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Coho Creek Restoration Project

Highlights in Conservation icon

Coho Creek Restoration Project

Coho Salmon Spawning in Coho Creek

Coho salmon spawning in Coho Creek

Location icon
Snohomish County, City of Marysville

Project Summary icon
Coho and Chum salmon return to site manipulated beyond recognition years ago.

Conservation Partners icon
Tulalip Tribe - Tulalip Tribe Natural Resources, USDA-NRCS, EPA, NOAA

Resource Challenges icon
Landscape Conversion – The site of past, present, and future restoration projects was once owned by the Department of Defense. The landscape was manipulated to facilitate construction of roads, ditches, munitions bunkers, and railway spurs during World War II. Later the land was leased to Boeing for engine testing.

Loss of Habitat - Years of manipulation resulted in a site with limited habitat for fish and wildlife. Areas for spawning and rearing of salmon were few if not non-existent.

Funding – Due to the overwhelming cost associated with converting a road ditch to a salmon bearing channel with meanders – the Tulalip Tribe would need to secure funding assistance from outside sources.

Conservation Program Used icon
EQIP, PCSRF (Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Funding)

Innovations and Highlights icon
The Tulalip Tribe was able to bring together several agencies to help offset the cost of the $1 million restoration project. The agencies worked through the obstacles that surfaced regarding permits, design changes, and unforeseen delays. The Tribe was able to utilize large cedar trees salvaged from the construction site to provide large woody debris in and along the stream channel. This restoration project is only the beginning towards a goal of protecting 1,000 acres for fish and wildlife habitat.

Results and Accomplishments icon
Prior to the on-set of this restoration project in 2005, salmon were desperate for an area to spawn. They smashed their way through a grass-choked ditch and lined the small tributary to Coho Creek with hundreds of salmon carcasses. Carcasses were also found on the slopes of the abandoned railway spur, disposed of by eagles and bears. The site of carcasses allowed one to speculate on the success of future restoration projects. By December 2010, Coho Creek welcomed the return of Coho and Chum salmon to 2,500 feet of channel that meanders in and out of a forested area. The restoration project – once a straight roadside ditch – is now habitat accented with pools, ripples, large woody debris, and countless hiding places for salmon. With great enthusiasm, Kurt Nelson, Environmental Division Manager for the Tulalip Tribe said, “I think the stream restoration is working."

Contact icon
Gale Mayer, NRCS Resource Conservationist, Lake Stevens (425) 501-1102

NRCS, Winter 2010

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