County gets $5.85M grant to restore salmon habitats along Snohomish River

Snohomish County received a $5.85 million grant to restore salmon-friendly habitats along the Snohomish River.

The funding comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and will go to efforts to remove part of a levee and restore natural floodplain along a 1.5-mile stretch of the river near Thomas' Eddy.

According to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell's office, the county planned this restoration project with local tribes who fish that stretch of the river. The aim is to remove part of a large levee and replace it with woody debris, which salmon are more likely to thrive in. Other parts of the levee will be kept to maintain popular fishing holes.

Part of the National Coastal Resilience Fund—administered by NOAA—is funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with the aim of restoring natural coastal features and protect them from storms, climate change and other hazards.

"This $5.8 million infrastructure investment in a healthier Snohomish River is a win for wildlife, nature lovers, and local fishermen," said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, who pushed for increased funding. "By reconnecting the river to the floodplain, we are restoring natural resilience to shoreline and building new habitat for generations of salmon."

Snohomish County also contributed $2.1 million to their efforts, making a combined infrastructure investment of nearly $8 million.

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"Snohomish County is honored to receive this grant, allowing us to complete the Thomas’ Eddy Floodplain Restoration Project and make more progress on my Puget Sound Initiative," said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. "We want to thank Senator Cantwell’s office for her support in securing this funding and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for partnering with us. When this project is complete, critical habitat for threatened salmon will be restored, the Snohomish River floodplain will be more resilient, and there will be improved public access for people to fish, hike, and enjoy the beauty of Snohomish County’s Bob Heirman Wildlife Park."

Site preparation work is scheduled to begin in mid-2023 and is expected to finish by the end of 2026.