley.
Okanogan County received the 11th-largest amount out of a total $42 million being awarded by the state. The largest award, more than $6 million, went to Snohomish County. Funding for the grants comes from the federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund and the sale of state bonds.
The local projects are an assessment of an 11-mile reach of the Methow River from Twisp to Carlton for possible salmon restoration activities and two projects designed to increase water levels. One of the water-level projects is for the Chewuch River from late summer through winter, and the other is for the Methow and Twisp rivers. The Methow and Twisp river project is connected with extensive changes to the Methow Valley Irrigation District’s infrastructure.
The Methow River assessment received almost $56,000. Another $46,500 is being contributed through a local grant.
The project to increase the water level in the Chewuch River will combine changes in water rights contracts and irrigation upgrades. The Chewuch River project received $318,000; Trout Unlimited is contributing another $1.9 million to the project.
The project to raise water levels in the Methow and Twisp rivers received $750,000. Another $9.1 million for the project comes from Trout Unlimited through federal, state, local and other grants.
All three salmon projects are intended to improve conditions for spring Chinook, which are endangered, and steelhead, which are currently threatened.
Projects are selected by local watershed groups, which include tribes, local governments, nonprofits and citizens who work together to review proposals and make decisions about which projects to forward to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board for consideration.
For more information on projects in Okanogan County, contact Joy Juelson at (509) 433-2999.