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NRCS and Partners Restore Vital Salmon Habitat

Highlights in Conservation icon

NRCS and Partners Restore Vital Salmon Habitat

Location icon
Pierce County, City of Eatonville

Project Summary icon
Restoration of Ohop Valley Creek through stream reconstruction meander work, combined with native tree and shrub planting to improve fish and wildlife habitat.

Image: Volunteers planting a portion of Ohop Creek.

Volunteers planting a portion of Ohop Creek.

Conservation Partners icon
Nisqually Indian Tribe, Nisqually Land Trust, South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group and other volunteers.

Resource Challenges icon
The Ohop Valley was transformed from its natural state by early-settling Swedish-immigrant farmers who turned Ohop Creek into a straight-flowing ditch to drain the land and create pasture areas for cattle. The straightened channel has negatively affected fish, animal, and plant health in the Ohop Valley area. Plant communities had little diversity and were composed mostly of Meadow Foxtail and Reed Canary grass, which provided little food and habitat function to support desired animal species. Lack of natural meanders and side channels has negatively affected salmon production from the Creek, which is an area identified by the Nisqually Indian Tribe as a priority restoration area of concern. The overall goal of the project is to restore the stream, floodplain, and wetland communities through work with partners, landowners, and volunteer groups.

Image: The stretch of Creek in the background is restored; the section in the foreground awaits funding.

The stretch of Creek in the background is restored; the section in the foreground awaits funding.

Conservation Program Used icon
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) was used as a cost-share restoration agreement on the Ohop Creek Restoration Project.

Innovations and Highlights icon
This project has been a combined effort by many partners to restore salmon habitat in the Ohop Valley. Partners contributed their resources, technical and design assistance, along with permitting and funding to help return this portion of Ohop Creek into a functioning salmon stream. Channel reconstruction and habitat enhancement is ongoing throughout Ohop Valley with four more miles of meander work still waiting restoration.

Results and Accomplishments icon
NRCS headed the planting restoration portion of this project with WRP funds to establish and improve over 80 acres of stream, flood plain, and wetland habitat. To date, over 60,000 trees and shrubs have been installed throughout the project area. Other enhancements included removal of old existing fences along with the decommissioning and removal of an old manure lagoon. The Nisqually Indian Tribe led stream meander and construction work. Currently there has been nearly one mile of stream reconstruction work completed in the Ohop Valley. Having collaborative partners actively engaged in the project helped make the restoration a success. Monica Hoover, NRCS West Area Program Liaison, was the lead NRCS planner during the planning and initial implementation of this WRP agreement.

Contact icon

Joshua Himsl, Puget Sound Forester, Puyallup, WA, 253-845-9272 ext. 110

NRCS, Spring 2011

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