Columbia-Pacific Passage Habitat Restoration at Megler Creek - This project is one part of the Columbia-Pacific Passage Habitat Restoration Project, a multi-phase project sponsored by the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST), involving three separate tributaries to the Columbia River estuary. Historical alterations to the shoreline have eliminated most of the off-channel foraging and rearing opportunities in this important migration corridor. Riprap and inappropriately-sized and placed culverts have created disconnections to these important habitats.This project will address the fish passage barrier at Megler Creek by replacing an undersized culvert impassable to fish during most tidal and flow cycles, improving tidal connection to 2.2 miles of upstream habitat.
"Almost the entire nine miles of Lower Columbia River shoreline in southwest Washington from Knappton Cove to the town of Chinook is heavily riprapped to protect SR401 and highway 101," said CREST Habitat Restoration Project Manager Jason Smith. "PMEP's contribution will help replace a key undersized culvert with a fully passable stream simulation box culvert, providing access to high quality off-channel rearing and spawning habitat this is important for improving the survival of upper and lower river ESA-listed salmonids."
Eelgrass mapping of the Coos Estuary - Seagrasses provide important and preferred habitat for many marine and estuarine species, including 13 of PMEP's 15 focal species, yet comprehensive information on the distribution of seagrass habitat in Coos estuary is lacking. This project provides up-to-date GIS data layers and maps characterizing the spatial extent of eelgrass throughout the entire Coos estuary. The results of this project will support habitat classification and conservation, mitigation and restoration planning, and ecological monitoring.
"Eelgrass provides important habitat for juvenile life stages of estuarine-dependent fish and invertebrate species," said Lead Scientist,/Research Coordinator Dr. Bree Yednock. "This project will provide updated maps on the distribution and density of eelgrass beds throughout the entire Coos estuary, allowing us to better protect areas with eelgrass and prioritize restoration projects in areas where eelgrass cover has been lost."
Conservation of Poole Slough in Yaquina estuary - The Yaquina Bay and River is an important production system for coho, chum, and Chinook salmon, winter steelhead trout, and sea-run cutthroat trout, and NOAA has designated the lower reaches and sloughs in the Yaquina system as Critical Habitat for the ESA-listed green sturgeon and eulachon. More than 70% of salt marsh habitat in Yaquina Bay has been lost to historic filling, diking, and ditching activities. This project will result in permanent protection and monitoring of a 150-acre coastal wetland marsh, including developing an assessment of baseline conditions, by The Wetlands Conservancy.
Congratulations to all three projects!