Underwood in-lieu restoration begins

The Yakama Nation Fisheries Program has begun work through contractor Tapani, Inc., of Battle Ground, Wash., to restore habitat and boat access to the Underwood In-Lieu Site and historic Namnit Indian village site at the mouth of the White Salmon River in Skamania County, Wash.

The in-lieu site provides boat access for tribal treaty fishers fishing on the Columbia River. It was rendered unusable by sediments released from Northwestern Lake when Condit Dam was breached in 2011.

The project, designed by InterFluve, Inc., of Hood River, aims to restore the boat launch, reduce future inundation of the navigation channel by sediments, and restore fish and wildlife habitat by creating side channels and vegetated islands.

Restoration activities include improving the boat launch, removing fill materials from the boat channel, regrading them onsite to create several small islands on the existing gravel bar, and planting the newly created islands.

Excavation and regrading is expected to be completed by spring 2018, when the new islands will be planted.

The project received permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington State Dept. of Ecology, Skamania County Critical Areas and Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, and Endangered Species Act with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.

Work is funded in part through the Condit Hydroelectric Project Settlement Agreement with PacifiCorp Energy, owner of the former Condit Dam hydroelectric facility. A grant from the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund is funding the restoration work. Bureau of Indian Affairs funding will be used for boat ramp improvements.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler were “instrumental in advancing” the project, according to a news release from a Yakama Nation staff representative.

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